By  on May 18, 2007

NEW YORK — PepsiCo is thirsty for its share of the $1.8 billion (excluding Wal-Mart Stores Inc.) mass market skin care business. The beverage company teamed up with beauty firm Added Extras of New York to launch Aquafina Advanced Hydration RX, which is set for an August debut on drug, food and discount store shelves.

Aquafina, the top-selling national brand of water, licensed its name to Added Extras last year to introduce a line of lip exfoliators that have "done well in premium lip care," according to Michael Kaplan, senior vice president of marketing of Added Extras, a company best known for flavored lip items as well as proprietary beauty lines.

Will the Aquafina nameplate whet shoppers' interest for skin care, especially when major skin care powers such as Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Unilever are pumping big dollars into the business?

Kaplan believes the success of the Aquafina line stretches beyond the brand name. Nine months in development, the 10 stockkeeping-unit collection includes cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, under-eye creams and wrinkle-release and hydrating sprays. Prices range from $4 to $20. What separates the Aquafina line from the hundreds of contenders on the shelf, Kaplan said, is the use of QuSomes technology.

Invented by Brian Keller, co-founder of BioZone Laboratories, the QuSomes technology is a patented delivery system that is said to enable ingredients to work better, faster and over a longer period of time.

The QuSomes are like microscopic balloons that are thinner than strands of hair and made up of multiple layers. Each time a layer is absorbed by the skin, another layer is exposed. In those layers are millions of molecules of water and nutrients. Instead of sitting on the surface of the skin, the QuSomes deliver nutrients to deep layers. Research shows the QuSomes improve penetration of ingredients, deliver a greater concentration, provide prolonged release of the action of ingredients and protect against any encapsulated materials within the formula from breaking down. The target audience is 25- to 45-year-olds, especially those interested in health and fitness. The products can be used as a regimen or just as items for specific needs such as cleansing and toning. Keller hopes to see Aquafina merchandised near other major mass brands such as Olay and St. Ives.

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