By  on May 18, 2007

LONDON — Natural skin care is about to get a whole lot sexier.

Starting in June, London-based treatment brand Nude plans to offer natural and environmentally friendly products with a healthy dose of luxury.

Created by Bryan Meehan — founder of U.K.-based organic produce retailer Fresh & Wild, which was sold to Whole Foods in 2004 — the line is meant to pack a potent mix of nonchemical ingredients with sumptuous product textures and prestige packaging.

"Why can't natural skin care be as beautiful as nonnatural products in terms of packaging, in terms of perfume, in terms of feel, and have results like cosmeceuticals?" asked Meehan. "Until recently, packaging has been slightly dull and archaic and the products' smells have been predictable."

Meehan hopes to change all that with Nude, which comprises 22 face and body treatments as well as five supplements. Concocted by design firm Pearlfisher, the brand's recyclable flacons and jars are rectangular or square with rounded edges and are in shades of muted pink or gray with a soft-touch finish. To cut down on waste, outer cartons were eschewed in favor of printed sleeves made with biodegradable starch.

"We aren't trying to put ourselves on a pedestal saying we're greener than green," said Anna Ghee, Nude's retail director. "But we used plastic for the bottles, as it's light and portable, and a biodegradable sleeve instead of adding a carton and a leaflet wrapped in cellophane with a big bow on top and a sparkler."

A similar strategy was used when concocting product formulas. While certified organic ingredients were used when available, when they weren't, the firm decided to use natural options, such as peptides from milk. The idea was to focus on efficacy, Ghee said. The products were created sans parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil or silicones, as well as other ingredients, which have been singled out as being potentially harmful.

"Sometimes you can put things on the skin that can do more harm than good," said Meehan, adding formulations were concocted to include natural prebiotics and probiotics, said to boost the skin's friendly bacteria, which act as barriers to irritants such as pollution.Other active ingredients include phytoactive and bioactive peptides to diminish the signs of aging; CoQ10 and argan extract to protect against environmental damage, and hibiscus, manketti, baobab and cupuaçu to boost essential fatty acids.

Nude's product lineup for the face includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, a night oil, a smoothing complex, an eye complex, a lip balm, masks, a facial scrub and a hand cream. There are five units for the body, including Hibiscus Monoi, a body oil, and Moisturising Body Polish, a scrub. A range of supplements complements the line.

"If you feed the skin properly, it can look after itself," said Meehan. "The body is very capable of delivering beauty from within."

Prices range from 8 pounds, or $15.82 at current exchange, for a 10-ml. jar of Nude Lips, to 54 pounds, or $107, for a 40-ml. pump bottle of Age Defence Moisturiser.

Both Ghee and Meehan declined to discuss forecasts, but industry sources indicate that Nude will generate $50 million at wholesale per annum by the end of the fifth year after launch.

Nude will bow in U.K. Whole Foods outlets June 6 and in Harvey Nichols starting June 14. It will be introduced in the U.S. through Barneys doors in September and will hit shelves in Brown Thomas in Dublin next spring.

While the line is to be available to buy internationally on the brand's Web site, Nude's executives wanted to take a slowly but surely approach to its retail rollout. Said Ghee: "We don't want to lose the heart of what we're doing."

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