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Perfectionist: Lauder’s New Tool

NEW YORK —?With its newest repair product, Perfectionist, Estée Lauder is aiming to put a younger face on its brand. <br><br>Perfectionist Correcting Serum for Lines/Wrinkles joins Advanced Night Repair and Idealist as the "key pillars of...

NEW YORK —?With its newest repair product, Perfectionist, Estée Lauder is aiming to put a younger face on its brand.

This story first appeared in the September 20, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Perfectionist Correcting Serum for Lines/Wrinkles joins Advanced Night Repair and Idealist as the “key pillars of the repair category for Lauder,” said Janet Cook, senior vice president and general manager of Estée Lauder North America. And repair is of key importance to the brand, emphasized Cook: “We have a 37 percent share of the repair category and we aim to continue adding to it.”

“Each of the repair products in the Lauder lineup addresses a slightly different need,” said Peter Lichtenthal, senior vice president of global marketing for Estée Lauder. “Since consumers buy product by need, it prevents cannibalization of the franchise.” Other repair products in the Lauder lineup include Fruition and Diminish.

And repair products are “ageless,” added Lichtenthal. “Repair is a key part of the skin care business because it addresses a broad range of age ranges —it’s not just for mature skin.” In fact, he believes the entry-level consumer for Perfectionist will likely be about 28. “That’s about the age when many consumers begin to see the first faint lines —?or think they do,” he said. “We believe that this product will not only appeal to our core customer, but that it will draw in a new customer base as well.”

The main ingredient in Perfectionist, the proprietary BioSync Complex, is intended to reactivate a key protein in skin, called integrin, explained Daniel Maes, vice president of research and development for Estée Lauder Worldwide.

“This is a retinol-free formula which employs new technology,” said Maes. “It is based on the improved synchronization of the cellular activity in the epidermis and dermis, which can provide faster, stronger antiaging benefits.”

Maes explained that integrin helps to keep the skin in balance, aiding in the production of collagen and elastin. Also, as integrin decreases, it affects another key skin protein, laminin.

“Laminin protein helps the skin keep its shape, and as laminin decreases, the skin sags, resulting in wrinkles,” Maes said. “As skin ages, the structure of the basement membrane of the skin loses functionality, and as we age, deactivation of the integrins leads to a loss of synchronization of the cellular activity of the skin. The point of Perfectionist is biostrengthening — it doesn’t just work topically, it works all the way through the skin.”

“Not only does the product deliver immediate benefits, benefits accrue after the first week and month of use, and more,” added Marjorie Lau, vice president of global skin care marketing for Estée Lauder. “It’s a multipronged approach.”

The product works on three levels: physically filling in lines, visually impacting the lines with patented optical effects and physiologically with the proteins, explained Anne Carullo, senior vice president of global innovation for the Estée Lauder brand. Additionally, the product is intended to work in three waves, Carullo said. In the first day of use, “it helps to smooth out the appearance of lines with an optical technology —?an invisible polymer film scatters light and blurs the appearance of lines, and invisible particles with microscopic holes fill lines with the polymer,” she said. After a week, “deep lines look markedly less prominent, because of the reactivation of cellular communication through the amplification of the integrin activity, which improves the synchronization of cells.” And after a month, “wrinkles are markedly reduced — by as much as 50 percent, due to the biostrengthening,” she concluded.

Perfectionist also employs a blend of botanicals — including narcissus, clary sage and barley — to help the skin repair its lipid barrier, and includes an antioxidant cocktail of vitamins C and E and mulberry, grape and scutellaria extracts to defend skin against free-radical damage.

Packaged in a pale lavender pump container, Perfectionist retails for $52 for one ounce and is scented lightly with notes of jasmine, rose and peony.

The product will roll out to Estée Lauder’s North American department and specialty store distribution —?about 2,000 doors —?in late December and will be rolled out globally beginning in January.

While the executives wouldn’t comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Perfectionist would do about $50 million at retail in North America in its first year on counter and that about $7 million would be spent to promote it.

National print advertising breaks in January fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, said Daniel Annese, vice president of marketing, North America, for Estée Lauder. Additionally, more than two million samples are planned in the first 12 months, and all Estée Lauder beauty advisers will get a full-sized version of the product to test, he added. TV advertising, including flights at launch, is also included in the Perfectionist marketing plan, as is co-op advertising.