NEW YORK —?It’s anything but weird science: upscale body and skin care brand Qiora will launch seven new products in May, all with scientific studies as a cornerstone.

Two studies in particular were key, noted Maree Lavo, executive director, sales development and education for Shiseido’s prestige cosmetics division, which includes the Shiseido, Cle de Peau Beaute and Qiora brands. One is a Shiseido study "based on the discovery that our body, mind and skin are all linked through the NICE [neuro-immuno-cuteanous-endocrine] network," said Lavo. The second study was done by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, which said that stress levels are linked to skin conditions through a neurotransmitter in the skin called the Langerhans cell.

Both studies, Lavo said, played heavily in the development of the products, from ingredient choices right down to the scent of the items. "When the Qiora line was formulated, they were created with soothing formulas and aromachological fragrances to improve the appearance of the skin by bringing the mind to a state of balance," said Lavo.

The seven new products all launch in May. Five are body products: Body Cleanse, an 8.1-oz. exfoliating body cleanser, $35; Body Refining Massage, an 8.4-oz. massage gel that combines caffeine, beech tree shoot extract and clala extract, $55; Body Moisture Balance, an 8.4-oz. hydrating body lotion with phytosterol for moisture and beech tree shoot extract for elasticity and firmness, $40; a 7-oz. Body Cream, with white lily and phytosterol for moisture and beech tree shoot extract and clala extract for elasticity and firmness, $45, and a 1.6-oz. Sun Protector, a translucent SPF 31 lotion, $30.

The remaining two items are serums: Inner Serum S, 0.5 ounces for $30; and Inner Serum E, 0.5 ounces for $30. Inner Serum E blends grapefruit, tarragon and fennel for energy, while Inner Serum S promotes sleep with sandalwood, rose, iris, patchouli and myrrh, noted Kumiko Terao, director of marketing for Qiora. The two new additions bring the total of Qiora serums to five.

While neither executive would comment on projected sales for the new products, industry sources estimated that together the new additions would do about $2 million at retail in their first year on counter.Qiora was first introduced to the U.S. market in December 2000 with a spa on Madison Avenue here, called the Qiora Center for Total Beautification. The brand is also available in eight other doors in the U.S., including Bergdorf Goodman, Paul Labrecque and Shiseido Studio doors in New York; The Studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica; Saks Fifth Avenue doors in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Dallas, and Marshall Field’s State Street store in Chicago. The brand first launched in Japan five years ago, and while its reach is wider there — about 2,000 specialty store doors — there are no immediate plans to blow out its distribution to those proportions here.

"By yearend, we may add two to three doors," said Lavo. "But we’re concentrating on keeping its distribution specialized, and feel that it is best suited for urban distribution. The Qiora consumer is very sophisticated — this isn’t a brand that necessarily should be everywhere."

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