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Sea Breeze Blows in a New Direction

Sea Breeze, once a popular teen necessity as an acne-fighting astringent, lost a bit of luster over the years as its original consumer base grew up.

NEW YORK — Sea Breeze, once a popular teen necessity as an acne-fighting astringent, lost a bit of luster over the years as its original consumer base grew up. But now, Sea Breeze has matured with the introduction of its new line of skin care treatments, Sea Breeze Naturals.

“We wanted to give [consumers] a full line of skin care products that combines science with the best of Sea Breeze,” said Lauren Schroeder, Sea Breeze’s vice president of marketing.

According to recent marketing research, Sea Breeze consumers who once used the Actives astringent line are now more concerned with general skin care. Along with the increase in natural skin care product sales, Sea Breeze hopes to capitalize on this change with the launch of its new line in April to target pre-antiaging women ages 18 to 34.

“We really see it more as an evolution and expansion to our target market,” said Schroeder. “It’s amazing how many people have stayed loyal to this brand.”

According to Schroeder, the company forecasts that the new line will generate approximately $28.6 million its first year on shelves. Sea Breeze total sales for 2006 are expected to reach $50 million.

Naturals offers six new products including three cleansers, two astringents and a moisturizer. Schroeder said the company predicts the Purifying Clay Cleanser will stand out most to consumers because clay cleansers aren’t common.

“The problem with most natural products like this is that they expire after a while, smell funny or they don’t work,” she said. “There have been a lot of clay masks out there from other companies, such as Avon, but not a lot of clay cleansers.”

Utilizing a combination of natural sea minerals and botanical extracts, Naturals helps support the skin’s immunity with an antibacterial and acne-fighting formula, according to the company.

“The products will hydrate, heal and increase the circulation of blood flow on the face,” said Dr. Uma Tripathi, vice president for research and development for Idelle Labs Ltd., the makers of Sea Breeze and a division of Helen of Troy, which is based in El Paso.

The new cleansers will feature triclosan, “one of the best antibacterial agents on the market,” Tripathi said. Meanwhile, the astringents will contain small amounts of acne medicine — an improvement from the Sea Breeze Actives astringents that contain large amounts of alcohol.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Because of the gentler formula, the Naturals line will allow for everyday use by consumers.

“There is a need in the marketplace for healthy skin,” said Schroeder. “Just because you don’t have acne, you may still get an occasional breakout.”

Sea Breeze Naturals’ advertising will include a print campaign scheduled to break in magazines in May.

The new products will stick close to its roots of the sea by featuring baby-blue packaging and a wave-like bottle design. All products will be introduced in food, drug and mass retailers, including Wal-Mart and CVS, and have a suggested retail price of $5.99.

According to Perry Sansone, vice president of sales for Idelle Labs, Sea Breeze Actives is currently sold in about 50,000 U.S. doors. Initially, Sea Breeze Naturals will be in about 32,000 doors, but distribution is expected to increase by yearend.

When Sea Breeze was first launched by Sea Breeze Laboratories in 1906, it was recognized for the antiseptic, which at the time, was primarily used for minor cuts and bites. Shortly after Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased the international rights for Sea Breeze in 1979, Sea Breeze was reformulated to be an astringent.

When Idelle purchased the brand in 2003, there were only astringents in the product lineup. Sea Breeze Naturals evolved from Sea Breeze Actives, which launched last year, after the ingredients were reformulated.