NEW YORK — Shiseido believes that it has seen the future of anti-aging — and its name is Future Solution Total Revitalizing Cream.

The new anti-aging cream, targeted at 40-plus women, hits a new price level for the brand —?$220 for a 1.8 oz. jar —?and boasts two patents.

"We’re excited to bring to the market what we consider to be the ultimate all-in-one anti-aging cream," said Heidi Manheimer, president of U.S. operations at Shiseido. "Today’s woman is busy; she doesn’t have time to use a million skin-care products. So we’ve put everything into one very lightweight, quickly absorbed formula."

According to Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler, executive director of marketing for Shiseido’s prestige cosmetics division, the product "works on every layer of skin to reverse the signs of aging, with the help of two patented ingredients." They are marine capsule emulsion and chai hu.

"In the marine capsule emulsion process, capsules of jelly-like sea algae burst open during application and deliver nutrients to the deepest layers of skin," said Yamagishi-Dressler. Each microscopic capsule, she added, contains hydro-infusion complex, a moisturizer that is designed to keep skin moisturized for hours with "hydro-wrapping technology."

Shiseido also incorporated chai hu, an extract that is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to soothe irritations. Shiseido’s patented extract comes from nine years of searching for a way to derive the most efficacious material from the roots of the chai hu plant, noted Yamagishi-Dressler. "It is designed to boost collagen production and tighten the collagen network to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin," added Manheimer.

Future Solution also includes angelica, an extract derived from the angelica plant of Northern Asia, which is said to facilitate circulation and even out skin tone; ononis extract, an extract from the root of the ononis plant, said to help improve skin’s stability, and EPC-K, a proprietary blend of Vitamins C and E that’s meant to energize cells and deeply moisturize.

The fragrance is also designed to add to the experience, said Yamagishi-Dressler, adding that the scent is a blend of white lotus flower and space rose. "We believe that this is an ideal blend," she said, "especially as the white lotus flower has long been known as a symbol of immortality."The product launches in mid-November in a targeted segment of Shiseido’s U.S. distribution — about 400 of Shiseido’s 750 U.S. department and specialty store doors, including Macy’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. It will also roll out globally at that time, noted Bruce Gephart, senior vice president of sales for Shiseido’s prestige brands division.

Sampling will be a key part of the experience, said Manheimer, with more than 75,000 samples expected to be distributed via direct mail and in-store. About 25,000 of those will be deluxe miniatures, she added. "Very targeted" national advertising, likely beginning in January 2003 magazines, will also be a part of the plan, said Manheimer.

While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales or advertising budgets, industry sources estimated that Future Solution would do about $6 million wholesale in its first year on counter and that about $1 million would be spent to promote it.

The product’s premium price point also demanded a particularly luxurious package. Designed in-house by Tetsuo Togasawa with art director Eriko Hirato, the Future Solutions jar is based on traditional Urushi lacquer, an Asian style where silver and gold dusts are combined with fine particles of pearl. The Future Solutions version mixes iridescent dark blue and green, for a jar that appears to be a deep charcoal with subtle sparkle.

Despite the price tag, Manheimer isn’t expecting significant price resistance. "People are looking for ways to get all the benefits they need in one product, and this offers that option. The needs of the market have proven to us that there will be a demand for this product. We’re expecting great things from it."

According to Gephart, Manheimer’s optimism is warranted. "We’ve seen 45 percent growth, year-to-date, in premium skin care," he said, defining premium skin care as products priced at $70 or above. "That’s without Future Solutions.I think this product will put us in a whole new league."

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