Wet n Wild's acne skin care line.

NEW YORK — At a time when mass market skin care prices are going through the roof, Wet n Wild is bringing value to the category. <BR><BR>With the launch of Wet n Wild Fresh Face Skincare and Fresh Face Skincare Acne, the company hopes to...

NEW YORK — At a time when mass market skin care prices are going through the roof, Wet n Wild is bringing value to the category.

With the launch of Wet n Wild Fresh Face Skincare and Fresh Face Skincare Acne, the company hopes to duplicate its color cosmetics success in skin care. Pricing on the 11 stockkeeping units ranges from $3.99-$5.99. In comparison, some drugstores are now offering items priced as high as $100.

“We aren’t trying to trade consumers down,” explained Tina Perez, vice president of marketing for Markwins International Corp., Wet n Wild’s parent. “We are trying to bring new users who would love to buy skin care, but have to spend money on other needs.” Many busy young women and moms find budgets are stretched tight with buying gasoline, diapers or school supplies, she noted. Wet n Wild believes women shouldn’t have to forgo good skin care.

“The only differences between our Fresh Face formulas and some very expensive department store brands are the price, the packaging and the label,” said Kellie Lambert, an aesthetician and co-developer of Fresh Face. “Our formulas contain many of the same high-quality ingredients and, more importantly, deliver the same end result — beautiful, healthy skin.”

Given the product’s niche as a quality value brand, industry sources expect sales could exceed $20 million within the first two years.

Unlike many skin care regimens that offer a one-size-fits-all strategy, Fresh Face is divided into general skin care and an acne collection. Each offers a full range of skin care essentials including cleansers and moisturizers for all types of skin. The lineup is pH-balanced, non-comedogenic and dermatologist- and sensitivity-tested to be safe and nonirritating.

The system includes a gentle cream cleanser, a face wash, an exfoliating scrub, a refreshing toner and a total moisturizer. There is also a starter kit with trial sizes of the items. The acne system includes an acne daily cleansing scrub, an acne clarifying astringent, an acne spot treatment, a clear skin oil-free moisturizer and an acne skin essentials starter kit.

Wet n Wild suggests retailers merchandise the two systems side by side on the shelf, rather than segregating acne with other teen remedies. The thought is that not all acne is experienced by young women. Also, those using one line may eventually need the other.

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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While the acne specialty products and pricing set Fresh Face apart from mounting skin care competition, the link to Wet n Wild cosmetics is also a strong factor convincing retailers such as Kmart and Albertsons to add the line to skin care planograms. “We feel this is a transitional line. Women who like the skin care will try color and those who use the color already will try skin care,” explained James Koeppl, executive senior vice president and general manager of Markwins. To further inspire that crossover, Wet n Wild products will have on-pack coupons and other promotional information about the full lineup of skin and color cosmetics items.

Fresh Face will hit retail shelves in the first quarter of 2006. An advertising campaign will kick off behind Fresh Face next year.

The skin care department is bulging at mass stores as hundreds of companies come out of the woodwork with launches. In addition to nationally known brands such as L’Oreal and Neutrogena, retailers are adding exclusive lines from Europe. Wal-Mart even created its own collection in tandem with Elizabeth Arden called Skin Simple.

At a time when many beauty categories are declining, facial moisturizer sales rose 2 percent to $263 million during the 52-week period ended Dec. 26, 2004 (excluding Wal-Mart). Olay is still the leader of the pack, but brands including Pond’s, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Dove and L’Oreal are rising on the bestsellers’ list. In acne, sales rose 2.8 percent for the same period to $286 million (excluding Wal-Mart). Clearasil is the top seller, but Neutrogena and Clean and Clear are nearby challengers.

Next year’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meeting heads back to San Diego — a favorite spot with many buyers and suppliers. In 2007, NACDS will bring the show to Boston and the city’s state-of-the-art Convention & Exhibition Center.

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