Not content with expanding his paraben- and synthetic fragrances-free line to a growing number of spa outlets, Ian Lirenman, owner of the EmerginC cosmeceutical line, is revamping his packaging as well.

The 11-year-old New York-based line (not to be confused with the immune booster supplement Emergen-C) is a top seller at spas such as Qua and Wynn in Las Vegas, Gurney’s in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island and the Miraval chain. Its new look houses formulas in 100 percent recycled paper printed with vegetable-based ink and biodegradable plastic.

“We’re trying to do whatever we can to continue to green the line,” said Lirenman.

All the brand’s 50 or so stockkeeping units have recently begun shipping to some 300 outlets nationwide in their new containers. (The brand also is available in about 400 additional spas around the world.) The updated look is cleaner and fresher; the old silver foil has been replaced by a more natural and earthy-looking paper.

It’s not just the packaging that is new and improved. The products also have been reformulated to contain more botanicals, enhancing their nature-based appeal.

“We took another leap to upgrade our formulations and to try and remove as many petrochemicals as we could,” said Lirenman. “But we are still a results-oriented cosmeceutical brand, so we had to straddle that line and find the best solution to offer a more natural product while reducing potentially problematic ingredients.”

These include the brand’s popular vitamin C serum, a plant-based skin-tightening product, where vegetable-derived ingredients are now a substitute for petrochemical elements.

“A lot of our formulas have been reworked. If there was a synthetic fragrance, that was replaced with essential oil. We went through every single product we have,” he said.

A clutch of new products due out later this year and next will contain the new formulations. In the works is a new sunblock that replaces the chemicals commonly used with zinc and titanium. An upcoming body lotion will incorporate Siberian Sea buckthorn extract and orange peel wax as a natural emollient.

“We spent a lot of time really mastering these formulas,” he said. “And we want to be judicious about what we launch, making sure there’s a real need for it.”

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Despite the improvements, Lirenman said he wanted to keep prices steady. Retail prices range from $18 for a hand cream to $145 for the top-of-the-line face cream. Lirenman added that much of the impetus for the change came from his customer base.

“While I believe in paying attention to environmental changes, this was coming out of the marketplace, too. I talk closely with the spas, and this is what people want — products that are paraben-free, with no synthetic fragrances or colors, that are not only effective but safer and more environmentally conscious.”

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