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Launch Pad: Mass Market Makeover

As mass retailers reconfigure planograms this month, an unprecedented slew of newness and innovation is hitting shelves. Here are five key launches to know from the major players.

UNILEVER: Love Beauty and Planet, ApotheCare Essentials

The Essentials: Unilever North America has spent the past few years filling gaps in its beauty portfolio with a series of acquisitions, but hitting shelves in January are two new personal-care brands of its own creation. Targeted at Millennial and Gen Z consumers, ApotheCare Essentials and Love Beauty and Planet were incubated in a similar fashion at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant’s U.S. headquarters — by a small start-up style team in just under a year, overseen by vice president of hair care for North America, Piyush Jain.

Point of Difference: Love Beauty Planet targets environmentally conscious Gen Z consumers with plant-based ingredients, ethically sourced fragrances and 100 percent recyclable packaging across 18 hair and body-care stockkeeping units. ApotheCare Essentials zeroes in on older Millennials with a proposition that combines botanical ingredients backed by proprietary science. “Love Beauty and Planet was developed with the goal of making people feel more beautiful while giving a little love to our planet, and ApotheCare Essentials takes the purity of nature and pairs it with the efficacy of science,” Jain said. “We see [both brands] as complements to our current Unilever product portfolio.”

Retail Reaction: ApotheCare Essentials is the more premium offering, with limited retail distribution through CVS and a wider online availability via Amazon, Birchbox and Jet. Love Beauty and Planet is rolling out to the majority of U.S. mass, drug and grocery doors with an suggested retail price range of $6.99 to $8.99. Unilever would not comment on financials, but industry sources estimate the line could do up to $35 million in retail sales in its first year on shelves. Praising its sustainability factor and whimsical design, retailers contacted by WWD concurred that, of the two, Love Beauty and Planet is the more impactful brand. Said one anonymous retailer, “There’s a fun element [to the packaging], and it’s not cost-prohibitive.”

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The Essentials: An ambitious line consisting of 16 products divvied up into six ranges, OGX Styling taps into the trend-driven natural ingredients OGX is known for, and delivers them in innovative styling formulas with an SRP of $8.99 each.

Point of Difference: Each product is centered on a natural hero ingredient that provides a specific benefit, such as smoothing or texture — for instance, the Protecting Plus Silk Blowout Quick Drying Thermal Spray harnesses silk extract and quinoa to protect against heat damage and speed drying time. “Our consumers have been asking us for a styling line for quite some time — OGX Styling pairs the best exotic ingredients with innovative high performance styling formulas,” said Dana Paris, chief marketing officer of Vogue International.

Retail Reaction: Facing a few years of consistent sales declines in the mass styling category, retailers are more than ready for this launch. Maly Bernstein, vice president of beauty and personal care at CVS, said: “We’ve seen a lot of loyalty for OGX from our customers, who have been asking for styling products from this trusted brand — we anticipate that the OGX line extension will help drive growth in the hair category overall and revitalize styling innovation.”

PROCTER & GAMBLE: Olay Whips and Cleansing Infusions

The Essentials: Now under the watch of former SK-II executive, P&G’s new president of global skin and personal care Markus Strobel, Olay is modernizing its offerings to appeal to Millennial consumers — and gain back its declining market share. Up first are two key launches in the skin-care category’s biggest growth-driving segments: cleansers and moisturizers.

Point of Difference: Olay Whips combine powerful antiaging ingredients with a lightweight texture, said to be comparable to but lighter than any cloud cream on the market. The formula has been applied to Olay’s three key franchises: Regenerist, Luminous and Total Effects. Cleansing Infusions promises on-trend natural ingredients — think ginger and sea kelp — and a formula said to hydrate while lightly exfoliating to impart a glow. “We’ve taken our approach to innovation in a completely new level,” said Strobel, who noted the new products were based on a deep consumer research. “Now we have an unprecendented understanding of what women want and need in skin care.” Olay Whips have a SRP of $28.99, while Cleansing Infusions are more wallet-friendly offer of $6.99. Olay declined to comment on financials, but industry sources say the new products could bring in as much as $50 million in retail sales in their first year.

Retail Reaction: The launches come highly anticipated by retailers who are anxious to see the brand start resonating with a younger consumer — and Olay gets big points for finally tapping into South Korean-inspired innovation. “With [Strobel] based in Asia that’s an advantage,” a retailer said. “I think we’ll see the brand rebound over time.”

L’ORÉAL: Garnier SkinActive

The Essentials: Garnier is blowing out its existing SkinActive range — which saw sales soar last year with micellar water and charcoal face washes — with three new franchises: Soothing Rose, Refreshing Aloe Juice and Deep Pore Green Tea. The SRP range is $8.99 for a rosewater mist to $14.99 for a scrub. Garnier declined to talk financials, but industry sources estimate the line could do $40 million in retail sales in its first year.

Point of Difference: The products — nine cleansers, scrubs, moisturizing creams and mists — all boast formulas that are vegan, free from parabens, petroleum, silicones, microbeads, dyes and sulfates and are at least 96 percent naturally derived. The proof is in the packaging — on each product is a printed list detailing where each ingredient was sourced.

Retail Reaction: Encouraged by the success of Garnier’s existing SkinActive range — as well as the continuing sales boom of its superfood-themed Whole Blends hair franchise — retailers are bullish on the new skin-care products. Said one anonymous retailer of Garnier’s clean ingredient proposition, “It’s just smart.”

COTY: Sally Hansen’s Re-Brand

The Essentials: The longtime category leader in the nail market is unleashing its biggest brand overhaul to date — complete with a new logo, tagline, ad campaign, a modernized re-design for key franchises like Insta-Dri, and a renewed focus on nail care and tools for at-home manicures. Also new in 2018 is Celia Tombalakian, vice president of global and U.S. marketing for the brand, who joined Coty this year from a marketing role at Elizabeth Arden. “We heard from women of all ages that creating beauty on their own terms was both fun and empowering,” Tombalakian said of the revamp. “Our new positioning is poised to be one of the most significant activations in the at-home salon category at large, exciting current and inviting new consumers into the Sally Hansen brand.”

Point of Difference: The brand is doubling down on innovation for care and tools — segments within the nail category that are on the upswing. It is also reinforcing its status with consumers as the originator of the DIY manicure brand, with a slew of newness tailored to that ethos. One such example is the Big Polish Guards Cuticle Protectors — a flexible fabric shield that wraps tight around cuticles to prevent nail polish from getting on skin during polish application.

Retail Reaction: With the mass nail category in continual decline — the most recent IRI numbers tracking the 52-week period ending Jan. 2 show the category down 10 percent — retailers are hoping the re-brand will give sales a jolt, calling the new look “much-needed.” “When Sally is down, the entire category is down,” a source said.