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WWD Year In Fashion issue 12/11/2007

Leslie Blodgett was indeed onto something with Bare Escentuals, a mineral cosmetics line that was launched in the Nineties. The mass market, however, waited until 2004 to take a bite out of minerals, and this year saw a record number of players enter the burgeoning category.

Mirage and Milani launched items during the year, along with Jane, Cover Girl and Almay. In 2006, the category saw Neutrogena and L’Oréal Paris enter the mix, on the heels of Physicians Formula, which pioneered minerals at mass.

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Retailers acknowledge mineral makeup products offer a better end result, and, like bronzers, they have become their own category. Industry executives said minerals at mass ring up as much as $80 million, about 20 percent of overall mineral sales, which are estimated to be near $400 million.

Products are largely sold in spas, salons and specialty beauty stores by brands such as Jane Iredale and Bare Escentuals.

“Minerals have a loyal following,” confirmed Montean La Porte, buyer for Ulta, which sells Bare Escentuals as well as its own house line, at NACDS’ Marketplace meeting this year.

The opportunity to recruit consumers outside of mass stores is still big, according to Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president at Maybelline New York. The brand, the country’s largest in mass market cosmetics, is entering minerals in 2008 with Mineral Power, a line executives said could generate as much as $50 million in its first year.

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Jane Iredale, the founder of her mineral makeup brand, is a proponent of mass manufacturers entering the category, as long as they do it right.

“The more people know about and use mineral makeup, the better,” Iredale said. “However, there are many that are not true to the segment. It should be talc-free, and free of synthetic dyes and fragrances. Keep it as clean as possible. In the end, people are being informed that this is the way to go. They are trying it out and seeing a difference.”