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Phace Bioactive Brings PH-Balanced Beauty to QVC

Former Wall Streeter Marisa Vara Arredondo's skin-care line bows on the home shopping network March 10.

Phace Bioactive is aiming to be the next buzzed about skin-care brand in beauty.

The indie line is a platform for founder Marisa Vara Arredondo’s message — that using pH-balanced products will result in smooth, clear skin, not to mention reducing lines and wrinkles. It has maintained a relatively low profile since launching at Saks Fifth Avenue in early 2015 as part of the Saks Apothecary. But behind the scenes, Arredondo has been gearing up for her QVC debut this week.

Phace Bioactive will bow in a spot QVC’s Friday Night Beauty show March 10, followed by an appearance on its beauty-centric network Beauty iQ. Arredondo declined to talk financials, but industry sources with knowledge of QVC estimate Phace Bioactive does about $2 million annually and could generate $130,000 in sales for both appearances.

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“It’s really a partnership to grow the brand and take it to the next level,” said Arredondo, who aims to make the Phace Bioactive skin-care system a household name, in a vein similar to what Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv (acquired last year by Nestlé) did for acne.

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A former Wall Street analyst covering biotechnology, Arredondo launched Phace Bioactive after years of dealing with her own unrelenting acne. A meeting with Merck scientists — who taught her about pH levels — gave way to the beauty entrepreneur’s big idea: a skin-care line designed to maintain the skin’s optimal pH balance, resulting in a host of antiaging and antiacne effects.

Phace Bioactive Launches PH-Balanced Skin Care at QVC
Phace Bioactive founder Marisa Vara Arredondo Marisa Vara Arredondo

Arredondo believes television is where she can really get her point across to consumers, as it will allow her time to explain the effect of pH balance on skin and show results from clinical trials. Plus, there’s the convenience factor for consumers.

“The way I see beauty headed is all online and TV — I have no desire to be in any [other] high-end retailers,” said Arredondo, who considers her line a prestige brand. Prices range from $42 ($37 on QVC) for the Detoxifying Gel Cleanser to $104 for a décolleté cream.

She noted her brand’s sales “exploded” after launching on Amazon’s Luxury Beauty vertical, which she lauds both for its convenience factor for consumers and its use of data analytics in recommending products. “For people who are looking at pH balance in other products, they’re going to be seeing recommendations for Phace Bioactive.”

But back to QVC — Arredondo will introduce her line to the network on its 9 p.m. EST beauty hour on Friday night and will appear on a subsequent spot on its beauty-centric Beauty iQ channel immediately following.

She is launching on QVC with her five hero products, including the Detoxifying Gel Cleanser, Clarifying Serum, $74; Soothing Day Cream + Primer SPF 46, $70; Illuminating Serum, $74, and the Regenerating Night Cream, $84. There are also two discovery kits containing travel-sized items, both specially priced for QVC. The three-piece Bright Face Kit is $97 and the Clear Face Kit is $90.

Each of the products is formulated with an optimal pH level to protect the skin’s barrier — Arredondo maintains that using non pH-balanced products can destroy the skin’s barrier, resulting in issues such as aging, dark spots, redness, rough texture and fine lines. “You know when you use a bar of hotel soap and you feel squeaky clean?” Arredondo said. “That’s bad. You’ve just destroyed your barrier — and that’s what leads to acne and [irritated skin].”

“It’s truly a game-changer,” said Arredondo of the line’s key product, the Detoxifying Gel Cleanser. “It makes your skin feel smooth and soft, it cleans all dirt and makeup, gently exfoliates and in a clinical study after just one wash, it demonstrated more than 51 percent improvement in barrier function instantly, and was maintained over an eight-hour period. And it’s a wash-off product.”

Arredondo launched Phace Bioactive with a tight assortment and has no plans to add to it right now. She said she will consider launching products only to improve upon existing ones or because of customer demand, such as day moisturizer without SPF. “You’re not going to see Phace Bioactive with 25 different products — this is the best of the best of what we can offer,” said Arredondo.

Next up is an independent infomercial, which Arredondo plans to launch in 2018. Other popular QVC brands — think It Cosmetics and Wen by Chaz Dean — have gone that route and it hasn’t cannibalized sales, Arredondo said. “Historically, QVC said it has seen with other brands that it’s actually grown the market and grown sales,” said Arredondo, who added the infomercial — which could possibly feature her own before and after from when she had cystic acne — will be complementary to her QVC business. “It’s a totally more aggressive selling style,” she said, noting the customer range for an infomercial is much wider than QVC’s target base.

Arredondo, who again declined to talk financials, ultimately plans to corner the market on pH-optimized beauty, expanding to other categories, including hair care, body care and supplements. “My mission is to become a household brand,” Arredondo said. “I want to educate on pH balance and expand the market.”