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Physicians Formula’s Full Plate

Physicians Formula, known for its problem-solution approach, is tackling a dozen more makeup woes to fix through a new slate of products.

NEW YORK — Physicians Formula, known for its problem-solution approach, has identified a dozen more makeup woes to fix. The company’s full slate of new products, to be launched next year, seeks to eliminate a host of skin concerns from blemishes to wrinkles.

Following the same path it has carved out with innovations such as Baked Collection eye shadows, Physicians Formula has created a portfolio of playful designs, intended to match the product benefit of each item.

For example, ReVined Rejuvenating Face Powder, which contains red and white wine extracts said to stave off the signs of aging, features a grape vine embossed on the powder’s surface. Shade names — Napa Nude, Burgundy Beige and Bordeaux Bronze — further drive the concept home.

“We are not interested in launching another mauve lipstick,” commented Ingrid Jackel-Marken, senior vice president of marketing at Physicians Formula. “We want to be the most innovative color cosmetics brand in the mass channel.”

By looking to Europe for inspiration, the beauty brand has managed to cement a unique position within chain drugstores and mass retailers.

Citing ACNielsen data, Jackel-Marken said that 18 percent of women who purchase Physicians Formula are new category buyers — those who traditionally shop for cosmetics in other channels such as department stores.

Physicians Formula, which has had a stellar year with 32 percent sales increases in a declining market, is introducing 53 items for 2005. To accommodate the influx, most retail accounts have granted Physicians Formula more space along the beauty wall, increasing its display to four feet in drugstores, and upping its presence in mass retailers and Ulta stores to nearly six feet. The company also expects to increase distribution by 5 percent, bringing its store count to a total of 24,000 doors in 2005.

“We’ve had very multidimensional growth,” said Jackel-Marken. “In the last five years, we’ve consistently grown in door count, in retail space and in turns per item.”

A sampling of products within the 2005 lineup includes Crystal Ball Concealer, a cream-to-powder formula that contains 2 percent salicylic acid; Mineral Wear Talc-Free face powder, touted as the first pressed mineral powder in the mass market, and Solar Powder SPF 20, a pressed powder infused with sun protection.

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Physicians Formula will enter into a new segment with Plump Palette, a pan of four highly pigmented lip colors said to instantly plump lips with its SiLipcone Complex. Ingredients such as cinnamon and ginger extracts are included to increase blood flow, resulting in long-term volumizing, said Jackel-Marken.

After watching a flood of double-ended mascaras hit the mass channel last year, the niche player will now introduce a version of its own called Exerc’Eyes. Jackel-Marken said the mascara is an improvement over its predecessors due to its clear primer — as opposed to the white formulas currently available in the mass market. The barbell-shaped tube contains primer on one end, and a thickening and lengthening mascara on the other.

Physicians Formula will extend its Baked franchise — cosmetics baked on Italian terra-cotta tiles — with Baked Blush, a dome-shaped, two-tone cheek color. It will also add Genie Blush to its offering, a shimmery loose powder housed in a miniature bottle, complete with a built-in puff.

The standout product in the line is the Instant Makeover Tool 2-in-1 Wet/Dry Concealer & Foundation. The formula acts as a concealer when dry, but when dipped in water transforms into a liquid foundation. A sponge on the end of its soft plastic barrel can be used for blending and can be cleaned with soap and water.

The new products range in price from a $6.95 concealer to the $12.95 face powders, and are in line with the brand’s premium positioning. To support the launch, the company has increased its marketing budget 15 percent over 2004 to $18 million, said Jackel-Marken. Television and print ads will break the first week of January. Industry sources estimate Physicians Formula is looking to do a combined first-year retail volume of $30 million to $40 million for the 2005 launches.

The company has also signed celebrity makeup artist Matin, who has previously served as spokesman for Laura Mercier Cosmetics. The Afghanistan-born makeup artist with a master’s degree in molecular biology has a client list that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly and Liv Tyler, to name a few.