NEW YORK — Touting new technological breakthroughs, the family-run French beauty company Sisley is introducing a high-powered cell renewal serum that executives hope will make the same global impact as the company’s 1999 antiaging entry, Sisleya.

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The new product is called Sisleya-Elixir and since it comes from Sisley, it’s expensive. A box of four 5-ml. airless pump vials will retail for $350. Each vial lasts a week, based on a routine of applying five drops to the face and neck each morning and five more at night. All four vials together contain enough fluid for a 28-day treatment. The system was designed to be used two to four times a year.

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Philippe d’Ornano, executive vice president and son of Sisley’s founders, says Elixir is based on “a completely new technology and a new discovery” of how skin cells communicate with one another through receptors on the cells. The product is formulated to utilize natural botanicals to help cells function better. To explain the product’s regimen theory, d’Ornano quoted an old Chinese adage in saying, “Don’t give your neighbor a fish that will feed him for only one day. Teach him how to fish.”

As for the science, extract of malt is used to stimulate repair of the dermo-epidermal junction, which allows the dermis to supply the outer layer of skin with oxygen and nutrients. White willow leaf was included to spur production of heat shock proteins, which, in turn, resists internal and external forms of stress. The plant extract solanum is used to stimulate productions of lipids, with the aim of making the skin look younger by replenishing the intercellular cement, strengthening the skin barrier and restoring hydration. Padina pavonica algae extract was included to stimulate the restoration of glycosaminoglycans gel, which supports and cushions collagen and elastin fibers. By pumping up the cushion, the skin tissues are plumped up, helping to diminish wrinkles. Gingko biloba and vitamin E were added to fight free radicals. The essential oils of marjoram and lavender, known for their calming and revitalizing properties, are included to encourage oxygenation and brighten the complexion.

As the skin ages, d’Ornano said, the cells just don’t work like they once did. The new product is designed to enable skin cells “to act like they did when they were young.” Comparing the human body to a racing car, he likened Sisleya cream to high-test gasoline and Sisleya-Elixir to a top-notch tuneup.

The new product will launch in the U.S., Canada and France in mid-August, then roll out in the rest of Europe and Asia in September. Sisley does not break out sales projections, but sources estimate that Sisleya-Elixir could follow the sales trajectory of the 1999 Sisleya — more than one million units sold cumulatively over a three-year period in 70 countries combined, mostly in Europe and Asia.

The U.S. distribution is tiny in comparison, consisting of 73 specialty store doors. But even in a toehold, sources say the new product could do $10 million to $15 million in the U.S. Elixir will be featured in the publications of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, and sampling will be a prime promotional tool. Mike Walas, president of Cosfrance Inc., Sisley’s U.S. arm, said there are plans to hand out capsules with booklets. Noting that Sisley ranks number two at Neiman’s, he said retailers are giving the launch strong support.

D’Ornano noted that the products and brand are driven by consumer trial, and studies suggest that the new Elixir allows consumers to see “immediate results.”

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