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Lash Leader Ardell Breaks Into Color Cosmetics

First up will be five products that build upon Ardell's power in the eye category.

Ardell is batting its long lashes at the color cosmetics business.

The leader in the artificial lash category looks to leverage its heritage with entry into the booming color cosmetics business. Ardell Beauty debuts exclusively with five hero products on June 1 in Sally Beauty. The remainder of the collection, 108 stockkeeping units, will ship exclusively to Sally in September.

The foray into color cosmetics answers the pleas of Ardell lash fans, but also makes good on a longtime promise, according to Zvi Ryzman, the owner and president of Ardell’s parent American International Industries. He acquired the company from Arnold Miller who went on to create Matrix Essentials along with his wife Sydell.

“When he sold it to me in 1983 he asked me for a vow that I would have a cosmetics line using Ardell’s name,” recalled Ryzman, explaining the brand’s moniker was created by combining letters from the names Arnold and Sydell.

Although 34 years in the making, the cosmetics line is entering the market when demand for color is percolating. And much of that growth is coming from two categories where Ardell has a foothold — artificial lashes and brow makeup. Until now, Ardell didn’t compete in color cosmetics.

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According to IRI data for the 52-week period ended April 16, sales in U.S. multioutlets of false eyelash and adhesives — combined in a package — and eyelash adhesives rose 30 percent. Ardell’s total false eyelash and adhesives and eyelash adhesives sales climbed even higher at 38.5 percent. Ardell is said to be larger than all of its competitors combined. The brand also has stakes in the brow category where category sales are up 26 percent, according to IRI.

Four of the five first products out of the gate are in the eye category. Expected to be an immediate hit is Wispies Mascara, based on Ardell’s number-one selling artificial lash. “We see this as an opportunity for the consumer who already knows Wispies to try our mascara and is a chance to bring a new user who doesn’t wear lashes to try our mascara and be introduced to the Ardell beauty line,” said Marwan Zreik, American International’s vice president of marketing.

Wispies Mascara is joined by a unique double-duty mascara called Double Up Volumizing Mascara. The mascara has one brush that goes through two different vials to adjust the amount of formula on the brush — one for volume, the other for definition. The selection is rounded out with Stroke a Brow Feathering Pen, Eyeresistible Shadow Stick and Hydra Lipstick.

The initial subset of products will be followed by a full rollout in September housed in a special cosmetics planogram throughout 3,000 Sally doors as well as Prices range from $6.99 to $14.99. Sally Beauty sells a smattering of cosmetics lines with Palladio being the largest. The addition of Ardell puts Sally deeper into the color business, industry observers noted.

Sally, which has actively been pursuing consumers beyond its professional clientele, gets first dibs on the beauty collection partly because of the long history Ardell has with Sally, dating back to when there were only seven stores. “We have a very unique partnership, we are one of the biggest vendors at Sally’s — we’re partners, not just vendors. That’s why we decided to go there first,” Ryzman explained.

He added that Sally’s is no longer relegated to the professional trade. “Sally’s is retail and professional and that’s the advantage of Sally,” Ryzman said noting the cosmetics will appeal to both segments.

Ardell executives plan to open up distribution to other retailers in the future after an exclusive period. And there are items in the pipeline to build out into face products such as foundations and bronzers. “Our goal is to make it available wherever customers are shopping for Ardell lashes,” Zreik said. “Obviously there are a lot of color cosmetics being launched, but we feel we have an advantage because we have the heritage and a platform from which to launch. We feel we have something unique.”

Makeup artist Jade Munson serves as global band ambassador for Ardell and was part of the product development team. “We stay true to the brand’s past while making sure we offer the best innovations,” Munson said. “We aren’t just launching something because it is doing well in another brand.”

She noted that playful,  often sexy, product names help convey the product’s attributes such as Splash Party for a waterproof mascara and Fame Chaser for an eyeliner created to duplicate styles displayed by celebrities.

Social media platforms are teasing the Ardell extension into color with a dedicated website going live on May 25.