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ABI Seeks to Bring Value to Therapeutic Skin Care With Aquation

Taking on some of the giants in therapeutic skin care, Chris McClain hopes his more "gentle" formula will attract a new audience

Chris McClain hopes to do it again.

The former retail buyer, turned beauty entrepreneur, is launching a skin care line called Aquation.

He hopes to duplicate the success achieved with Dr. Teal’s, Cantu and Bodycology before selling those brands over the course of the past two years. Dr. Teal’s became the fastest-selling therapeutic bath product and Bodycology held the number-one specialty bath brand honors.

The newest launch, Aquation, will roll out in January following testing in select markets starting next month.

McClain forecasts it will be the number-three clinical skin-care brand by 2017. Industry sources predict Aquation could achieve first-year sales of $10 million to $15 million.

“Advanced Beauty had a great experience in health and beauty aids. We changed our name [the company is now called ABI] and we are going to diversify our portfolio this time outside of HBA,” said McClain. His expansion blueprint includes venturing into food and beverage along with household cleaners.

With Aquation, McClain said he’s offering updated and more “gentle” therapeutic formulas than many of the existing offer on shelves. Hydration is a hallmark of the fragrance-free line, which includes four core products — a gentle moisturizing cleanser, a daily moisturizing lotion, a moisturizing cream and a hydrating cleansing bar. The clinically supported collection features Hydro Balance, a dual-phase moisture delivery system enriched with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. “We offer 24-hour hydration. You can put it on in the morning and stay hydrated all day,” McClain explained.

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One barrier to explosive growth of clinical skin care at mass has been price points exceeding $15. “We are hoping that Aquation will trade people up from nonscientific-based products,” he explained. The opening price point is $2.99 for an individual cleansing bar with the other three items all priced at $9.99

“We have a great go-to market strategy priced for less than $10. We are bringing real science with real research at a value to the mass,” said McClain.

Dermatologist Dr. Daniel Foitl serves as the head of Aquation’s expert panel. “One of the most important features in the Aquation products is that they are rich in ceramides, which are essential in forming our skin barrier,” explained Foitl.

The ingredients message will be crucial, McClain said, in appealing to Millennials. “They love to research ingredients, mostly on their phones. We want to bring all the latest science to them.”