An up-and-coming company hopes to shake up the nail polish remover category in the same way spray aerosol technology changed the game in sun care.
Under its Nail-Aid brand, Anise Cosmetics introduced Spray Away, a leak and spill proof aerosol nail polish remover. Available in acetone and non-acetone options, the product is sprayed onto a cotton ball to remove polish, eliminating the mess posed by traditional removers. There are three options: a non-acetone spray with ceramide and coconut oil, an acetone with hyaluronic and collagen and an acetone with keratin and cocoa butter.
Spray Away launched last month in 4,500 Wal-Mart doors retailing for $5. Wal-Mart already dedicates about four linear feet to Nail-Aid’s other nail and pedicure care items. Distribution for Spray Away will follow in other mass, drug and specialty stores, including Ulta Beauty.
Anise Cosmetics, founded in 2002, has expanded by delivering innovative approaches to the nail care category. Better-for-you formulas have been the cornerstone since Tam Tran and Neal Wallach founded the company and vowed to eliminate toluene, DBP, formaldehyde and camphor. No animal testing was a must and all items are made in the U.S. Industry sources estimate company sales at $10 million.
The aerosol spray concept was the brainchild of Tran who often worried about spilling remover on a treasured marble bathroom countertop. “I thought it was ridiculous, here I am, a nail-care company founder and I can’t remove my own polish. I was doing it in the shower,” laughed Tran.
In her quest to find a non-liquid option, she stumbled upon a can of nail polish “quick dry” and thought why not use aerosol technology to create nail polish remover. Tran also saw great benefits to mothers of young children because they wouldn’t have to worry about spills.
The aerosol cans also have a child-resistant cap versus the open plastic liquid containers used in traditional removers. “There is a completely untapped market of moms with young children that Spray Away answers,” said Wallach who added he sees youth novelty licensing opportunities. The emerging Generation Z is a great target as they overindex in nail color consumption. Similar licensing trends have occurred in the sunscreen aerosol category to reach younger consumers.
In addition to a new delivery system, Tran wanted the formula to have added unique hydrating benefits not typically associated with nail polish removers. “I was frustrated with removers because they were so drying that I had to use cuticle oil. With the aerosol I wanted to add moisturizing ingredients. You shouldn’t have to have dry cuticles and white residue every time you change your polish,” she said.
To do so, ingredients have been infused including keratin, cocoa butter, hyaluronic (acid) and collagen. The aerosol application is also said to be faster to use than conventional removers as proven on YouTube videos already appearing online. Social media beauty enthusiasts have already posted validation of the sprays. “Beauty influencers are yearning for original products, those that are dramatically different and we’ve already had tons of videos and posts,” said Wallach.
The category could use a boost. Private labels dominate the nail polish remover category, adding to market sameness and pressure on pricing, retailers said. In fact, dollar sales have been down an average of 8 percent in drugstores so far this year, according to IRI.
With so much effort by megabrands pumped into other beauty categories, the nail-care business, especially removers, is overlooked, Wallach said. “The business has become a commodity. We took notice. With new cutting-edge ingredients and technology we have been the leader in nail and pedicare to custom develop formulas with advanced ingredients that have never been used in the category — ceramide, biotin, hyaluronic acid, collagen, to name just a few.”
Anise’s major breakthrough in the mass market happened in 2005 when Tran and Wallach noticed the EU had banned many chemicals, but nail-care products with those same ingredients remained on the shelves in the U.S. They reached out to Wal-Mart executives who liked the more natural positioning and put the brand in its lineup.