Abs and thighs aren’t the only body parts that need exercise and stimulation in order to tone up. With StriVectin’s debut skin-care device, the company is hoping to preserve facial muscle mass.

This story first appeared in the August 22, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We wanted to get to the genesis of why facial muscles tend to lose tone as we get older,” said JuE Wong, chief executive officer of StriVectin. “We asked ourselves: what do facial trauma victims do after a car accident?”

StriVectin took inspiration from physicians’ offices and hospitals to create its FDA-cleared Facial Toner micro-current device. To produce the tool, the company teamed with Bio-Medical Research, a manufacturer of electrical stimulation products of medical quality that has been creating such technology for the past 40 years.

According to executives, most at-home beauty devices use micro-current technology that is subsensory and only stimulates blood flow. The Facial Toner is said to directly target facial nerves and muscles, utilizing 30 milliamps, which is equivalent to 30,000 microamps.

“It’s hard to target the deeper tissues and this helps that,” said Dr. Neil Sadick, who led the clinical trials for the tool.

The hands-free device, which resembles a Walkman complete with a headset and radio, delivers treatments through soft medical-grade gel pads on either side of the face.

“The one thing people are looking for is rejuvenation and restructuring of the face,” said Sadick. “[This] technology uses micro-current impulses [to] make the skin stronger and firmer.”

To market the device in the U.S., StriVectin will partner with Ulta on training and events in-store. Also, strivectin.com will feature training on its Web site to clarify the technology and frequency of usage.

Wong added, “Strategically, it’s about getting the device into people’s hands and getting people to understand why they need it.”

Facial Toner, which includes six gel pads, will be priced at $199. Wong noted that she wanted the price to be within reach of the consumer StriVectin is targeting, someone who is looking to delay the need for invasive procedures.

StriVectin will launch the Facial Toner on strivectin.com at the end of August. Starting in September, it will be sold exclusively in all 725 Ulta doors for three to four months. At the end of 2014, the device will roll out to Sephora in Europe and China and in select department stores in Southeast Asia.

According to industry sources, Facial Toner is expected to do around $8 million globally in retail sales this year.

To that end, devices are an integral future growth driver for StriVectin, explained Wong during a separate interview in Paris earlier this summer. She was in town to show journalists the StriVectinLABS Peeling and Extreme Cream products to be launched in Sephora France in early September.

However, devices won’t be the only means to bolster the company’s development. Wong said, “We’re going to look at ingredients that are tried and proven, like copper and hyaluronic acid — any kind of ingredient that is in the [dermatologist’s] office, the plastic [surgeon’s] office.”

These will be combined with StriVectin’s proprietary NIA-114 molecule “to really drive home the most optimal, efficacious skin-health results that we can find for the consumer,” she continued. Products with such formulation are expected out in the fourth quarter of 2015 or first quarter of 2016.

Up next, too, is a Luminosity Radiance line — billed to give an inner glow — during the first three months of 2015, starting with a serum and a moisturizer to be used with a delivery system.

There will also be a retinol pore-refining treatment without silicone and a “Botox-like” product to combat forehead wrinkles, again without silicone and paired with a delivery system.

A future focus for the LABS series, after the face, could be body parts that show signs of aging, such as elbows, knees and under one’s arms, according to Wong.

Geographically speaking, StriVectin — which is present in 55 countries — will continue concentrating on its key markets abroad of France, Italy, Spain, the U.K., South Korea and Japan.

“China is a big win for us,” said Wong. “Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Russia and South America are what I call our [‘opportunity] markets.’”

She would not discuss StriVectin’s size, but industry sources estimate the company generates about $250 million in annual retail revenues and that the LABS franchise alone, which was first introduced in the U.S. in March, could ring up $25 million in retail sales globally in its first 12 to 18 months.

Without further capital investment, the industry sources believe StriVectin, which is owned by private-equity firm Catterton Partners, can move above the $350 million mark.

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