LANCOME ENTERS RETINOL RACE
Byline: Alev Aktar
NEW YORK — Lancome is ready to unleash what should be its biggest skin care product to date.
Re-Surface Retinol Concentrate Wrinkle Corrector, the company’s first retinol facial treatment, will hit stores starting in late December. It is formulated to provide continuous wrinkle-smoothing action with retinol, the purest form of vitamin A.
Retinol is related to retinoic acid, which is prescribed by dermatologists to combat problems like acne and wrinkling. Retinoic acid products are available only by prescription, while retinol, which fights wrinkles and also improves skin tone and minimizes discoloration, can be used in cosmetics.
“The retinol market is large and growing at a very fast pace,” said Luc Nadeau, senior vice president and general manager of Lancome. “We firmly believe that it’s not about being first, it’s about being the best. Our formula is unsurpassed.”
The lotion will compete against a number of department and specialty store retinol entries, such as Estee Lauder’s Diminish Retinol Treatment, Christian Dior’s Phenomen-A, Helena Rubinstein’s Power A, La Prairie Age Management Stimulus Complex P.M., Prescriptives’ LSW Retinol Repair, English Ideas’ Eye Refine and Philosophy’s Help Me.
Nadeau declined to discuss a sales target, but industry sources estimate that Re-Surface could generate $35 million at retail in 2000.
Re-Surface, which was introduced in Europe in October, will arrive in select U.S. stores in late December — in time for the key treatment selling week between Christmas and New Year’s.
As reported, Re-Surface features nanocapsules, a patented technology that penetrates the skin’s surface layers and gradually releases retinol. The formula also contains skin-enriching glycerin, macadamia nut oil, corn extract and algae extract. The company is claiming that in two weeks, wrinkles “begin to retreat,” and in four weeks, “a new skin surfaces.”
Re-Surface can be used day or night and with or without a moisturizer.
Unlike many retinol entries, it is not necessary to apply sunscreen while using Re-Surface, although the company does advise it.
A 1-oz. air-tight tube is priced at $52.50.
Re-Surface will be backed with an aggressive TV, radio, magazine and newspaper campaign, as well as two million samples.
In January, three back-to-back Lancome spreads — the third touting Re-Surface — will run in five major magazines. At the same time, Re-Surface spreads will run in 11 other magazines.
Nadeau didn’t reveal a budget for the advertising and promotional campaign, saying only that “it’s far more than we’ve ever spent before to launch a skin care product.” Sources say the company has earmarked at least $10 million for the cause.
“This is the biggest skin care launch in the history of the brand,” concluded Nadeau.