MARY KAY’S QUICK SKIN FIX

Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Deeming the discovery a breakthrough in innovation, Mary Kay says it has found a shorter path to good skin.
Not that there still isn’t a place for the company’s standard five-stage skin-care regimen. But beginning this month, the beauty giant is offering women a two-step alternative in TimeWise.
Projecting U.S. sales of $200 million retail the first year, Mary Kay expects TimeWise to be a blockbuster addition to its already robust skin-care business. Skin care currently represents 40 percent of annual sales, reported at $1.1 billion wholesale.
“It is the biggest launch in the history of the company,” said Rhonda Shasteen, vice president of product marketing at Mary Kay.
Billed as an anti-aging product duo good for all ages and skin types, TimeWise consists of 3-in-1 Cleanser and Age-Fighting Moisturizer. Its chief benefits, according to marketers, are improvement in skin firmness and neck texture and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s-feet. Its gentle formula also results in softer-feeling skin, they say.
The key component is the patent-pending TimeWise complex, described simply as a unique combination of ingredients, including Carnuba beads and a “dream humectant.” The items do not contain alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids.
The cleanser, priced at $18 for 4.5 oz., cleanses, exfoliates and freshens skin with ingredients such as vitamins A and E; the botanical extracts meadowsweet and yarrow tone skin. The oil-free moisturizer, at $20 for a 3.3-oz. bottle, is said to provide anti-aging benefits and moisturize skin for up to 10 hours.
Myra Barker, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Mary Kay, said TimeWise tested well across all age groups. “We’ve had people in their 60s on it as well as people in their late teens and early 20s.”
While Barker declined to explain how TimeWise works, she said there have been two developments in dermatological research that helped in its discovery: That is the knowledge that skin possesses a natural ability to repair itself from the effects of both sun damage and natural aging, albeit at a slow rate.
“TimeWise contains a complex that is just ordinary cosmetics ingredients that work with those natural repair mechanisms to allow fine lines to diminish and softness to return,” said Barker.
Shasteen anticipates TimeWise will draw new customers to Mary Kay because of the simple, easy-to-use products and time savings it offers.
“This spring, we are really focusing efforts on getting our sales force excited about the product and taking it out to new people. That is, people who are not Mary Kay users,” said Shasteen.
And for the first time, Mary Kay is launching a broad-scale sampling program. Two million samples of TimeWise will be mailed directly to women identified as preferred customers. As usual, samples will also be distributed by sales associates.
In August, the company will unveil a consumer contest that will run through November to honor and celebrate busy American women. Few other details were available. Additionally, a print-advertising campaign, and possibly Internet ads, will support the launch.
“I think people are really looking for simplification, and time is the issue today for most women,” said Shasteen. “In most cases, to get anti-aging results, it takes more than a cleanser and moisturizer. It takes other skin supplement products.” Mary Kay typically suggests that women use five separate products to cleanse, exfoliate, freshen, moisturize and protect skin.
“We hear from our consultants that the number one objection they face with customers is that they don’t have time to do these five things,” said Shasteen. “Now we are giving them everything they need, plus anti-aging, in a lot less time.” She noted that Mary Kay offers other skin-care products, including items with alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid. “These [TimeWise] are just great alternatives with the latest technology.”
Shasteen said Mary Kay would likely apply the time-saving concept to other product categories in the future, such as body care.
TimeWise launches in the U.S. and Canada this month and in the Pacific Rim later this year. In 2001 it will roll into Europe and South America.

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