Byline: Kavita Daswani

LOS ANGELES — With multimillion-dollar funding from a Boca Raton bank, Beverly Sassoon is about to see her dream become reality.
A former actress, writer of three beauty books and ex-wife of hairstyling king Vidal Sassoon, she has just launched her own line of oxygen-based skin care and nutritional products.
Sassoon was motivated to create the line when her film-producer son, Elan, approached her about going into business together. They both wanted to do something that would serve as a contribution to society, using Beverly Sassoon’s background as an international spokeswoman for Vidal Sassoon, her extensive knowledge of beauty and well-being and her experience as a regular on-air personality for the Home Shopping Network.
Two years and a big cash infusion later, the Beverly Sassoon & Co. Common Sense Nutrition and Skin Care Systems was born, with a quiet launch in March and a listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange under its parent company, ICMK.
“We are babies,” said Sassoon. “We’re the new kids on the block.”
Not quite. The company, which will initially sell the items through a direct- marketing program, has reportedly already pulled about 4,000 sellers in the U.S., and Sassoon said she anticipates retail sales of $5 million to $6 million within the first year.
Every day, Sassoon said, she and company president Stephanie McAnly field calls from interested parties in countries like South America, Japan and the Philippines who want the product for their areas. But for now, Sassoon is focusing on the American market.
“And a home-based sales system just made sense to me,” she said. “This way, we can help people build their own at-home businesses — single mothers, people who hate commuting, people who get to 65 and find they can’t afford to retire. It doesn’t mean we will always do business like this. The people who are financing us are looking at going in different directions.”
So far, the products have created a gentle buzz among those in the know. Using a range of botanicals such as dandelion, echinacea, aloe vera and horse chestnut, the skin care line is manufactured by a company in Pasadena, based on Sassoon’s in-depth research. But she believes that what distinguishes the line from other nature-based products on the market is its inclusion of oxygen.
Working with Stephen Krauss, who runs a company developing oxygen-based products, Sassoon created a line that uses oxygen as one of its most important ingredients. The individual products are given trademarked names such as OxiCleanse, OxiTone and OxiCreme. Elan Sassoon has also lent his name, under the group, to a range of men’s body care and nutritional products.
“People wonder how we get the oxygen into the product, and into the skin,” she said. “But they said the same thing about vitamin C or alpha hydroxy acids. I wanted the line to be broad-based, to appeal to all types of skin, so I sat down and researched all types of herbs and plants and got our manufacturer to blend them with oxygen and CoQ10, a very powerful antioxidant.”
Sassoon described CoQ10 as “the spark plug for the skin, working on the cellular level. It’s in all our skin care products, as is sun protection,” she said.
The line is packaged in sleek, transparent containers — comparable to any high-quality beauty products on the market. Prices are at specialty level, with a six-item package including cleanser, toner, lotion, eye cream, neck and face cream and anti-aging serum selling for around $250.
“A lot of people still need to be told what to use,” she said. “This kind of business allows us to do that. It’s a quality product, based on natural elements, and our customers don’t just use them, but can make money from it as well. It has a lot of appeal to home-based business, and with e-mail and the telephone, there’s no more knocking on doors.”
Sassoon attributes the early success of the line to many factors — primarily, that it went public from day one, that it works alongside a nutritional system of oxygen-enhanced supplements and that, of course, it carries the Sassoon name.
“We’re not trading on the name, but it does help with recognition,” she said. “We have made a deal not to do hair care, but apart from that, we have several other product lines in development.” These include an all-natural diet program, a line of anti-acne products, color cosmetics and even products for babies, children and pets.