REVLON SHOWS SOME SKIN
Byline: Laura Klepacki
NEW YORK — Revlon, revered as the market’s lipstick and nail polish leader, wants to build a skin care business just as powerful.
As it lays plans for the future, “The company is moving away from what has in effect been a reliance on color and taking a more diversified approach, with skin care being a co-number-one priority,” said Jeffrey Nugent, Revlon president.
Over the past few weeks, the company has announced a licensing agreement with Senetek PLC for exclusive use of its Kinetin skin care technology in the mass market. It also has contracted with celebrity dermatologist Patricia Wexler to assist in new product development.
Wexler, a New York doctor who has created skin care lines with Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, said she hopes to “bring Revlon a true sense of modern identity. They have such a wealth of research and development. With the technology they now have available, I think they could become one of the more prevalent over-the-counter rejuvenative skin care lines available,” said Wexler.
Wexler said she has been treating patients with professional products containing Kinetin for at least a year with good results. “We find it extremely useful in anti-aging products.
It has shown dramatic results,” said Wexler. “Many people can’t use the retinoids and alpha-hydroxy products because they cause irritation. Kinetin is a technology that doesn’t irritate.”
But before Revlon launches anything derived from those pacts, the company is expected to break into the U.S. retail market with two skin care collections it currently markets internationally — a vitamin C line and a milk protein line.
Revlon actually took its first step forward in June with the introduction via QVC of Gatineau Laser, a European prestige-priced product collection inspired by cosmetic laser treatments. Nugent said there are no immediate plans to make Gatineau — which has items priced at $45 to $99 — available to U.S. retail stores. He did not rule out the possibility, however. Meanwhile, a QVC spokeswoman said the Gatineau Laser products did extremely well during a one-hour broadcast on June 16. She said the home-shopping channel plans to offer them again, although a date has not been set.
Retailers who have presented Revlon’s vitamin C collection, which will be marketed under the Revlon brand, and the milk protein line, which will fall under Almay, have been enthusiastic.
They described the Revlon vitamin C packaging as upscale, using frosty glass jars with lids resembling orange slices. The Almay collection comes in white bottles with mint-green and silver accents. Retailers said pricing for both lines is expected to be in the $10-an-item range. Revlon declined to comment on the products.
“I am pleased to see that Revlon is getting back into skin care,” said Cynthia Henry, category manager, cosmetics, at Longs. “They had Moondrops for years and then neglected the category. Given their presence in beauty, it is a good move.”
While Henry wondered whether Revlon may be late to market with a vitamin C item, still she finds the packaging “something you would be proud to have on your counter or vanity.” And Revlon marketers assured retailers that the line offered a new delivery system that was efficacious, she said.
“Given Almay’s strong hypoallergenic positioning, we will keep [the new line] on the wall with color, not in skin care,” noted Henry.
Regarding the Almay collection, Layana Palmore, cosmetics and fashion category manager at Drug Emporium, said, “I thought it was fabulous. When I saw it, I thought maybe it will even bring a different user to the category. It could be a big thing for us. Nobody but the upscale stores has a milk line now.”
Palmore also plans to take on the Revlon vitamin C line. She said she hopes to be one of the first retailers to unveil the lines. At least one buyer, however, thought Revlon might be moving too far away from Almay’s heritage with the milk line. “I would like to see them stick to their regimens,” she said.