NEW YORK — With its new makeup, Enlighten, Estee Lauder is hoping to win converts.

The foundation will be on counters in January, and the company will market it as actually better for skin than no makeup at all. Enlighten is designed to provide lightweight, natural-looking coverage that minimizes flaws or skin imperfections.

“Roughly 50 percent of all women don’t wear foundation,” said Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of Estee Lauder USA. “That means there is an enormous opportunity out there for converting nonusers. Women who don’t wear foundation say it is because it feels heavy on the skin or because it is irritating or looks unnatural. We thought that if we could give them a nonirritating formula that actually makes the skin look better and that over time improves its condition, we would have a good chance of changing their minds.”

Enlighten will be available in 10 shades and will cost $27.50 for a 1-oz. bottle. The oil-free formula contains a nonchemical sunscreen, free radical protection and skin-soothing botanicals.

The company maintains that Enlighten gives natural, lightweight-looking coverage, and wears without changing its color for eight hours. It was created to absorb the skin’s excess oil, while locking in moisture.

Although company executives declined to comment on sales projections and advertising budgets, industry sources estimated that Enlighten would have a first-year wholesale volume of $8 million to $10 million.

Lauder reportedly will spend $6 million to $8 million to advertise the brand in print and on co-op TV the first year.

National print advertising will run in the February, March and April issues of women’s fashion and service magazines. Newspaper ads will appear in 90 markets, according to Mona Monaghan, vice president of makeup marketing of Estee Lauder USA.

The co-op TV campaign will break Dec. 26 in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will resume in January in about 90 markets.

According to Monaghan, there will be year-round dramming of Enlighten, a tactic the company took three years ago when it launched Lucidity, Lauder’s number-one-selling foundation, which is still sampled continuously.

Lauder will give out “several millions” of the new item in many of its spring gift-with-purchase promotions.

“Foundation is the most brand-loyal category on the market,” Burns said. “If you hit it right, it can be like a fragrance. In addition to attracting nonfoundation users, we feel the product will appeal to women who already use foundation. Since women are often resistant to change brands, we are intent on offering as many try-before-you-buy programs to get Enlighten into the customer’s hands.”

Enlighten’s technology will be used in a concealer, the company’s new Smoothing Creme Concealer SPF 8, which will be launched concurrently with Enlighten.

Lauder maintains that Smoothing Creme will disguise dark circles, reduce under-eye puffiness and minimize fine lines.

Each of six shades will be priced at $16.

“Foundation is the most critical category in makeup,” she said. “It has the highest loyalty and repeat purchase percentages. We will be aggressively trying to increase our market share.”