NEW YORK — What is arguably one of the best eye creams is without a doubt the most expensive: Sensai Premier Eye Cream retails for $320 per 0.5-oz. jar. Price points, however, don’t usually faze the loyal users of Kanebo’s luxury top-line brand, or the women who shop at Bergdorf Goodman. (Bergdorf’s is exclusively selling the pricy eye cream until it launches nationwide to 26 other doors, including select Saks Fifth Avenue, Cosbar and Barneys New York stores.)

Julie Fritzky, training and event director at Kanebo Cosmetics USA, said, “The Bergdorf [Goodman] customer is the Kanebo customer.”

The eye cream, which Kanebo executives said will likely generate $1 million in first-year sales, rounds out existing items in the Sensai Premier line, which launched in April 2005. Currently, there is a Lotion ($300 for 5.1 oz.), an Emulsion ($380 for 4.25 oz.) and a Cream ($650 for 1.4 oz.), which are designed to offer “breakthrough DNA repair support technologies,” according to a product brochure. Each item also uses an exclusive silk extract (koishimaru) and natural saffron oil, and combines a marine polysaccharide and beta carotene to stimulate hyaluronic acid, which helps retain moisture in the skin. In addition to utilizing these ingredients, the eye cream aims to stimulate the production of collagen by using Super Fibro Activator, a stable vitamin C derivative, and looks to help stimulate DNA repair functions by using a seaweed extract, Fritzky added.

Kanebo is not limited to skin care. Kanebo International, a Tokyo-based company, also makes color cosmetics, including eye shadows, mascara and a lipstick line infused with 24-karat gold. An antiaging foundation range under the Sensai Cellular Performance brand — the backbone of Kanebo’s product range and one that’s more competitively priced — launches in August and will retail for $85 for Cream Foundation and $90 for Powder Foundation. Each uses five main ingredients, including an apricot essence complex to stimulate microcirculation, kakyoku extract to help uneven skin tone and OH Scavenger, a synthetic antioxidant created by Kanebo to fight the signs of aging. Each comes in eight shades.

Kanebo executives estimate first-year sales for the Sensai Cellular Performance Foundation will exceed $1 million. Kanebo has experienced double-digit sales growth for the previous three years, executives said, adding that current sales goals for 2007 are $10 million annually in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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