Seeking a Healthier Future, Drugstores Tap Into ‘Wellness’

Facing stiff competition, drugstores are reaching into their beauty departments to hitch their fortunes to the trendy wellness movement.

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Harvey Alstodt, senior vice president, sales at Del Laboratories, noted that it will be extending its spa nail polish line, Beyond Perfect, into a full beauty assortment, including a collagen-based lipstick, due to the interest in health, wellness and benefit-driven products.

Realizing that it has healthy positioning to leverage in Almay, Revlon also will put more muscle behind that franchise this year, according to Paul Murphy, executive vice president of sales for Revlon, Almay’s parent. Almay will follow some of the strategic positioning employed to reinvigorate Revlon, including high impact advertising and innovative products.

To attract former department store consumers, Almay promotional materials now feature what the company calls “Almay green,” a color reminiscent of Clinique. Almay could use the help; its sales have weakened since its most robust period in the late Nineties.

Almay model Elaine Irwin Mellencamp was on hand, along with Revlon face Eva Mendez, to express the images behind the brands.

To sweeten things up, Revlon kicked off the meeting with its annual Friday night party with an acoustic performance by Sheryl Crow and chocolates molded in the form and shade of Revlon lipsticks, foundations, nail colors and eye shadows. The delicacies were “merchandised” on a wall fixture. “These are products we won’t get back as returns,” quipped Murphy at the soiree.

Neutrogena, a company often associated with healthy skin, has an arsenal of new items, according to Michael McNamara, its worldwide president. “We’re introducing a line called Advanced Solutions. People want a higher level of products,” he said, noting the skin care collection will be unveiled in October. “The products will offer a higher level of performance at mass,” he added.

Indeed, skin care products that are designed to provide cosmetic surgery results without the surgery are gaining a foothold in drugstores. Retailers have high expectations for L’Oréal’s new at-home microdermabrasion kit. University Medical also unveiled a chemical peel kit and face-firming activator kit, for serious skin care at drugstore prices.

While skin care has been full of innovation, color cosmetics, a longtime drugstore mainstay, has been rather dull, retailers said, with the exception of companies such as Physicians Formula. The company used innovative products such as baked eye shadows and the multi-colored Powder Palette to drive it to a top position in those segments. It also has the number one bronzer on the market. “And we’re not stopping the innovation,” said Ingrid Jackel, senior vice president, marketing, for Physicians Formula
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