Don’t get too excited the next time you see Kérastase or Shu Uemura Art of Hair at the supermarket. The appearance of these professional lines at your corner store is the result of “diversion,” a dirty word coined by L’Oréal’s professional division to describe the counterfeit salon products that are making their way to unapproved shelves across the nation. An “epidemic” that can result in jacked-up prices and outdated, even tainted formulas, L’Oréal is cutting off salons who sell to diverters, tracking diverted goods, and conducting routine sweeps at unspecified locations—well-orchestrated “sting operations,” if you will—in an effort to remedy the situation. To keep consumers like yourselves in the know, they’ve even taped a YouTube-accessible PSA starring a C-list news anchor with a Midwestern neutral accent about the risks associated with diversion, which we’ve provided here for your viewing pleasure. Click, watch, and join the resistance.
With the launch of Beautyfix.com, a new members-only Web site that aims to bring beauty brands, experts, and fiends together at one URL address, the future of primping has finally arrived. For a quarterly fee of $50, you get access to the trial-and-error process of a panel of experts (which currently includes celebrity hair colorist Rita Hazan, celebrity hair stylist Sean James, and celebrity makeup artist Rosie Johnston) who sort through thousands of products submitted by quality brands in order to reveal their “fix” of the seven to ten most noteworthy. Afterward, you receive a full or deluxe sample size of each and every one of their picks to test for yourself, which equals almost 40 different products a year for your slathering pleasure. Plus, membership allows you to start a personal profile page so you and other product junkies can post your own reviews, raves, and even random musings—or Youtube videos of ninja cats. (It’s your social networking space. Do with it what you will.)
Those of you who refrain from throwing your hands in the air and waving them like you just don’t care for fear of unsightly sweat stains and body odor might be pleased to know that Unilever feels your pain. The makers of wetness-protection giant Sure will debut a new, high-performance deodorant next month as part of an extension of the popular brand, targeting what they’re calling the “anxious sweater” demographic—or people who worry their deodorant isn’t working effectively. According to Marketingweek.com, the two new antiperspirant deodorant products, Sure Woman Maximum Protection and Sure Men Maximum Protection, claim to offer twice the protection of the best-selling antiperspirant of popular jingle fame, promising up to 48 hours of efficacy. And get this, the new formula—which comes as a cream stick applicator—is applied before going to bed, the premise being that at night sweat glands are less active and the skin is therefore more receptive. Fingers crossed this isn’t just a marketing ploy, so that silk shirts can finally become acceptable year-round attire.
As if the the beauty industry needed more bad news, what with its grim holiday retail prospects, a new study just released out of University College London claims that there is “no clear evidence” that antioxidants slow down the aging process. The findings are based on genetically manipulated nematode worms whose comparable lifespan to non-manipulated placebo worms, suggest that oxidative stress—which antioxidants serve to minimize—is less of a factor in cellular aging than previously thought. According to Cosmetics Business, the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) has responded by saying the study may not be directly relevant to the complex process of aging as it happens in humans—adding that by law, cosmetic companies have to substantiate any claims they make. But the idea that the research could negate almost a decade of superfruit pushing, Vitamin C loading, and global consumer dollars poured into antioxidant rich creams is likely sending a chill down the spines of more than a few beauty bigwigs.
Jemma Kidd is bidding adieu to the drugstore culture in which she launched her eponymous Make Up School line. In a statement she made at the launch of her new Skin-Intelligents collection yesterday, Kidd announced that she would be taking her brand off the shelves at U.K. retail giant Boots and repositioning it in the ivory tower that is Space NK. Sighting a move toward more sophisticated packaging and products designed for a mature audience, Cosmetics Business reports that Kidd’s entrée into the premium market makes her the first and only U.K. brand to be sold in Space NK’s niche retail space. No doubt the model (and countess by marriage) will be more comfortable in her new digs: Her spring/summer 2009 Tropicana collection, created in homage to a childhood spent in Barbados, will be in good company alongside fellow Brit and Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird’s Laughter, a fragrance inspired by Kinnaird’s own childhood on the Spanish Mediterranean Costa del Azahar.