"We're Nestlé but we're also a startup beauty company, so our goal is to build credibility. We started in prestige locales like Neiman Marcus. We have to educate consumers about what this category is and make them much more open to the idea that what you consume does affect how you look and feel. [Market researcher] Datamonitor projects that this will be a $1.3 billion business by 2012, but when I started in 2006, that number was only $800,000. We're creating a whole new category that fuses food, nutrition, and beauty -- and accessing all of the emotions women have about appearance and food."

In 2006, Cooper, was a brand manager at Nestlé when she pitched her bosses the idea of a beauty drink. Two weeks later, she was running Nestlé's first American foray into nutricosmetics. Glowelle debuted this fall in Bergdorf Goodman and 45 Neiman Marcus stores. The company currently produces four products, including a Pomegranate Lychee drink or a Rasberry Jasmine powder stick to mix into other drinks.

"We see nutricosmetics as part of a larger trend in which holistic treatments replace toxin-based ones. For an extreme example of what's possible, you start with algae that costs 5 cents a kilo and from that create algae extract that costs $50 a kilo. Then you can create an encapsulated algae-extract complex that you sell for $100 to $1,000 a kilo. As we learn more about topical skin applications and ingestible ones, synergies will be possible. The vitamin will hit layers of the skin that are tough to get to from the outside."

BASF Corporation has been developing high-end ingredients to sell to companies such as Avon, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, and Procter & Gamble. Says Rogasik, "We're already using food-science technology in skin care: Lys'lastin is a dill extract that helps reenergize the elastin dormant in aging skin; Smartvector UVCE releases vitamins C and E when skin is exposed to UV."

"My husband and I are partners. My background is scientific, his is design. Our approach to everything -- absolutely everything -- is internal and external. When someone comes in with an acne problem, we wouldn't just give her face creams. We look at lifestyle, talk about any hormonal imbalance, consider doing a detox, and discuss the available options. Health and beauty go together."

Margo and her husband, Francesco tackle their customers' beauty problems using an inside-out approach and featuring herbs, supplements, and tinctures. Margo explained, "We have 400 SKUs, which I've formulated and we hand-make in our Battersea laboratory. I'm a licensed pharmacist and homeopath, so we're not a bunch of housewives who cooked something up in the kitchen."

"When people hear 'genomics,' they often think we're doing something to manipulate the genes or DNA. What we're really doing is using molecular technologies to study how the body responds to the environment. Up until the 1990s, it was only possible to measure one gene at a time; now, with gene chips, we can track tens of thousands of changes that may be occurring. Our labs can measure not only what's going on at the top of the skin but also how it responds from the inside. We're gauging its response to exterior damage as well as nutrition."

Tiesman's focus has been on applying technology from the semiconductor industry to biochemical research in order to bring a new efficiency to beauty R&D. He wonders, "What nutrition triggers a response on the skin's surface? There's still a lot of snake oil out there, but we actually have a much better understanding of beauty products. With much more soon to come." With breakthroughs such as sequencing the genetics of the fungus that causes dandruff and an analysis of skin genes that are deactivated when a person ages, products utilizing such research can't be far behind.

"In 1990, Origins was created with the understanding that most medicines come from plants, and plants are a powerful resource for solving skin concerns. As women understand how effective natural ingredients can be for the health of their skin, they are more interested in using these natural products. Our new concept store in Denver literally puts beauty in a café setting. You can sip organic tea and eat vegan peace of mind cupcakes while you wait for a facial."

Lauder recently took over Origins, the prestige brand that pioneered the holistic approach to beauty. Origins has 135 freestanding retail outlets and is in 450 department stores in the U.S. What do they sell? Lauder describes," Our best-selling items are a perfect world, which uses white tea; Dr. Andrew Weil Plantidote Mega-Mushroom face serum, which uses mushrooms, ginger, holy basil, and turmeric; and Checks and Balances Frothy face wash, which includes wheat protein."

"When one of our brands comes out with a truly innovative product that needs some explanation, we get a period of exclusivity to introduce it to the public. We give them an explanation from someone who knows what she's talking about, someone instrumental in the development. The average person is just not going to have exposure to someone like Bobbi Brown."

Burke came to QVC in 1997 and turned the $7.4 billion network into a channel for prestige beauty products. Such names as Clinique and Bobbi Brown are among the approximately 75 brands vying for airtime. One such item is Bobbi Brown's Hydrating Eve Cream, made from aloe vera and avocado oil.

Instant Sexy: Potions That Make You Pretty

Ingestibles are the hot growth segment in the 45 billion beauty business, with the potential to transform cosmetics counters into apothecaries. Here beauty potion professionals talk about bringing their products to the masses.

"We're Nestlé but we're also a startup beauty company, so our goal is to build credibility. We started in prestige locales like Neiman Marcus. We have to educate consumers about what this category is and make them much more open to the idea that what you consume does affect how you look and feel. [Market researcher] Datamonitor projects that this will be a $1.3 billion business by 2012, but when I started in 2006, that number was only $800,000. We're creating a whole new category that fuses food, nutrition, and beauty -- and accessing all of the emotions women have about appearance and food."

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