Online Exclusives

The Mechanics Of Good Skin

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | September 29, 2011

FaceLube is a new line of skin care products geared for the average Joe who's more comfortable talking to his local mechanic than an aesthetician.

If only men would care about their skin like they do their cars, the men’s skin care market would be booming.

Well, one new player in the skin care market, FaceLube USA, is putting a new twist on that very idea by offering a line that plays on men’s love of all things automotive from its marketing to the packaging to its distribution plan.

In fact, recognizing that new companies face big challenges in the personal care marketplace, this premium line is taking the road less traveled. In addition to being sold online at its own website (facelube.com) and on amazon.com, the company has embarked a pilot program with Meineke Auto Care and Econo Lube & Tune in Northern and Southern California. Plus, the Los Angeles-based firm is in the process of bringing new car dealerships and regional tire centers on board as well.

To founder Candace Chen, it all makes perfect sense.

“The men’s market is extremely competitive within the beauty industry’s traditional distribution channel, because there simply isn’t enough premium shelf and floor space to go around,” said Chen, who spent 18 years in the automotive industry before embarking on FaceLube.

After nearly 20 years in the automotive industry building an aftermarket equipment company, Chen wanted to take a breather to pursue a personal passion in couture and beauty.

“Much to my surprise, when word got out that I’ve taken an interest to the beauty business, my male friends and colleagues started asking me for skin care advice,” said Chen, noting that the “men in the automotive industry and my social circle are far from the typical metrosexual. In fact, they are about as masculine and meat and potatoes as they come.”

Conversations with average Joes led to insights about “psychological barriers related to the social stigma around his adopting a skin care routine—generally considered a female ritual, the physical barriers related to the current retail environment – generally female centric, and the scarcity of men’s skin care products that speak to his nature, rather than against it.”

She created FaceLube, which is based in Los Angeles, “from the ground up to address these barriers.”

Chen’s automotive background is clearly evident throughout the line. For example, the FaceLube logo resembles a motor oil spot and the packaging has an overall industrial feel.

“The product design had to resonate with a man’s nature and trigger a positive emotional response. So we decided to tap into a man’s natural affinity to his ride with packaging that closely resembles car care products. Next, the content had to speak his language, so we used automotive descriptions, in lieu of traditional beauty terms and utilized ‘car talk’ to educate men about the need for proper skin care. “

The secondary packaging was designed to work with FaceLube’s unique distribution plan as well.

“The packaging needed to fit seamlessly into the automotive environment and not look out of place. And what could be more iconic of the automotive aftermarket than a motor oil bottle? We love it when customers who come across the FaceLube display in automotive locations do a double take,” she said.

But there’s more to FaceLube than revved-up packaging. The line utilizes a combination of “super botanicals – fruits and plants with anti-aging properties, and cutting edge science-based anti-aging active ingredients to achieve realistic and sustainable results’” Chen said, noting that FaceLube turned to select private label manufacturers for the formulations.

“We have to be highly selective about our manufacturing partners to make sure that we deliver top-notch products, because cutting corners is bad for cars and just as bad for skin care.”

According to Chen, user favorites include FaceLube Germany kit­ ($245)—a three- step kit that comes with an organic, sulfate-free, rosewood and argon oil-based cleaner, a caviar-based/peptide-infused treatment, and a marine-based/peptide-infused protectant—and FaceLube Premium, another kit that comes with a sulfate-free, algae-based cleaner, a hyaluronic acid-based treatment and a protectant featuring Matrixyl 3000.

The range also includes FaceLube Natural Anti-Aging Sunscreen, which Chen notes has “garnered a nice cult following this year.” The SKU offers broad-spectrum protection with anti-aging properties and is approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Chen is borrowing sales tactics from the auto industry too. FaceLube will be having a model year-end sale to entice men to test drive line, but rather than liquidating 2011 models, the firm will be selling all-new 2012 FaceLube Germany Kit at 50% off MSRP, according to Chen.

“It’d be like getting a BMW for the price of a Hyundai,” she quipped.

And while the automotive industry seems far removed from the beauty/HBA business, Chen’s business acumen is the fuel behind the brand.

For more than 15 years, Chen has been a small business advocate. She serves as an appointed trade policy advisor on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to two Cabinet level government officials —the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative. Chen was first appointed under the Clinton Administration, re-appointed under the Bush Administration, and is continuing her service in the Obama Administration.

Traffic Report

Recognizing that new lines face big challenges in the personal care market, FaceLube has mapped out its future by is taking the road less traveled.

“The men’s market is extremely competitive within the beauty industry’s traditional distribution channel, because there simply isn’t enough premium shelf and floor space to go around.”

In addition, Chen says she’s found two fundamental problems with the men’s skin care market.

“One, male consumers did not embrace men’s skin care and anti-aging as expected, because of the social stigma and psychological barrier attached to men’s use of skin care products. Two, the beauty industry lacked the opportunity to educate men about the need for proper skin care routine, because men did not feel comfortable shopping at female-centric beauty retail venues,” she said.

Secondly, Chen disagrees with the beauty industry’s marketing approach to men.

“We believe that high-end men’s skin care products shouldn’t follow the same premise as women’s; that to perpetuate their upscale image, high-end men’s skin care should only be sold at department stores and major beauty retailers where the vast majority of men won’t even shop.We believe that these products should be readily available to men at retail locations where he is comfortable shopping,” she said.

And while the men’s market appears to be stuck in low gear, Chen sees potential down the road.

“Men are half of the population and the men’s market is big enough to accommodate everyone who sees the explosive potential of this segment,” she said. “There is no reason why the men’s market could not rival the women’s in revenue within a short time. “

Related End-User Markets:

Related Raw Materials:

  • New Faces in Familiar Places

    New Faces in Familiar Places

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    The American Cleaning Institute officially welcomed its new president.

  • Special Delivery

    Special Delivery

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    UV protection is important, but what good is that sunscreen if consumers won’t apply it?

  • OTC = TLC

    OTC = TLC

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 1, 2017
    Over-the-counter treatments provide consumers’ skin and hair with extra care.

  • What’s Up with Brexit?

    What’s Up with Brexit?

    March 9, 2017
    During In-Cosmetics, industry experts from the CTPA will weigh in on what’s ahead for the beauty industry.

  • How We Clean

    How We Clean

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 6, 2017
    Consumers describe what makes them tick and what ticks them off about household cleaning products.

  • Fit for Fitness

    Fit for Fitness

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 21, 2017
    Kinx Active is a new brand targeting women who want beauty products that can stand up to their fitness routines.

  • Catch These Rising Stars of Beauty

    Catch These Rising Stars of Beauty

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||February 6, 2017
    Who won what at Fashion Group International's Rising Star awards show

  • Erasa

    Erasa's New Evangelist(a)

    January 9, 2017
    Impressed by the performance of its hero SKU, supermodel Linda Evangelista joins the company in a hand's on role.

  • Discourse on Disclosure

    Discourse on Disclosure

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 6, 2017
    Transparency impacts the cleaning industry.

  • The Top Stories of 2016

    The Top Stories of 2016

    December 26, 2016
    The companies and topics that grabbed headlines and your attention this year.

  • Positive Influence

    Positive Influence

    December 19, 2016
    Co-founder Elizabeth Scherle talks about her growing consumer review platform, top beauty products and more.

  • Olivia Care Pays It Forward

    Olivia Care Pays It Forward

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 12, 2016
    Seeking post-election unity, a small natural personal care company hopes to cause a big wave of giving.

  • Cos Bar: Turning 40 and Hitting Fast Forward

    Cos Bar: Turning 40 and Hitting Fast Forward

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 21, 2016
    With a recent investor infusion, a new CEO and rebranding effort underway, this luxury beauty retailer has big plans.

  • Organic Matter

    Organic Matter

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 14, 2016
    FTC and USDA hold a public roundtable to discuss consumers’ perception of organic claims.

  • Get Ready, ‘Cause Here it Comes…

    Get Ready, ‘Cause Here it Comes…

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 1, 2016
    Skinphonic is a new brand created with a team of beauty experts and fronted by singer Smokey Robinson.

  • Hair for Me!

    Hair for Me!

    October 31, 2016
    Function of Beauty fulfills the promise of personalization in the beauty space—one bottle at a time.

  • A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 24, 2016
    With three doors in Canada, Blitz Facial Bar opens its first US location in one of the hippest areas of New York.

  • Coming Clean on a Host of Issues

    Coming Clean on a Host of Issues

    October 17, 2016
    Cleaning Products Conference is set for Nov. 9-11, 2016 in Washington DC.

  • Let the Magic Begin!

    Let the Magic Begin!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 10, 2016
    IFSCC Congress gets underway at Walt Disney World this month.

  • Ogee Opens for Business

    Ogee Opens for Business

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    Banking on the power of jojoba oil, a Vermont-based start-up is the newest player in organic luxury skin care.

  • P&G’s Latest Patents

    P&G’s Latest Patents

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    A look at recent patent and IP related news from the biggest household and personal care player in the US.

  • A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    Julia Comas, Cristina Davi, Elena Canadas, Laia Gonzalez, Raquel Delgado, Lipotec SAU||October 3, 2016
    Lipotec’s Pollushield creates a barrier between skin and pollutants and boosts the antioxidative potential of skin.

  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Expanding Erbaviva

    Expanding Erbaviva

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 13, 2016
    A farm-to-bottle organic brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new look, new products and plans to expand in the US.

  • Lauder’s Latest Patents

    Lauder’s Latest Patents

    September 1, 2016
    A composition with NIR light emitting material, a skin care device and more awarded to this beauty business giant.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • Fro Yo!

    Fro Yo!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 22, 2016
    Project Beauty dishes out Hairgurt, a line of vitamin-rich hair shampoos and conditioning masques.

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.