Making Their Mark

By Christine Esposito , Associate Editor | January 21, 2013

From start-ups to companies with several years under their belt, the following firms are garnering attention in the skin care category via their topical skin treatments and DIY devices.

So what does it take to become the next Clinique? Can anyone predict which upstart mass brand will have the longevity of P&G’s Olay or what device is destined to become the hottest new tool in the beauty business, like Clarisonic? (If only!)

Founded and run by executives with diverse backgrounds—including an eco-minded industry veteran, investment-banker-turned-entrepreneur and a former supermodel—the following firms are out to make their mark in the skin care industry. Happi queried these up-and-comers about the genesis of their brand, where they stand today and how they plan to grow their business in this competitive HBA sector.


Algenist has become a top-selling product via Sephora and QVC.
Founded: 2011 by Solazyme, a renewable oil and bioproducts company
Names to Know: Jonathan S. Wolfson, Solazyme CEO, and Frederic Stoeckel, senior vice president and general manager
Major Products: Concentrated Reconstructing Serum, Complete Eye Renewal Balm
Newest Launch: Multi-Perfecting Pore Corrector Concentrate, rolling out this month
Stocked At: Sephora, Sephora.com, Algenist.com, QVC, QVC.com
Hero Product: Concentrated Reconstructing Serum
Brand Story: Algenist is a line of advanced anti-aging skin care products formulated with alguronic acid, an ingredient that biotechnology scientists unexpectedly discovered after studying thousands of microalgae strains for renewable energy solutions. Alguronic acid enables microalgae cells to regenerate and protect themselves in harsh environments and conditions. When researched for potential anti-aging benefits, alguronic acid demonstrated significant regenerative and protective properties. For example, in third party in vitro tests, alguronic acid increased elastin production by up to 32% and cellular regeneration by up to 55%, among other benefits, according to the company.

Frederic Stoeckel, senior VP and general manager, says what makes Algenist unique is effective, bioactive ingredients that deliver visible anti-aging results to the skin.

“Algenist was born out of an unexpected discovery, when a team of biotechnology scientists in San Francisco, who were focused on developing microalgae-based renewable energy solutions, discovered alguronic acid, a powerful compound responsible for regenerating and protecting the microalgae cell. Microalgae are remarkable organisms that produce powerful compounds to protect themselves from daily environmental insult,” he said.

According to Stoeckel, biotechnologists at Algenist have “worked diligently to identify the most powerful of these compounds and deliver breakthrough skin care technology. When scientifically tested, alguronic acid demonstrated significant anti-aging properties and this patented formulation is what truly sets the brand apart from the competition.”

2012 Highlight: Algenist continued to post a huge increase in sales during 2012, according to the company. “Our sales performance on QVC remains strong, with consumers selecting the brand as the recipient of this year’s Rising Star award within the beauty category. The brand itself continued to grow,” Stoeckel told Happi.

In addition, 2012 marked the introduction of a new line of products for rebuilding skin firmness and elasticity, the Firming & Lifting Line. In addition, Algenist signed Dr. Jody Alpert Levine to serve as consulting dermatologist for the line.

What’s Next: Algenist begins 2013 with the launch of a new collection of resurfacing skin care, the Multi-Perfecting line, which includes Multi-Perfecting Detoxifying Exfoliator, Multi-Perfecting Pore Corrector Concentrate and Multi-Perfecting Pore Corrector Gel Moisturizer. This new line aims to smooth away uneven skin, eliminates dullness and targets the multiple challenges for aging skin texture including oversized pores, loss of skin elasticity and epidermal dehydration, according to the company.
Why We’re Watching: As of December 2012, Algenist’s 2012 retail sales had increased more than 300%.

Intelligent Nutrients

Intelligent Nutrients is a new line created by Horst Rechelbacher.
Names to Know:Horst M. Rechelbacher, founder
Major Products:Certified organic anti-aging serum, anti-aging moisture, anti-aging cleanser and anti-aging mist.
Stocked At: Flagship location within the Mall of America, online at www.intelligentnutrients.com and at various boutique and retail locations around the world.
Hero Products: Intelligent Nutrients Advanced Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex
Brand Story: IN works with noted physicians and scientists at leading universities and institutions as well as food and cosmetic chemists to create non-toxic, active formulations that deliver superior performance, without use of petrochemically derived ingredients. They merge food-grade ingredients and certified organic with cosmetic chemistry—substances the body recognizes and readily assimilates as nutrients.

Certified organic ingredients are grown on founder Horst Rechelbacher’s farm in Osceola, WI for research and use in IN products. The farm is completely off the grid and self-sustainable with wind and solar power. All Intelligent Nutrients products are manufactured with 100% renewable energy. The IN headquarters in Minneapolis is also 100% powered by renewable energy.

Intelligent Nutrients Advanced Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex features a proprietary blend of edelweiss, coneflower and pennywort formulated at the highest potency for maximum efficacy, harnessing the power of plant stem cell antioxidants. Their innate preventative qualities perfectly position them to help fight the visible signs of aging, at any age. This advanced skin science reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, helps reduce redness and other skin discolorations—plus firms, lifts, soothes and softens while increasing collagen synthesis, according to IN.

“Plants...must be respected and grown without chemical toxins such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and insecticides or genetically modified. These toxins are not only linked to every cause of human cancer but also interfere with the balance of our planet’s natural environment. In other words, they poison us from the ground up.Never underestimate the power of plants. Plants inhale what we exhale. They provide us with food, medicine and shelter. Plants produce purity, sustainability and are the most important components of our life support,” said Rechelbacher.

2012 Highlight: Opening its first flagship store within the Mall of America, which is located in Bloomington, MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities. The store offers a variety of products and salon-related services, such as biofeedback stress-testing using all-natural IN aromatics, in-depth computer skin, scalp and hair analysis, a private salon for skin and hair treatments and grooming. Both the retail store and the salon space will be equipped with an Intelligent Nutrients aroma oxygen bar.
What’s Next: “Our new focus is to utilize stem cell science for total body application–everything from skin renewal, anti-aging, nutriceuticals, hair growth and total body care products for men, women, children and pets,” said Rechelbacher. And be on the look out for IN products in Ireland by Spring 2013 andKorea by Summer 2013.
Why We’re Watching: Will Horst shake up the personal care industry via his newest venture and make IN the next Aveda?


BelleCore sells devices that help the body look better.
Founded: 2007
Names to Know: Nancy C. Donahue and Dr. Heidi B. Kummer, managing partners of BelleCore LLC, and Susan A. Pasanen and Dr. James Pomposelli. Donahue was one of the first supermodels, starting her career with multiple covers of Mademoiselle in the late 1970s. She has also been on the covers Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in America, Britain, Italy, France, Germany.
Major Products: BelleCore body buffers
Stocked At: Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, select Bloomingdales, Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London, Colette in Paris and high end spas in the US. BelleCore bodybuffers are also sold in Vienna, Sweden and India. The company website (www.bellebodybuffer.com) launched in 2010.
Hero Product: HoneyBelle and BabyBelle body buffers
Newest Launch: HoneyBelle Fit and BabyBelle Fit version marketed to the athletic and fitness world.
Brand Story: BelleCore bodybuffers took more than three years to develop by MIT and Harvard engineers with the input of four Boston doctors, according to the company. The mechanics, design and intended usage are patent protected. The bodybuffer utilizes random orbital oscillation, specifically tuned to be used on the skin, to deliver deep tissue massage that. among other benefits, dramatically diminishes the appearance of cellulite, decreases edema by increasing lymphatic drainage and acts as an effective exfoliator that rejuvenates and smoothes the skin. The bodybuffer benefits for beauty/wellness/fitness are far reaching, say company executives.
What’s Next: In the US, the firm continues to add top spas, gyms, and other businesses that focus on fitness including expanding its base in chiropractic and physical therapy offices. Also, be on the look out for expansion of EU accounts and the opening the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region and South America.
Why We’re Watching: BelleCore says sales have grown 800% in the US and 600% internationally during the past year. For 2013, the firm expects to see further significant growth both at home and abroad.

“This small start-up company offers on-the-go and at-home versions of a bell-shaped device that eliminates cellulite, or at least reduces the appearance of it! The HoneyBelle beauty device isideal for in-home treatment while the babyBelle is ideal for small areas such as underarm and is perfect for travel,” said Karen Doskow, industry manager at Kline’s Consumer Products Practice.

Nip + Fab

No Needle Fix is a hero product for Maria Hatzistefanis’ Nip+Fab line.
Founded: 2010
Names to Know: Maria Hatzistefanis, founder and CEO
Major Products: No Needle Fix, Frown Fix, Bust Fix
Stocked At: Target, Ulta
Hero Product: No Needle Fix
Newest Launch: CC Cream and CC Eye Fix
Brand Story: Nip+Fab is a targeted skin and body care brand that offers fantastic results without the need for surgery, combining natural ingredients with technological advancements in beauty. The firm’s hero product, a serum called No Needle Fix, contains three key ingredients—CellActive Form, which improves tonicity and elasticity; Osilift to reduce lines and wrinkles; and Indinyl CA, which softens and hydrates.
2012 Highlght: No Needle Fix has become the hero product for the brand, with one sold every minute, according to Nip+Fab.
What’s Next: Officials told Happi the plan is to progress the brand further with expansion into more markets and concentrate on the development of new packaging and products.
Why We’re Watching: Nip+Fab is currently available in more than 4,000 stores in six countries worldwide. Sales in 2013 are expected to be in the area of $10 million globally, according to brand officials.

Carol Cole Company/NuFace
Founded: 2005
Names to Know:Carol Cole, founderand president; Tera Valdez, co-founder and COO; Wesley Brandon, vice president, marketing; andKatePrais-Szakal, vice president, sales
Major Products:NuFace Trinity andNuFace Infusion Serums
Stocked At: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, dermatology offices and select spas,as well as onwww.mynuface.com

The NuFace Trinity (above) and the Trinity Wrinkle Remover devices.
Hero Product: NuFace Trinity, the next generation of NuFace microcurrent devices. FDA-cleared and clinically proven, the Trinity stimulates skintosignificantly improve facial contour, tone and decrease wrinkles, the firm said.
Newest Launch: Trinity Wrinkle Remover, anFDA-cleared, red LED photo-therapy attachment for the NuFace Trinity,launched in November 2012.It is engineered with advanced LEDs to deliver a precise combination of red and infrared light to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, according to the company.
Brand Story: Carol Cole developed NuFace from her work as anesthetician and her vision was to create effective, easy to use toolsthather clients could use at home. Working with her daughters Tera and Kim,they founded NuFace and launched the first NuFace device in 2005.

The devices use microcurrent, a low-level alternating current that typically operates in the range of 0-400 microamps. Microcurrent facial toning devices send soft, gentle waves to the muscles in the face to help relax overly-tightened muscles and strengthen under-worked muscles. In essence, microcurrent facial toning “re-educates” the facial muscles and works to restore them back to their original state. When this happens, the face is lifted, firmed and toned to a more youthful appearance, according to the company.

“NuFace is extremely unique in the beauty space asourproducts deliver a lifted, toned beautiful look without needles, bruising or downtime. As a class II medical device,ourtechnologies are FDA-cleared and clinically tested and used by dermatologistsand skin care professionals across the country. At the same time,the devices are so easy to use, consumers can use themeffectivelyin the convenience of their home,” said Tera Valdez, COO. “Our vision is to give consumers a platform with NuFace Trinity that allows them to enjoy a wide range of professional skin therapies. Microcurrent and phototherapy are available now, and we are excited about more technologies to come.”

2012 Highlight: FDA-clearance andlaunch of the Trinity Wrinkle Remover,which enables consumers to perform multiple professional treatmentsat homewith one device, theNuFace Trinity.

“The new attachment for NuFace Trinity, the Trinity Wrinkle Remover, has received an outstanding reception from our professional partners and consumers. We are extremelyexcitedabout the value this is going to bring to our consumers as they now have a fun, easy to use tool that offers multiple skin treatment options in one device,” said Carol Cole, founder and president.

Why We’re Watching: Market research group Kline & Company pegs Carol Cole as one of fastest growing companies in the US at-home device market. Noted Doskow, “Why have a face lift when NuFace’s Trinity can tone up sagging facial muscles at a much lower price? Watch out for the product’s detachable heads that make it a multi-faceted device that not only tones but treats other skin care concerns associated with aging.”

Personal Cell Sciences

U Autologous is a truly personalized skin care line based on stem cells.
Founded: 2011
Names to Know: John S. Arnone, CEO
Major Products: The U Autologous suite of serum, eye crème and moisturizer
Stocked At: Products are sold through a participating physician network and directly from Personal Cell Sciences.
Brand Story: Arnone spent several years working in the securities industry and on the New York Stock Exchange during the 1980s before forming a boutique NASD investment banking firm on Wall Street. He later co-founded American CryoStem Corp., a commercial adult stem cell processing laboratory and long-term cryopreservation company. The potential of adult stem cells in cosmetic applications led Arnone to found Personal Cell Sciences (PCS) in 2011. PCS offers U Autologous, a range of anti-aging topical skin care productscreated using the healing and regenerative power of a customer’s own adult stem cells.

The process entails removal of unwanted fat (60 ml) through a mini-liposuction, which is then delivered to American CryoStem’s clinical lab where the stem cells are extracted and processed. A portion of the stem cells are cryo-preserved and stored for future use (in regenerative medicine), according to the company, while the remaining portion is used to create a unique Autokine-CM (a blend of cytokines, growth factors, and matrix proteins unique to each individual secreted from adult stem cells). Autokine-CM is then hand blended with antioxidants, peptides and advanced anti-aging ingredients. The stem cells obtained during this process are cultured by PCS to create enough new stem cells to deliver a lifetime supply of personalized products monthly.

“Our proprietary technologies allow us to create the U Autologous product suite which is the only anti-aging formulation available today whose key ingredient Autokine-CM is made exclusively from the customer’s stem cells,” said Arnone. Through our association with American CryoStem, our laboratory tissue processing and stem cell culturing utilizes patented animal free medium to culture a client’s stem cells. In addition to custom product formulation, all our clients receive a clinical grade sample of their stem cells stored for their future use in cellular therapies and regenerative medicine, a form of bio-insurance.”

The initial month supply of personalized serum, moisturizer and eye creme is $3,000 (which includes the mini-liposuction physician fee to collect the adipose tissue, stem cell processing, cell culturing and long-term cryopreservation of cells). Each month the products are shipped directly; the complete suite costs $1,500 but customers can order the products at individual prices after their initial order.
2012 Highlight: Perfecting Autokine-CM and recent study results, said Arnone.
What’s Next: Arnone says PCS will build its participating physician network as it continues R&D related to Autokine-CM. The firm is also looking to build strategic relationships with major companies in the emerging anti-aging market.
Why We’re Watching: U Autologous skin care products were listed on Forbes.com’s Top 10 Fashion and Beauty Startups for 2012 (Nov. 27, 2012). And although potential customers who can afford this expensive regimen account for a small percentage of consumers, there’s no denying the allure of personalization and stem cell science in the skin care industry.


Radiancy’s No! No! Hair removes unwanted hair on the face and body.

Founded: 1998. Radiancy merged with PhotoMedex, Inc. in December 2011.
Names to Know: Dr. Dolev Rafaeli, chief executive officer, and Dennis McGrath, president and CFO
Major Products: No!No! Hair Classic, No!No! Hair Plus, No!No! Hair 8800, No!No! Hair 8800 for Men, No!No! Skin, No!No! Smooth line of skin care products
Stocked At: A multi-tiered strategy that includes Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, Selfridges, Harrods and others; shopping channels such as HSN, QVC UK, QVC Germany, QVC Japan, TVA and The Shopping Channel; direct-to-consumer TV infomercials, and no!no! branded kiosks in Canada, the UK and South America.
Hero Product: No!No! Hair 8800
Newest Launch: No!No! Hair 8800 for Men
Brand Story: Radiancy is a leading developer and manufacturer of home-use and professional aesthetic and dermatological devices, selling a range of devices under its proprietary brand, No!No!, for various indications including hair removal, acne reduction, skin rejuvenation and face lifting. Radiancy also offers a professional product line (sold under the Radiancy name) which addresses acne clearance, skin tightening, skin rejuvenation, psoriasis care and hair removal and are sold to plastic surgeons, dermatologists, physician clinics and spas.

Radiancy’s family of products is based on its proprietary, patent-protected LHE (Light Heat Energy) and Thermicon technologies. The No!No! Hair enlists Thermicon, an innovative technology that uses heat but not light, making it safe for all skin types and hair colors, according to the company. The No!No! Skin unit is billed by the company as the first and only device of its kind to adapt professional acne clearing technology for the home-use market. FDA approved and dermatologists recommended, No!No! Skin uses LHE technology to painlessly stop pimples in their tracks. No!No! Skin tailors this proven technology for consumers everywhere. In an FDA-controlled clinical study, No!No! Skin delivered up to 81% improvement within 24 hours.

According to Dr. Dolev Rafaeli, No!No!’s success can be attributed to its unique technologies and price points, as well as the firm’s commitment to customer satisfaction. “We offer something no other consumer company has—a triple guarantee: take it, use it 60 days and after that, if you aren’t 100% satisfied, send it back in any condition, and we will refund the purchase price, shipping and handling, and pay to ship it back,” he told Happi. “We do this in every market we operate in. That is how much we trust our device.”

2012 Highlight:On Nov. 6, 2012, No!No! Hair broke another beauty sales record when consumers purchased approximately 42,000 units for a total of $10.5 million of retail sales in a 24-hour period on a major television home shopping channel in the US.
Why We’re Watching: PhotoMedex’s revenues in the consumer, physician recurring and professional market (which includes the No!No! brand) have been on a serious upswing. In North America, revenues rose from $3.8 million in 2009 to $91.8 million in 2011. Through Q3 of 2012, revenues had topped $121.5 million. In Europe (including Israel), revenues in 2011 were $9.95 million, and through the three quarters of 2012, revenues had already hit $18.6 million.

“Watch out for medical-grade technology in future introductions from Radiancy, maker of permanent hair removal market leader, No! No!,” said Kline’s Doskow. “As the company has recently joined forces with professional device maker PhotoMedex, chances are we will be seeing products that tackle more than just hair removal in the future.”

University Medical Pharmaceuticals
Names to Know: Ray Francis, founder and CEO, Matt Stevens, vice president of sales and marketing, Greg Hunt, VP of operations
Founded: 1995
Major Products: WrinkleMD
Stocked At: Harrods, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel, New Beauty at Fred Segal, dermatologists and select spas
Hero Product: WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Filler Patch System
Newest Launch: WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Filler Patch System
Brand Story: “WrinkleMD is filling a much needed niche in the marketplace by bridging the gap between traditional creams and serums and cosmetic injections,” said Matt Stevens, VP of sales and marketing
2012 Highlight: The firm successfully launched WrinkleMD at Harrods in April 2012 and quickly became the No. 2 brand out of 60 in the Beauty Apothecary.
What’s Next: Domestic rollout to cosmetic dermatologists and resort spas and international rollout in Brazil, Japan, Russia, Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore, said the company.
Why We’re Watching: The firm says it is experiencing double digit growth month over month.

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