Bare Escentuals Spawns Lower-Priced Copycats

Avon and Jane cosmetics will be the next beauty makers to jump on the mineral makeup bandwagon, a new category started by the rapidly growing niche manufacturer Bare Escentuals.

The San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals has recently seen larger manufacturers offering copycat versions of its key product, BareMinerals, a powder-form foundation made without talc and preservatives, but with crushed minerals.

Avon's new mineral-based foundation, called Smooth Mineral Makeup, is also touted as being made from "100% pure minerals" and free of fillers, but will retail for $10 for the SPF 15 foundation and makeup brush. Bare Escentuals, by contrast, sells an introductory kit of two foundation colors, Mineral Veil (which seems similar to a translucent powder), a blush-like product, and three makeup brushes for $60.

Bear Stearns analyst Justin Hott said in a research report that for Avon "it's a positive sign of improved focus on the consumer and fast innovation."

Jane's launch, due to hit store shelves in January, will at entry be a more comprehensive line than Avon's and other similar entries from Physicians Formula, L'Oreal, and Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena brand.



Jane's brand, called Jane Be Pure, will initially consist of 11 mineral foundation and "powder" items. Other items, such as mineral eyeshadows and blushes, are expected out in April, and all products will retail for under $7.

Bare Escentuals, meanwhile, has gone from sales of $65 million in 2002 to $259 million last year, spurring on competitors by selling its products on QVC, in 30 stand-alone stores, and in Sephora.

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