Utah-based City Lips has launched a range of eight colour-pigmented versions of its best-selling clear lip plumping cosmetic treatment, which the company claims increases the size of a person's lips in as little as 30 days by naturally stimulating them to produce their own collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Company co-founder Marie Taylor worked for a number of years for three of the largest cosmetics companies where she progressed from make-up artist to assisting with product development. "That's how I came up with the idea of developing this product," she told CosmeticsDesign.
"My own small lips were a motivator," she said, "but many other women that I spoke with in the course of my work also expressed a need for an alternative to injections."
Taylor insists she cannot take credit for the product herself, "I have a great chemist," she explained. In fact City Lips currently has a team of about 50 people in involved in cosmetics research and development.
Initially, she brought together a team of researchers and her scientists told her that ingredients were available that could have the effect she desired. In fact, some of them were already familiar with the patented technology through their earlier work with the company that developed it.
Taylor said that the original City Lips Collagen Lip Plumping Treatment took eight months and more than 60 formula revisions before it was ready to bring to market.
"This is a complete lip therapy product," claimed City Lips in its press statement, "not only will it plump your lips, it hydrates them, can eliminate lip wrinkles and fine lines, instantly smoothes and softens, protects the lips, is painless and safer than collagen injections (and less expensive) and can be used by men and women."
It uses oligopeptide technology, which promotes collagen production, increases skin elasticity, smooths and prevents damage from UV rays and chemical stress, and hydrates the lips. It also contains an amino acid blend, the patent protected Celadrol, ingredient.
City Lips said that Celadrol was a proven anti-inflammatory that could protect the lips from free radical damage and increased skin elasticity. Celadrol helped draw healthy nutrients and fluid to the lips while also stopping the inflammatory cascade, which, according to the company, could lead to cellular damage and wrinkle formation in the lips. It also helped cells communicate properly one with another (faulty signals between cells inhibit cellular turnover and could cause premature signs of ageing including skin and tissue damage).
The company's latest innovation arose from customer demands. "Customers kept contacting us, telling us how much they loved the product, and asking us to introduce a range of colours," said Taylor.
The result is an initial brand extension to include a range of eight mica-base pigmented versions of the original product. Asked whether City Lips would keep the eight colours as standard or introduce new colours every season, Taylor replied: "This is a bit of a test run, so we'll see how it goes, but we hope to introduce holiday and limited edition colours."
Taylor hoped to emulate the commercial success of the original version, which has proved extremely successful. Although she refused to be drawn on the finances, she confirmed that the initial research and development costs relating to City Lips Collagen Lip Plumping Treatment had already been recouped.
"It's been incredible and overwhelming," said Taylor, "we invested a lot of money and it has been a commercial success, but at the same time we have tried to keep the product affordable."
The lip treatment is currently available through Sephora stores in the US and Kicks in Sweden but she confirmed that City Lips intends to launch it throughout Europe by the autumn. Taylor also told CosmeticsDesign that the company is in the final stages of developing other products that should be ready for launch in the autumn, later this year.