From feet to face: Birkenstock releases skincare line based on cork

Is it possible to transfer the "legendary comfort" of Birkenstock's footbed to a line of cosmetics? The 240-year-old company seems to think so.

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The German shoemaker is taking a major step into the beauty industry with Birkenstock Natural Skin Care after discovering the material it has been using to support feet for more than 240 years has powerful skincare benefits.

The line incorporates at least 20 products using cork oak extract that range in price from $25 to $100. The oils, cleansing gels, moisturizing creams and lip balms stimulate cell renewal, boost the skin's protective barrier and increase moisture, according to the company.

"As the inventor of the footbed, we have a particularly close connection to personal well-being," said Oliver Reichert, CEO of the Birkenstock Group. "Alongside healthy walking, standing, running, and resting, skincare has a considerable influence on our well-being.

Although there are countless skincare products that address some of the same areas, “many of these contain chemical ingredients that may have a negative effect on the defensive properties of the skin and on its ability to regulate moisture balance,” he said.

Birkenstock's venture takes advantage of a shift in the beauty industry from makeup toward skincare. The category, once driven by mature buyers seeking to turn back the clock with serums and anti-aging topicals, now attracts younger people seeking to prevent acne, dullness or fine lines.

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One of the leading cosmetics retailers in the U.S., Ulta Beauty, is feeling the impact of shifting customer demand. Chief Executive Officer Mary Dillon trimmed the retailer's sales forecast in late August as growth in skincare, a smaller part of the firm's business, outpaced cosmetics.

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Birkenstock hired Louise Caldwell to head the "high-growth category" in May. She was previously vice president of sales at Revlon and Elizabeth Arden, and senior vice president of sales at Drunk Elephant.

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FOX Business' Cortney Moore contributed to this report.