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Since the 1970s, BioCosmetic Research Labs has led a quiet existence in Long Island City, N.Y., as a contract manufacturer of department store makeup lines.

Until now.

In the past two years, the private label specialist has come out of the eye shadows with a wildly successful retail line of its own, Black Opal.

Designed by a dermatologist to treat the special skin problems of black women, the Black Opal line boosted BioCosmetic's revenue by more than $2 million in 1993-the line's first year on the market. The product successfully gained entry to more than 10,000 health and beauty retail outlets, including Wal-Mart Stores, Woolworth Corp. and Duane Read.

Now the company expects to see total sales double to $18 million this year on the strength of a new item aimed at black men.

The new Black Opal for Men line will be launched this fall with a $2 million TV and print ad campaign, starring Minnesota Vikings quarterback Warren Moon.

Agency Goldberg Group, New York, focused its efforts on giving the product a contemporary and upscale image.

Ms. Gault is a reporter for Crain's New York Business.

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