Online Exclusives

A Star Is Born

By Nancy Jeffries | September 26, 2012

Wella Professionals Launches Illumina permanent hair color.

Wella Professionals let down its hair with a festive launch in the town where glamour reigns supreme, Hollywood, California. On September 19, the Wella Professionals team welcomed the press into its world of color and placed the spotlight on Illumina, its latest advancement in permanent hair color, said to be Wella Professionals’ biggest innovation in 20 years.
In what was dubbed a Day of Enlightenment, Wella Professionals, a salon professional brand for more than 130 years, introduced Illumina, a premium professional permanent color claimed to leave hair closer to virgin hair, while creating luminosity with enhanced light reflection. In addition, the new line, which joins a portfolio featuring Koleston Perfect, Color Touch, and Blondor, is designed to deliver a glossy glow for women who prefer a more subtle, translucent color versus a rich, opaque result. The new range offers 20 shades of sheer, natural-looking tones, which give hair luminosity, permanent coverage results, including 100% gray coverage, and will not compromise the look and feel of the hair.

The Wella Professionals Experts

According to Fabio Sementilli, Creative Director Wella Corporation, The Professional Salon Division of P&G, and a stylist and educator for 25 years, “Wella has come out with many firsts, from the first cream color, to its more than 2 million stylists, and their 90 million clients.” While he said that Wella Professionals is all about the end consumer, he also noted the important role that stylists play in the industry. “We’ve got a huge global company and we’ve got to stay on top,” said Sementilli, discussing the changes that have occurred over the last 12 years. He noted that Wella has come to really understand the market. With two labs in Darmstadt, another in Cincinnati, and an R&D professional studio in New York City, Wella Professionals is well-positioned to listen to their global consumers and develop the technologies to satisfy them.
“In the end, it comes down to the consumer,” said Sementilli. With 87% of women feeling that their hair is important to their overall appearance, one of two believing their hair is an accessory, and 72% feeling their color makes them feel more attractive, developing a color technology that answered the consumers’ desire for natural looking and feeling hair has been a high priority for the brand.
According to Paula Rufo, Wella Education Associate Manager, and a colorist and stylist for more than 20 years, who also worked in Research & Development at P&G for seven years, “Illumina’s technology is five years in the making, has been tested by 15,000 stylists worldwide, and has been shown to deliver color that looks like it was lit from within.” Wella’s Sementilli ascribed the results, claimed to feature characteristics of virgin, or childlike hair, to a technological turning point based on patented Advanced Microlight™ Technology, which makes it soft in feel as well as offers translucency.
The outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, is transparent like fingernails, and the condition of the hair cuticle is important in allowing light to pass through and see the real color tones within. Impurities, such as tiny metals or particles of copper, are left as a residue from water as you wash the hair and can stick to the cuticles. These can form free radicals during the coloring process and in turn, cause damage to the cuticle surface. On a rough cuticle, rays of light become diffused, creating less reflection and luminosity.
Illumina’s Color Advanced Microlight™ technology contains millions of micro-particles that encapsulate the tiny metals and free radicals left on the hair, attracting them with a special chelator, which protects the cuticles and enables them to maintain their clarity. The cuticles are then left smooth and clear, which allows light to pass through and illuminates natural highs and lows from within, in any kind of light. The result is enhanced light reflection and hair protection. Sementilli describes it as an action that allows the cuticle to lay flat, almost like a window, so there is a glow from within the hair, illuminating from within, that interacts with the surface light.
Paula Rufo noted, “Sixty-two percent of women don’t color their hair for fear of damage and many of them use demi-permanent color. After you color your hair with Illumina you won’t be able to tell the difference between your virgin hair and your colored hair.” Dean Roybal, Wella Professionals Stylist, educator, and co-owner of Planet Salon, likened the results to a watercolor painting, and noted that stylists had described the shine component as looking like the light was dancing on the hair. Roybal, who looks at clients’ hair as a canvas when determining their needs in consultation, said, “Where Koleston Perfect is the opaque oil painting, Illumina is the watercolor. It leaves luminous, sheer color, and leaves hair in a virgin state. It can also be used as a gloss, permanent color for gloss, and for lift of color.” Roybal, who has been using the color in his salon for the past six-seven months, says, “It has raised the bar in creativity, feels great, and smells great.” It will officially launch and roll out to salons in January 2013.
Natural, Luminous, and Celebratory

According to Wella Professionals creating the luminosity in Illumina took its cues from virtual animation companies in the film industry. Scientists at Wella Professionals employed the same software technologies used by companies like Pixar to learn what makes hair luminous from within. According to Maria Castan, Scientific Communications for Wella Professionals, “Virtual animation companies have created the most complex software technologies that are able to reproduce, perfect, and improve the beauty of ‘reality.’ Similarly, we have brought luminosity in colored hair to the next level of naturalness, perfection, and beauty.” Harnessing the technology is said to have enabled scientists to better understand the physical structure of the hair itself and produce ultra-realistic renderings that led to the invention of innovative formulas and ultimately a new generation of color.
Celebrities on board with Illumina color include January Jones, of Mad Men, who appeared at the recent Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, sporting Illumina color; as well as Rebecca Romijn, actress and Wella spokesperson. The Hollywood buzz attests to the new Illumina as a “game changer,” and stylists who have been using the color note the healthy and natural color results. To maintain the healthy look, feel, and shine of the hair when clients leave the salon, Wella Professionals offers the Brilliance™ regimen, specially designed to protect the hair and its color.
The Brilliance™ Collection by Wella Professionals, includes Brilliance™ Shampoo, for coarse and colored hair, or fine to normal colored hair; Brilliance™ Conditioner, for coarse, colored hair; as well as for fine to normal colored hair; Brilliance™ Treatment, for coarse, colored hair; and Brilliance™ Treatment, for fine to normal colored hair. The collection also includes Brilliance™ Color Protection Serum, Brilliance™ Leave-In Balm, for long, colored hair; and Brilliance™ Leave-In Mousse for colored hair.

Hollywood was clearly the place to launch the new color, where stylists, educators, and celebrities alike could showcase the product among the sunlit hills of southern California. In a launch dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Rooftop, Reuben Carranza, CEO, Wella Salon Professionals, announced the high performance color line to the press, saying, “We believe that what you saw today is the birth of a new color. It says what it does, and it does what it says.” The roll out to salons is slated for January 2013.

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