Features

A Colorful History

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | January 18, 2013

For 50 years, chemists have searched for a formula that provides complete coverage, yet still remains gentle to the hair.

Back in the November 1975 issue of Happi, we asked industry experts what one improvement in hair care products is most needed? Frank J. Ligouri, VP-sales, professional division, LaMaur, Inc., gave us three:

“My ideal ‘dream of tomorrow’ product is really three. I’d want a hair coloring product that would cover gray hair completely with non-peroxide color. Just pour over the hair…and that’s it. It would correct split ends at the same time. Then, I think a hair curling product which would provide a permanent set (to a point decided upon) would be great. Lastly, although the permanent wave of today does the minimum of damage to the hair as compared to a decade ago, I still feel it could be milder.”

Nearly 40 years later, cosmetic chemists are still trying to make Ligouri’s dream a reality. 


A Little History

Although the concept of hair dye goes back to Antiquity, the modern hair color era began in 1907, when French chemist Eugene Paul Louis Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, invented the first safe commercial hair color. His invention was based on paraphenylenediamine (PPD)—a chemistry that continues to dominate the segment.

“PPD has been the major ingredient in permanent color for decades,” said Harvey Fishman, an industry consultant and Happi columnist who worked on hair color formulas for companies such as Revlon, Turner Hall, Nestle LaMaur and Bonat. “By the 1960s, we were working on semi-permanent colors that washed out after a few shampoos.”

Today, according to some estimates, more than 60% of women in the US color their hair, as do a growing number of men. In fact, SymphonyIRI estimates the US mass market for hair color tops $1.7 billion (see chart), while salon hair color sales are growing about 2.7% to reach $750 million, according to Euromonitor International.






























“Clairol really helped create the category in the US. The brand’s ‘Does she… or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure”’ advertising campaign,” recalled Fishman. 

Does she or doesn’t she…? Clairol’s asked that question for decades.
In fact, according to Clairol’s website, within six years of the campaign’s debut, 70% of all adult women were coloring their hair, and Clairol’s sales increased fourfold. In 1965, which just happed to be Happi’s first full year of distribution, Clairol launched Nice ‘n Easy, which was billed as the first shampoo-in hair color. Nice ‘n Easy had a catchy slogan of its own, “The closer he gets, the better you look.”

L’Oréal’s Leadership

Clairol may have defined hair color marketing, but L’Oréal created much of the color chemistry and is the category leader today. The company is credited with developing the first single-process hair color, the level system, the first crème developer and, by 1974, the first liquid-to-gel emulsion hair color. L’Oréal Professionel followed that introduction up the following year with Majirel, the first cream hair color containing Ionéne, a novel conditioning molecule and, in 1997, Majlmeches, the first ammonia-free highlighting cream. L’Oréal keeps delivering what consumers want in hair color. In fact, L’Oréal Preference has been voted the No. 1 at-home hair color for three years in a row by Allure readers.

Showing Its Age

And yet, despite all the innovation, Victoria Gustafson, principal, strategic insights, SymphonyIRI, described the hair color category as one that was dormant. But just prior to The Great Recession, innovation began to take hold as chemists developed advanced technology to deliver color quickly to hair, as witnessed by Clairol’s launch of Nice ‘n Easy Color Intense.


L’Oréal is the dominant player in the US hair color market with brands such as Preference.
“We also saw an influx of natural ingredients led by L’Oréal and Garnier,”recalled Gustafson.
 
“Consumers wanted to get away from the ammonia smell.” 

More recently, John Frieda, a Kao Corp. brand, gave the world Precision Foam Colour. Since its debut nearly every marketer has rolled out foam variants, which promise better coverage with no drips. Still, foam hasn’t provided the lift and hair color sales continue to decline. 

“Men’s products gave a boost to the segment about six years ago, but the category never really took off,” noted Gustafson.
 

Hair Today

More bad news for the at-home category appears to be in the cards. Ironically, as the population ages in the US and around the world, women are actually aging out of the mass hair color category, according to Gustafson.

“By the time, a woman reaches 70, she either opts to go natural or she makes the decision to use serious color and goes to the salon.”

And when they arrive at the salon, today’s consumer comes armed with plenty of information about products and their ingredients, according to Mariacristina Castan, a member of the Clairol Professional R&D team.


Kao’s John Frieda brand started the foaming trend in the US.
“It’s not just about covering gray, it’s about imparting intense color with tonality and minimizing damage from hydrogen peroxide.”

To achieve that color with minimal damage, Clairol Professional formulas contain lipids and conditioning agents to make sure treated hair gets the care it needs. Clairol chemists recently found that EDDS ligands have a strong preference for copper ions and are effective in suppressing radical chemistry under realistic hair coloring conditions. 

At the recent SCC annual meeting, Kazim Raza Naqvi of the University of York, explained that EDDS can be used as a tool for controlling the formation of radical species in a coloring system to reduce hair fiber damage.

Aside from color, Clairol Professional is committed to caring for color-treated hair as witnessed by the recent launch of the Care & Styling collection. The line includes shampoos, conditioners and styling products that all feature Radailux technology to target areas where extra care is needed for color-treated hair.

Color and care. We’re betting that formulators will continue to search for that winning combination for the next 50 years.

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Electric Slide

    Electric Slide

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||February 3, 2016
    Skin care devices bring anti-aging to the next level

  • Crowning Glory

    Crowning Glory

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||February 3, 2016
    Celebrity stylists and experts from leading hair care brands talk about the ingredients and formats driving the styling sector.

  • Innovation On Display

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||February 3, 2016
    P&G Beauty Digital Studio showcases new products for 2016

  • Testing for Sustainable Preservatives

    Adam P. Byrne, William Michael Hart-Cooper, Kaj Johnson, Larry H. Stanker, Dominic W. S. Wong, William J. Orts||January 4, 2016
    A rapid, inexpensive and qualitative protocol for determining microbial growth inhibition.

  • Burgeoning Beauty

    Burgeoning Beauty

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    A look at trailblazers for 2016 and beyond.

  • Looking Great, Even at 70!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 4, 2016
    The Society of Cosmetic Chemists marked its 70th anniversary during the annual meeting in New York last month.

  • It’s All About Teamwork

    It’s All About Teamwork

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    Collaboration was the theme of the Consumer Specialty Products Association 2015 annual meeting.

  • Making Sense of Smells

    Making Sense of Smells

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 1, 2016
    Household product perfumery is more complex than ever, with a variety of notes obtained from many different sources.

  • Pod Nation

    Pod Nation

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 1, 2016
    Laundry detergent sales remain steady, but where consumers are spending their money and how they’re cleaning clothes is chan

  • Innovator to the End

    Innovator to the End

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 2, 2015
    After nearly 40 years in the industry, Kevin Gallagher is set to retire from Croda.

  • In-Cosmetics Paris Has Sights on US

    In-Cosmetics Paris Has Sights on US

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||December 2, 2015
    Market focus is on the USA.

  • Actives, Not Words

    Actives, Not Words

    Tom Branna , Editorial Director||December 2, 2015
    Today’s active skin care ingredients provide a host of benefits to the skin.

  • Silent Partners

    Silent Partners

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 2, 2015
    I&I suppliers are behind-the-scenes, but critical partners that help keep businesses running and consumers safe.

  • Cleansing Conditioners

    Cleansing Conditioners

    Denise Costrini and Christophe Toumit , Croda Personal Care North America||December 2, 2015
    Relying on consumer data, Croda researchers detail the drivers behind these successful formulas.

  • Trading Up

    Trading Up

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||December 2, 2015
    Today’s shampoos & conditioners feature indulgent ingredients.

  • Just Wild About Harry’s Cosmeticology

    Just Wild About Harry’s Cosmeticology

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2015
    The ninth edition, edited by Meyer Rosen, has been expanded and improved with an emphasis on the future of the industry.

  • Lush Is Flush with Novel Ideas

    Lush Is Flush with Novel Ideas

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2015
    New products are the lifeblood of every company. Lush will launch more than 200 of them.

  • Davids and Goliaths

    Davids and Goliaths

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 2, 2015
    Big brands dominate the oral care category, but a cadre of smaller players vie for customers looking for alternatives.

  • What Do You Mean by Clean?

    What Do You Mean by Clean?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2015
    Household cleaning has undergone many changes over the years and more are on the way, as suppliers develop novel ingredients.

  • Falling Ahead

    Falling Ahead

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 2, 2015
    Juice sales have been driving growth as the fine fragrance category heads into the holiday season.

  • A Fresh Take

    A Fresh Take

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2015
    Today’s soaps and shower products do more than just cleanse—they solve skin quandaries, are portable or even look whimsical!

  • Beauty Connection: a Platform for the Future

    Beauty Connection: a Platform for the Future

    November 2, 2015
    Happi spoke to Frédéric Boned, senior director global marketing and innovation for personal care at DSM, and David Paxton, global consumer and market insight manager, about the company’s new Beauty Connection platform and how market and consumer insights are incorporated into DSM’s innovation strategy.

  • Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    October 1, 2015
    Our directory is your source to find a manufacturer to get your product to market.

  • Winner Unmasked

    Winner Unmasked

    October 1, 2015
    Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask takes home top honors as Happi’s first Anti-Aging Product of the Year.

  • A Design for Living

    A Design for Living

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 1, 2015
    Cornell McBride Sr. has had a range of successes during his 40-plus years in the hair care business.