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Dyeing to Get it Right

By: Sara Mason
Posted: September 2, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Despite the vibrant colors available, consumers have become selective in choosing natural-looking colors in the right tone. A study by Redken showed that 85% of those looking to change their hair color are looking for a subtle to moderate color change, rather than a dramatic or unusual change. In response, Redken offered its first ammonia-free, one-level lift permanent color cream to salons in June. Shimmer One is a permanent color that uses a chemical process to permanently alter the state of hair, replacing melanin with a dye. Yet, it also has several characteristics of a demi-permanent color, depositing color only on the surface of the hair. Shimmer One lifts the hair from its natural color up one level in the 10-level scale of tonality of natural color. This provides consumers with more natural-looking, longer-lasting color but a less drastic commitment and less visible re-growth. The formulation features Tri-Light Technology, an active complex of luminizing dye molecules for long-lasting color, mango butter to smooth and moisturize, and rice protein to strengthen the hair. “This branded technology is being marketed in all of Redken’s future products to communicate the importance of key active ingredients that help differentiate our products among other brands,” explained Kirsten Marsh, senior director, hair color and texture, U.S. marketing, Redken.

Similarly, L’Oréal Paris introduced its one-level lift Natural Match in the spring. L’Oréal’s Color-Calibrated Technology creates a spectrum of 24 refined ammonia-free, permanent shades that could not be delivered using traditional, nonpermanent technology. In addition, the unique package features a “before” swatch on the front and a convenient mirror on the box to guide consumers in their color selection.

Sensory Benefits

Consumers are looking for more than longer-lasting color and easier-to-use products. “They also desire secondary benefits like improved sensory properties,” said Steve Carbone, marketing manager, polymer systems, Ciba.

Coloring pre-treatments, for example, prepare the hair to optimize color deposition along the hair fiber and at the root area while providing even color coverage from root to tip. “Hair tips usually are porous (caused by environmental damage and excessive styling), and can grab color like a sponge, which leads to uneven color results,” said Clairol’s Neuser. Hydrience Crème Moisturizing System is a three-step system that provides hair with moisturizing protection before, during and after the coloring process to provide even, rich color. “Positively charged conditioning ingredients deposit onto the hair’s surface and help neutralize the negative charge of stressed hair to protect it and keep it moisturized,” explained Neuser. Clairol also has the ColorSeal Gloss Conditioner, featured in its Nice ’n Easy products, to lock in color and impart lasting conditioning properties.

Innovative ingredients and concepts play a significant role in bringing enhanced quality of products to consumers. “The sole purpose of a hair color used to be to deliver the expected color and, as a side benefit, the hair had body and fullness after the process,” explained Hair Systems’ Covey. “Now—in an effort to minimize damage and to help maintain healthy hair—functional proteins, moisturizers, silicones, cationic conditioners and UV protectors are all included in hair color formulations, none of which would be possible without new technology and R&D.”

Burgeoning Markets