L’Oreal builds on the legacy of hair color with new products for home use and salons
More than 110 years after introducing the first hair color in the United States and 50 years after introducing the first home hair color, L’Oreal Paris today announced two new technology-driven products, each seven years in the making.
L’Oréal has the longest hair dye legacy and dominates the $ 10 billion industry. A century later, the company builds on its leadership in hair coloring by transforming the industry with groundbreaking innovations based on cutting-edge technology and precise formulation.
Colorsonic, a lightweight handheld device, answers one of the biggest complaints from consumers who dye their hair at home by cleaning up the clutter. The device mixes the hair color and applies it evenly for consistent results at home.
For salons, L’Oreal launches an AR-linked hair coloring system that uses virtual try-on to project shades and an algorithm that offers hair color in more than 1,500 custom options.
“When you look at the hair color field, there has been all sorts of innovations in terms of the formulas, but there has been very little about how to do the application at home,” said Guive Balooch, director of L’Oréal Technology Incubator all in one Interview. “The challenge and barrier was the fear of the process which involves mixing the paint, the mess and the gloves you have to use.”
In the end, the color can get stained after all the effort, Balooch said, adding, “These are the problems that we wanted Colorsonic to solve. The technology was invented entirely in-house. She has over 15 patents. “
“L’Oréal’s BeautyTech leadership enables us to push the boundaries of technology multiplied by science to create breakthroughs in more personalized, inclusive and sustainable beauty experiences,” said Barbara Lavernos, deputy CEO, research, innovation and technology.
The Colorsonic device works with a cardboard cartridge of hair color, which consumers buy separately and are available in 40 shades. In the Colorsonic, the cartridge is mixed and the perfect dosage and amount of hair color is dispensed from an oscillating nozzle made of bristles that move in a zigzag pattern to distribute them evenly on the hair.
“It can be applied evenly and smoothly to curly hair, straight hair, long or short hair,” says Balooch siad. “We tested it on over 400 people in five years. It takes the process of coloring your hair and makes it super easy. There’s no mess, no stains, it’s clean, and you use the entire formula. The device also saves unused formulas with which you can mend the roots. “
For four years, the French beauty giant developed the cartridge that is completely recyclable. Compared to a regular box of hair color, there is 54 percent less plastic and because there is no mess, reusable gloves can be used, saving up to 23 tons of gloves with the technology, Balooch said.
Balooch came close to saying that Colorsonic will make box hair color obsolete. “This technology is sold in the same locations as the hair dye box kits, but at a price that people can buy at a mass-market retailer like Target.”
“The cartridge system will be of a higher quality,” said Balooch. “When we end up seeing people adopt it, that’s a good thing because the formula inside the device is one of the best formulas you can imagine from our company, the best shades of anomaly-free bright colors. If over time we see that people love the tool, then there is hope that it will keep growing. “
When the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the temporary closings of many salons, the home hair color business grew 6%, according to L’Oreal. During this time, more and more consumers were experiencing the challenges of a hair coloring process at home that had remained virtually unchanged for decades, particularly the clutter of hair dye and the difficulty of applying hair color to hard-to-reach areas.
Not only is L’Oreal transforming the hair coloring experience at home, it’s rolling out a system for hair salons in 2023. The beauty company is launching Coloright, an AR-linked hair coloring system for salon stylists that creates needs-based, individual hair colors.
It puts innovation in the hands of professional colorists and customizes the hair coloring experience in the salon. Driven by a patented algorithm, Coloright offers more precise color tones. The device has a reader that analyzes the client’s hair and measures factors that affect the effectiveness of the color, including hair color, gray level, length and density.
The dispenser contains drying pearls consisting of hair dye, accompanied by cartridges with base creams, developers and thinners. Together, these dosed components result in a personalized recipe for the hair color. The ultra-precise machine doses all components of the formula with more than 1,500 individual color options.
“The challenge for people who go to the salon isn’t the clutter or the time, it’s making sure I get the right color every time,” Balooch said. “If I move to another salon or city, they have hair color history data for my hair so I can get the right color, and that doesn’t exist today. We created this system that enables colorists to apply color in the most effective way and gives people a data-driven experience with their hair color.
Coloright, which has an advanced look, takes a picture of the inside of your hair which goes into a tray that the hair colorist uses. The tablet with augmented reality functions shows customers what the paint will look like before it is applied. “The stylist then does her artistry and applies the perfect hair color. It’s a complete digitization of the salon, ”said Balooch.
Salons have several options for using Coloright. The machine can be used with L’Oreal formulas, or salons can opt for a “lighter version” of just the tablet and a reader that will give them the recipes of the current formulas they have on hand.
“We tried to make it as agile as possible,” said Balooch. “Salons don’t have to get the fully personalized formulas. The algorithm can work in two ways, it can give you the perfect shade from 1,500 options, or it can give you a recipe for the current brand you have in your salon. “
Both Colorsonic and Coloright will hit the market in 2023. “You’re basically reinventing the way you apply hair color,” Balooch said.