By  on May 23, 2008

Just a month after Frédéric Fekkai launched an at-home glaze to boost hair color and add shine, the hairdresser to the stars is unveiling another item associated with color: an at-home hair color kit, one that the company is positioning as the first prestige item of its kind.

Meridith Gray, Fekkai's executive director of marketing, said the kit was not designed to target Fekkai's salon customer. Instead, it targets at-home colorers, who make up 59 percent of the U.S. market, according to a quantitative study through Ipsos-Insight, provided by Procter & Gamble, Fekkai's parent.

"Now they will have a premium opportunity," she said.

Entering select Bloom­ingdale's and Ulta stores in August, Fekkai Salon Color, an at-home permanent hair color kit, introduces several new elements to the color world. For starters, the delivery system of the color — a professional looking brush — aims to make application more precise than traditional bottle systems, complete with a pointed end to carve out hair sections.

Then there's the blending technique, which will instruct consumers to mix solutions in a supplied bowl, as opposed to rigorously shaking contents in a container. The bowl, said executives, was designed to look like an artists' palette, and the brush "gives a much more controlled application," said colorist Tammy Sherman, creative director, Frédéric Fekkai Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

As instructions point out on a brochure tucked inside the white and periwinkle boxes, Sherman advises users to create four sections of hair, two in the front and two in the back, to best reach roots. She added that while the system is quite simple to use, a seven-day-a-week consumer call line will go live at the end of July and will be manned by professional colorists familiar with Fekkai Salon Color. An e-mail address (still to be determined) will also help out with questions. In August, a microsite at fekkai.com will be developed so users can view an instructional video on the color.

The color's formula apparently warrants both a brush and a bowl, since it uses rich ingredients such as olive, illipe and lemongrass butters, making it too thick to squeeze through the small holes of traditional bottles. To soothe the scalp, formulas also include rosemary, lavender, nettle and clove flower extract.The thicker potion, added Sherman, adheres to hair better because of its viscosity. In addition to a formula that executives said improved softness, silkiness and shine by 40 percent in clinical studies, a pre- and post-conditioning treatment is also included in the kit. The pre-treatment contains proteins to target hair ends and dry patches so these areas do not absorb too much color. A post-treatment conditions hair and can be used weekly for about eight weeks. Gloves are also included in the box.

The color, which will sell for $30, could generate between $1 million and $5 million in its first year on shelves, according to industry sources. The kits will be available in 20 different shades and will be merchandised on custom-made shelving units, which have hair swatches for consumers to touch and feel and to make shade selection easy.

The units will also bear the Fekkai logo and the aforementioned Salon Glaze, which retails for $28. Fekkai hair care distribution will carry on as usual at its various retail partners, which include Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.

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