By  on March 19, 2010

Kérastase, L’Oréal Professional Products Division’s most prestige hair care brand, has created a new treatment aimed at restoring all types of hair to their original — undamaged — states.

Chronologiste Essential Restorative Concentrate, both a luxury in-salon treatment and a two-item retail range, will be offered in about 200 doors beginning this week, less than half of the salons that carry Kérastase. The brand’s overall distribution remains tight and selective, as it is sold in less than 1 percent of total U.S. salons — or about 1,080 doors in 2009.

Chronologiste carries price points higher than Kérastase’s usual ceiling breakers — caviar-inspired hair pearls and a mask, meant to be mixed together in a special bowl, will sell for $145. The in-salon treatment will cost $60. Typically, Kérastase stock-keeping units average around $32 to $36 for shampoos and $60 for masks, and in-salon treatments cost about $35.

Apparently, it was time to address Kérastase’s luxury roots.

“After a year of helping salons animate the brand, it was time to make a bold move and remind the industry we are the luxury standard,” said Shane Wolf, vice president of Prestige Professional Brands, a unit within LPPD. He added that while Chronologiste is meant for all hair types, it works particularly well on dry, weakened, color-treated and highlighted hair, as well as tight scalps.

Indeed, Kérastase’s number-one objective this year is to drive treatment sales. “Last year was a game changer for sure,” said Wolf in regard to the challenging salon environment.

Chronologiste’s hefty price can be justified due to its expensive ingredients, said Wolf. The pearls, which mimic the structure of caviar, are packaged in Pacific seawater to protect the ingredients found within them, which include squalene and vitamins A and E. The mask contains bisabolol, a synthetic molecule to soothe and heal the scalp; glucolipids to restore nutrients; a silicone concentrate for shine, and ceramides to regenerate hair fiber.

Elements in the pearls kept formulators from packaging them in with the mask.

“Not all ingredients live together nicely in a bottle. This is a two-component system,” said Wolf.

To encourage consumers to try out Chronologiste, for a limited time, the in-salon service and the retail items will sell for $175. Champagne and caviar will be served during the treatment, too. Chronologiste rolls out this week to salons, such as Gemini 14 located on 135 West 14th Street in New York.

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