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NEW YORK — Hairstylist Masood Max is out to revolutionize even the most mundane hairstyling tools.
This story first appeared in the August 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Two years ago, he started marketing a multifunction hair straightener with tiny pins that detangled hair while smoothing, eliminating the blow-drying process. The tool also has a water reservoir so a user could moisturize her hair to offset the drying effects of straightening. To date, Max is edging close to selling one million units of the straighteners marketed under the Maxius Maxiglide name on HSN, beauty stores and specialty retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, and on his own infomercial.
Now he’s tackling rollers and blow-dryers and hoping that as he builds an empire of items, he’ll pique the interest of the mass market. Although his products are developed and tested in salons, his vision is to bring them to the masses, too.
His innovation in rollers should catch retail interest in a category difficult to merchandise and turn profits. “You need to have more than 250 rollers and you don’t get a big ticket for them,” said Max, discussing the return on space allocated to curlers.
With his patented rollers called AdjustaCurl, retailers need to stock only one box since the rollers unfurl to a flat position. When rolled, they adjust from one-and-a-quarter inches to 4 inches and can be even larger by hooking two together. The patented rollers have a Velcro-like substance so they can be made to any size. Special ionic technology reduces the static sometimes associated with soft rollers. AdjustaCurl has already bowed with successful pickup on HSN. He’s also working on unique applications for heated rollers.
As far as blow-dryers, Max wanted an ergonomic and lighter model than currently available, but one that had the power associated with AC motors. The result is Maxair, a compact dryer with specialized ridges to reduce heat but aid in comfort. The dryer features all-around rubber that helps reduce the vibrations associated with holding blow-dryers and it is perfectly balanced to cradle easily in the hand.
As he was researching dryers, information emerged about ions and disadvantages with some hair types and positions where the dryer is directed. To that end, his dryer has IOD — ion on demand — and a switch can turn the ions on and off depending on hair type and need.
These items join a line of liquid products including a new Rootlifter to be used to add volume and texture at the roots as well as shampoo and conditioner formulated for multiple levels of cleansing. The shampoo and conditioner are called Ondemand and can be used in different time intervals to achieve different functions. For example, for intense cleaning, the shampoo can be left on for up to five minutes; deep conditioning can be achieved by using the formula longer. In total, the Maxius collection has more than 20 hair care liquids such as The End and Beyond Straight. The next step will be to conquer the body with unique body washes, Max added.
Also, Max has just relaunched his straightener, Maxiglide, to include improvements in the handle, a 45-minute auto shutoff and a swivel cord. There is the Maxiglide XP with 2-inch plates and MP with one-and-a-quarter-inch plates.
Max said there are six major classifications of hair tools — blow-dryers, curling irons, rollers, brushes, flatirons and heated rollers. He is out to improve the status quo for each. In addition to improving heated rollers, he’s been working on a prototype for a breakthrough brush for more than three years. “I get a little obsessed with this,” the former engineer admitted. Max got his start in the business working on celebrities such as Heather Locklear and branched into developing products to solve the challenges he saw in styling hair, especially for the long holding needed for television.
Another beauty expert to the stars, Timothy Alan, is hoping his celebrity experience can help nab distribution for his line of makeup brushes. Alan also foresees an opportunity to create a line of proprietary products that could be sold at major mass merchants. Alan is a makeup artist with clients such as Jo Frost of Super Nanny and creator of a new line of makeup brushes called Chrysalis Beauty. While many celebrity stylists opt for color or skin care, Alan is zeroing in on brushes and the importance of the right tools for the right job.
He typically picks up new brush ideas in his travels and his latest creation is a brush designed to work exclusively with the bevy of mineral makeup options. He has an existing collection of nine brushes available at retailers such as Henri Bendel and Blue Mercury. Like Max, he wants to see all shoppers have the option to buy quality products. “I think it is important that consumers get their hands on good brushes and learn that not all brushes are the same,” said Alan.