By  on August 17, 2011

Kérastase’s newest professional treatment promises women that when they leave the salon their hair will be transformed. Guaranteed.

The new proposition, Fusio-Dose, is just one in a series of back-half-of-the-year efforts (others include new products, a short film documenting Fusio-Dose’s efficacy and a partnership with uberstylist Odile Gilbert) to get the luxury brand to outperform the market, which is flat to slightly up.

“The market in the professional business has been softer than some other categories, and in 2010 the market had very moderate growth [of about 2 percent] and we were in line with the market,” said Leslie Marino, general manager, L’Oréal Prestige Professional Brands. “In 2011, if you look at luxury skin and beauty, the growth is double digit, but on the professional side the growth is not the same and the total professional business is flat or slightly up. However, we are outpacing the market with Kérastase, and we anticipate with our new launches for our growth to accelerate in the fourth quarter.” Almost one-third of Kérastase’s business is from sales of its Nutritive line for dry hair, known widely as “the orange line.”

Crafted by a stylist to treat a client’s primary and secondary hair needs — from hydration to shine — Fusio-Dose blends concentrated active ingredients, depending on the hair concern, to treat them. To help stylists select the best Fusio-Dose blend, they are armed with a diagnostic camera to magnify hair up to 600 times during the consultation process, allowing them to see the condition of the scalp and hair. The camera also allows clients to see the difference in their hair before and after a treatment.

“It helps validate what we are talking about here. People can be very visual,” said Molly Dufner, associate vice president of integrated marketing, L’Oréal Prestige Professional Brands. Once a blend is identified, it’s sprayed onto hair, massaged and rinsed.

For hair with more than two levels of erosion (Kérastase identifies up to four levels of erosion on hair strands, with one level being the least damaged and four levels being the most damaged), Marino said heat styling aid Ciment Thermique, within the Resistance range, should be used on wet hair and then blown dry. To repair ends, a new serum within Resistance, Fibre Architecte ($42, available in October), should be applied on the ends of dry hair and finished with a flatiron. Fibre Architecte uses ciment-cyclane complex, a technology to help bind split ends, one that has since only been available in salons, said Julien Bouzitat, vice president of marketing, L’Oréal Prestige Professional Brands.

Fibre Architecte joins a revamped Resistance range, which includes a newly formulated shampoo and conditioner, as well as a new masque, along with Ciment Thermique.

“Resistance is a key product category. It will make a huge impact on your hair. It will help reverse the erosion scale by two,” said Bouzitat.

Each client is also prescribed at-home products to continue their hair transformation.

Fusio-Dose treatment with two boosters to target both primary and secondary hair needs has a suggested retail price of $30.

Kérastase’s Marino said the brand is working with salons to host “treatment nights” where clients can experience the full hair-transformation journey.

“We are the only professional luxury brand that has a very strong ritual treatment business. That’s because they really work. The impact on the hair is immediate. It really starts from there, followed by product recommendations,” Marino said.

To help potential clients visualize Kérastase’s effects, the brand filmed model Hanne Gaby Odiele during the New York Fashion Week for fall 2011, where Odiele walked in 20 shows over seven days. The 4-minute-and-30-second short documentary showed Odiele’s hair being pulled, steamed, ironed, sleeked and teased, as well as damaged when hair extensions were removed from her head. After the week, Odiele visited Manhattan’s Butterfly Studio Salon and received a Fusio-Dose treatment made for her hair needs, as well as a home-regimen prescription. Subsequent footage shows how her hair transformed. The film will make its debut on hairstranformation.com during fashion week.

“We want to bring to life what we talk about all the time, the instant visual result. If you don’t know Kérastase, it sounds like a really big promise,” said Dufner.

And on the topic of fashion week, Kérastase has an agreement to partner exclusively with Gilbert for the next three seasons, including for the Jason Wu and Rodarte shows in September.

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