By  on February 1, 2008

PARIS — With L'Oréal Professionnel Homme, the French beauty giant wants to grab the top spot in the professional men's hair care segment within three years.

Targeting guys aged 20 to 50-plus, the premium line's 14 units include four hair care products and four styling items, plus a six-unit color collection, all available exclusively in hair salons. L'Oréal Professionnel Homme, the brand's first hair care line for men, just bowed in France and will be rolled out elsewhere in Europe starting this month.

Sources estimate the collection will generate first-year retail sales of 10 million euros, or $14.8 million at current exchange, in France, where L'Oréal aims to be in 7,000 salon doors by yearend.

While men represent half of salon clientele in France, they spend less than women because there aren't as many products and services tailored to them, said Christophe Leguay, international marketing director for L'Oréal Professionnel.

"They usually have a cut, a little head massage, and they buy a shampoo or a styling product," he said. "We needed to develop a real service to increase salons' business with men and answer men's needs."

L'Oréal Professionnel Homme's key product, targeting guys aged 35 to 55, is Cover 5, a semipermanent color billed to make gray less visible in five minutes. "Men don't want to spend lots of time in salons, in front of people, being pampered," explained Leguay.

Cover 5, based on a technology dubbed Chrono-blend, includes ammonia-free dye and L'Oréal's patented fiber Incell to strengthen hair cuticles. There are six shades, ranging from blonde to black, and one treatment costs 10 euros, or $14.80.

There are also four shampoos, at 10 euros, or $14.80, per 250-ml. bottle, including Densité for Thinning Hair, Controle for Rebellious Hair, Tonique for Normal Hair and Purété Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. The styling lineup includes a 150-ml. tube of Wet Look Effect Gel, a 150-ml. tube of Strong Gel, a 50-ml. jar of wax and a 150-ml. jar of Sculpting Fibre Paste. Prices for these run from 12 euros to 13.50 euros, or $17.70 to $20, apiece.For the new line, visuals of three men photographed in Paris will be featured at points of sale and in print ads in professional press. The brand's Web site will go live mid-February.

L'Oréal Professionnel Homme is to bow in Italy and Spain this month and elsewhere in Europe in March. Its U.S. debut is slated for 2009.

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