Problem-solution hair brand Living Proof, which has built a following based on targeting and reversing specific hair issues like frizz and strand thinness, is aiming to be a bit more universal — and multitasking. It’s newest offering, Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment, unites a pair of exclusive Living Proof molecules for a dose of smoothness and volume, two usually incompatible results. “It’s the first time we’ve been able to combine both of our proprietary molecules into one formula,” said Jill Beraud, chief executive officer of Living Proof. “We believe that the PHD franchise will be one of our most universally appealing products to date as it is a combination of both treatment and styling benefits.
This story first appeared in the September 6, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Styling Treatment features OFPMA, a molecule utilized in Living Proof No Frizz and Restore for smoothness and shine, paired with PBAE, a hair-thickening agent used in the brand’s Full franchise. “When we first saw these two molecules combined, we saw they were nullified,” said Eric Spengler, Living Proof’s senior vice president of research and development. “We needed the right delivery system.”
The resulting formula took Living Proof’s founding scientist, MIT professor Dr. Bob Langer and his team two years to discover. According to Spengler, most products that add sleekness to hair also give a flatter texture, while volumizing formulas do little in terms of imparting smoothness. The Styling Treatment, which aims to do both, also promises static control, a reduction in hair breakage and both heat and UV protection. “If you look historically at the category, there have been attempts to combine technologies that deliver conditioning and hair health with those that deliver volume and body,” said Grace Ray, chief marketing officer. “Those two ingredients cancel each other out. We were able to figure out how to create a compatible formula to actually deliver a styling element to the [treatment] equation.”
The $26 item, which will be launched on Sunday exclusively at 650 Ulta and specialty salons in the U.S., will be joined by a PHD Shampoo and Conditioner in January. The Styling Treatment, which will be sold on QVC next Friday, will enter 350 Sephora doors in January of next year. The entire three-piece collection will roll out to about 1,000 total doors in March. Although the brand would not talk numbers, industry sources estimate Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment could generate $15 million in its first year.
“We’ve all read about the ‘skin-ification of hair,’” said Ray. “The more knowledge about skin care migrates into hair care, [the more] demand for science.”
According to Ray, the launch comes after Living Proof conducted research asking women what kind of a product they want. The answer? A product that solves more than one problem at a time.
“Marketers have created a lot of franchises to address specific problems,” she said. “There are a lot of women who have more than one problem and feel lost on what to choose. This is a strategic move to expand the portfolio and meet more consumers’ needs.”
To promote the launch, print advertising featuring Living Proof co-owner Jennifer Aniston, who weighed in on product creation, will break in the first quarter of 2014 as will a digital marketing component and a large-scale sampling initiative. “Working on the scent and packaging of Living Proof Perfect Hair Day was fun. I’ve always loved fragrance and had some experience when launching my perfume,” Aniston told WWD via e-mail “I’m looking forward to doing more product development on launches going forward. I have a lot of ideas. As much as I love science, I am going to leave the lab work to the team from MIT.”