By  on February 15, 2008

Just For Men, the best-selling U.S. hair color brand specifically targeting men, is aiming to appeal to aging Baby Boomers looking to fine-tune the shades of gray in their hair.

The brand, which is owned by Combe Inc., is rolling out Touch Of Gray, a five-shade subbrand within Just For Men inspired by a potential consumer base of men who are no longer looking to cover their gray hair. Rather, they want to find a shade of gray that appeals to them, according to Rick Powers, president of Combe North America.

"They were looking for a product that would let them be the gray they wanted to be," he said. "These men would not have considered men's hair color. They are turning 62 this year, getting ready to retire, are ready for the next phase and want to enjoy life now. They no longer feel full coverage is right for them."

Each Touch Of Gray shade (Light Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Brown, Black and Jet Black) will be priced in the $7 to $8 range and is designed to darken or tone down gray hair. Each box contains a one use, 1.4-oz. tube and comb applicator.

"It would reduce a man who is 50 percent gray to a darker color, closest to the color he had previously," Powers explained, adding that consumers who want darker tones will need to use multiple tubes.

Packaging reads, "Lets you keep some gray," and "Works gradually."

The Touch Of Gray coloring process is designed to be gentler because it uses oxygen as a catalyst, rather than hydrogen peroxide or ammonia, Powers noted. "It's a totally new technology," he said. Touch Of Gray, which was developed over several years, is designed to take effect in five minutes, prior to shampooing.

Existing Just For Men products address full coverage of the mustache, beard and head.

The brand was number three among hair color brands overall in the U.S. mass market, with a dollar share of 8.5 percent of the market, according to recent data from Information Resources Inc. Data does not include sales at Wal-Mart.Sales of Just For Men reached $88 million at drugstores, supermarkets and mass merchants last year, a 5.5 percent increase, putting Just For Men behind two L'Oréal brands. Wal-Mart is said to account for about 30 percent of total retail sales.

Touch Of Gray began shipping to retailers two weeks ago and is expected to be on shelves by the end of March. While Powers wouldn't specify how many doors would carry the brand, it is estimated there are upward of 38,000 mass, drugs and grocery stores in the U.S. that could carry the brand.

Touch Of Gray could generate first-year retail sales of $20 million, incrementally adding to Combe's annual retail sales, which are estimated by market sources to be about $320 million in the U.S. About 44.7 percent of sales are generated by men's hair color products, while the rest is generated by Combe's skin, foot, oral and denture care businesses. Just For Men is carried in more than 50 countries.

Advertising for Touch Of Gray is slated to break March 31 on TV, in print and on the Internet. Ads are to appear in lifestyle, general readership and enthusiast magazines. While hair color brands typically spend about half of projected first-year sales to support a launch, sources speculated Touch Of Gray could have a budget in excess of $10 million behind it.

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