With a portfolio that includes Wella Professional, Nioxin and Clairol Professional, Procter & Gamble is a force to be reckoned with in the salon industry.
“Ours is a relatively young division — a little over 10 years old — but it’s a collection of brands with a phenomenal heritage, as Clairol is 60 years old and Wella is more than 130 years old,” said Adil Mehboob-Khan, president of P&G Salon Professional and Global Wella Professional, a P&G veteran who has also overseen skin care in Europe as a marketing manager and a vice president overseeing hair care, skin care, female hair removal, personal cleansing and deodorants.
In addition to Wella, Nioxin and Clairol, P&G Salon Professional’s salon brands include Sebastian Professional, Sassoon Professional, Kadus Professional and Londa Professional. “Salon fits strategically,” said Mehboob-Khan. “When we decided in the late Nineties to be a major player in beauty, we declared we had to be a winner not just in retail, but in other channels.” P&G accelerated its professional hair-care holdings as the salon industry was evolving and distributors were consolidating in the late Nineties. Clairol was and is seen as a more “accessible” brand; Wella is more technically oriented; Sebastian is a styling brand; Nioxin, which treats thinning hair, is problem-solution, and Sassoon Professional “honors an icon,” he explained. “At their core, all of our brands have education as a fundamental component.”
“Salon is a very important category for us — it is a unique place that is in touch with trends, where thousands of professionals work with millions of people every day,” said Mehboob-Khan. “It also informs us as well, and it’s a place where we can make technology first.”
One example of that, he said, is Wella’s Illumina Color, which is set to enter U.S. and Canadian salons in late December and early January; it was launched in Europe earlier this year. It is a translucent permanent hair-color line with 20 shades and intended to complement the existing Wella hair-color portfolio, which includes the Koleston Perfect, Color Touch and Blondor lines.
Illumina is “the first permanent color that is luminous in every kind of light due to Advanced Microlight technology,” said Mehboob-Khan. “It’s a one-use wonder. [With this technology] the outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, is transparent like fingernails, and the condition of the hair cuticle is extremely important in allowing light to pass through and see real color tones from within.” He noted that impurities such as tiny metals are left as a residue from water after shampooing. These can stick to the cuticles, which can form free radicals during the coloring process and in turn cause damage to the cuticle surface. “On a rough cuticle, rays of light become diffused, creating less reflection and luminosity,” he said.