NEW YORK — Aveda is looking East for inspiration for one of its biggest-ever hair care launches.The brand, which will begin to roll out the four-stockkeeping-unit Light Elements collection of lightweight and weightless styling products in January 2003, looked at new technology first tested on Japanese hair and then adapted for a global audience. "We believe in maximizing our core strengths, while at the same time doing that in a new and unique way," said Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda. "That sent us to Japan, which has long been known for innovative concepts with hair."The quest led Aveda to one of Japan’s top editorial stylists, Miho Matsuura, who also owns a trendy salon, Twiggy, in Tokyo. Matsuura helped the team not only to formulate the products, but also work on their packaging and application."Our intention was to create a lighter-than-air feeling with all of these products," said Shane Wolf, marketing director for styling for Aveda, who worked closely with Matsuura on the collection. "We also wanted them to be relevant to a wide range of hair types and global audiences."Light Elements includes four products infused with organic ingredients; all include lavender water, which is intended to smooth and purify hair. "The idea was to infuse hair with air — hence, the name Light Elements," noted Chris Hacker, senior vice president of marketing and design for Aveda. "Unlike most hair care collections, this positioning isn’t about the hair type, because it can be used by any hair type. It’s about the results."Reviving Mist is a lightweight spray that is intended to cleanse, condition and style hair weightlessly and without washing. It contains red clover to purify, aloe vera to moisturize and a blend of essential oils to eliminate odors, and can be used with other styling products without weighing the hair down. An 8.5-oz. trigger spray retails for $21, while a 500-ml. refill retails for $33.Defining Whip, a medium-hold styler, is intended to define hair without adding weight or stickiness. Marshmallow root and organic flaxseed provide hold, and the product is designed to absorb instantly into the hair. It retails for $20 for 4.2 ounces.Finishing Solution, designed for use on dry hair, is a lightweight styling spray that tames flyaways, creates definition and offers light to medium hold. Key ingredients include meadowfoam seed oil and jojoba to condition hair; red clover to purify; glycerin for skin, tapioca starch for weightless hold and a rice-bran-derived UV complex to protect hair. It retails for $20 for 6.7 ounces. Smoothing Fluid is a weightless styling and finishing product formulated with jojoba to moisture and condition hair and vitamin E to protect hair from environmental stress. It retails for $23 for 3.4 ounces. Smoothing Fluid and Finishing Solution roll out in January, while Reviving Mist and Defining Whip are due by June 2003. Each item is packaged in a sky-blue container. In keeping with Aveda’s environmental mission, each package is composed of a varying percentage of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. Finishing Solution and Reviving Mist each have packages made up of 80 percent PCR content, while Defining Whip’s jar is 50 percent PCR and Smoothing Fluid’s is 100 percent PCR. The products will be available in about 10,000 retail and salon doors worldwide. While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales, industry sources estimated that the Light Elements Collection will do about $60 million at retail in its first year on counter. National consumer advertising is not currently planned, although Aveda plans a campaign in salon-industry trade magazines. The brand will also get the word out by sampling full-sized bottles of the products to salons in the brand’s network, said Hacker.Hair care continues to be the major driver for the brand, said Conseil, who noted that about 55 percent of Aveda’s business is done in the category.

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