NEW YORK — L.A. Looks is following in the footsteps of its savvy salon parent, Schwarzkopf & Dep, by upgrading its mass hair care line into one that better resembles an upscale offering.

The new 36-sku line, which hits mass retailer shelves in March, identifies five key looks: Straight Look, X-Treme Look, Volume Look, Expressive Look and Curl Look. Each of the five requires several products from the new line to help users change or enhance their desired style. Straight Look Straightening Spray is designed to help get the Straight Look;Volume Look Foaming Mousse Spray is formulated to help users get the Volume Look, and Mess It Up Look Fiber Creme Pomade and Piece It Look Wax Stick help achieve the Expressive Look. Products range in price from $2.29 to $3.79.

Industry sources estimate that the company could spend as much as $8 million on advertising. A print ad campaign, however, is definitely in the works and is scheduled to appear in May lifestyle and beauty publications.

L.A. Looks, which began in Los Angeles 14 years ago as a pure gel brand, now ranks as a top-three style brand in the U.S. According to Information Resources, Inc., L.A. Looks generated$33.3 million in sales for the most recent 52-week period ended Dec. 29, excluding Wal-Mart. Geri Lieberman, senior director of marketing for L.A. Looks, expects the new lineup to increase sales more than 10 percent in 2003.

The company repositioned the line, keeping in mind that consumers are evolving and very experimental with their hair. "The new products are designed to create the opportunity for consumers to get salon-quality products. We bring in formulations from our parent," said Lieberman. Schwarzkopf & Dep is owned by Germany-based Henkel KGAA.

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