NEW DIRECTION: Haircolorxpress, the salon franchiser that offers licensed hairstylists and colorists the opportunity to own and operate their own salon, is rebranding itself. In an effort to appear less budget oriented, the firm’s new salons and 20 existing salons will now be called HCX and will have the tag line, thehaircolorexperts. A new logo, new brochures, print advertisements and point-of-sale materials are being launched to support the business, which opened its first salon in 2001.

WORKING UP A LATHER: Last month, skin and hair maker/retailer, Lather, opened its fourth store, this time in Scottsdale, Ariz. Two more Lather stores are planned to open this year, possibly in San Francisco and Dallas. The three-year-old company, which handmakes 50 skin, face and hair care items, looks to end 2003 with $5 million in sales, which includes sales of products from its stores, as well as sales in Nordstrom in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; on QVC; in Henri Bendel, and at various specialty stores nationwide. And Lather isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Four additional stores are planned for 2004 and the company is expanding its distribution in Nordstrom stores in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Calif., and Arizona. Lather also is creating a line of products to be used and sold at the new Borgata Hotel, owned in part by MGM, in Atlantic City, which is planned to open in July.

HERE COMES THE SOLEIL: There’s a new hair care line under the Kerastase brand, Soleil, which replaces Solaire, a color treatment system that launched in 1975. According to Frédérique Besson, general manager for Kerastase, Soleil’s new formulas use ceramide and pro-vitamin B5 to help repair dry and damaged hair — common symptoms of color-treated hair. In addition to the line’s usual shampoos and conditioners, there’s a new product, Aqua Protective, an antidrying treatment designed to penetrate hair fiber to protect it from the sun. Aqua Protective retails for $29, while shampoo and conditioner retail for $24 and $26, respectively.

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