HIGH HONOR: Jean-Paul Agon, chief executive officer of L’Oréal, was made a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in Paris on Wednesday. Agon was presented France’s most prestigious award by Thierry Breton, the French minister of economy, finance and industry. L’Oréal’s non-executive chairman Lindsay Owen-Jones was among the guests at the ceremony.

MATRIX MAKES ITS MARK: Matrix, the leading salon brand in the U.S., has landed celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend as its newest spokesperson to support all celebrity outreach and media relations efforts, as well as product launches and other red-carpet initiatives. Townsend’s clients include Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Penélope Cruz, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Reese Witherspoon, whom he styled for the 2007 Golden Globe Awards. Despite working with celebs and on editorial shoots, Townsend remains committed to what motivates and inspires salon professionals and their clients. “We know for a fact that American women follow Hollywood hair trends, and bring photos of their favorite celebrity hair color and hairstyles to the salon for consultations. These days, half of those looks probably are attributable to Mark, so we couldn’t be more pleased and proud of this new relationship,” said Deborah Marquardt of Matrix.

BAREX ITALIANA MINIS: Barex Italiana is downsizing — in a good way — this month with the launch of travel-size Barex Minis. Available in the same color-coded packaging as the full-size products, the 3-oz. minis will include Barex Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner for everyday use, ColourLife Shampoo and Conditioner for color-treated hair, Re-Define Crème leave-in moisturizer and de-frizzer, and Hairgomine styling gel. The six mini hair care products will retail for $9.50 and be sold in more than 600 salons. OloffBeauty, owner of Barex, has moved into a Manhattan showroom at 170 East 61st Street.

FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD: Freeman Cosmetics has revamped its Beautiful Skin skin care line and renamed it Feeling Beautiful. The new line enters 60,000 stores this month (the original line had been in 30,000), according to Jill Freeman-Bucksbaum, senior vice president of marketing, broadening distribution in food, drug and mass channels and increasing the number of doors in already existing accounts. There are five face items and six body items. Face products include a Cucumber Peel Off Mask, Pineapple Enzyme Mask and Apricot Creamy Scrub. Body items include Guava Salt Body Scrub, Pomegranate Sugar Body Scrub and Olive Shea Body Butter. Each item is $3.99 and is packaged in a tottle bottle. The company has slated nearly $5 million in 2007 for advertising.

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