By  on November 3, 2010

Kérastase is applying its Capital Force in the U.S. market.

The Kérastase Homme hair care and styling aids retail line, which was launched in Europe during the spring and marked the L’Oréal-owned brand’s entry into the men’s market, recently reached full distribution in Kérastase’s 1,200 salons in the U.S.

The idea was to launch the full, six-item line all at once in the U.S., according to Julien Bouzitat, vice president of marketing for L’Oréal Prestige Professional Brands.

“We were waiting for critical products — styling products — that we deemed necessary in this market,” he said. The name Capital Force, he continued, is about preserving thinning hair — the “capital” one is born with — and “maximizing [one’s] investment in [one’s] hair.”

The products are based on the “taurine system,” which is designed to keep the hair bulb healthy to stimulate the hair mechanism. D-Biotine, a vitamin, is employed to inhibit the production of 5 Alpha Reductase, an enzyme that contributes to male hair loss.

“The sebum at the scalp has the highest concentration of DHT [Dihydrotestosterone],” Bouzitat added.

Pointing to the high-end positioning of Kérastase, Maeve Coburn, general manager of L’Oréal Prestige Professional Brands, noted the brand is in limited distribution relative, according to the executives, to the some 200,000 salons in the U.S.

Kérastase is carried at about 20 salons in the metro New York area, including Warren-Tricomi, Rossano Ferretti Salon and Butterfly Studio Salon.

The range is divided into three regimens: cleanse (antioiliness treatment shampoo and densifying shampoo, each $34 for 250 ml.); treat (antioiliness and densifying leave-in treatments, each $32 for 125 ml.), and style (medium-hold sculpting gel (150 ml.) and light-hold paste (75 ml.), each $30.

Kérastase Homme Capital Force’s premium price points are at parity with the line’s pricing in Europe. One product, an antidandruff shampoo, is carried outside the U.S.

Industry sources, who estimate that Kérastase generates about $90 million in retail sales volume in the U.S., added Kérastase Homme Capital Force could account for 5 percent of the business in the next 12 months, translating into sales of roughly $4.5 million.

Initial projections at the time of Capital Force’s European launch called for first-year retail sales of $20.4 million and the line is said to be on track with that plan.

“In Europe, repurchase is very strong,” according to Bouzitat. “It has been well accepted by stylists and consumers.”

For Capital Force, Kérastase Homme collaborated with men’s fashion designer Simon Spurr to do a black woven travel bag with the names of the designer and the product line stamped into its handle.

Hairstylist Antonio Prieto worked on behalf of Kérastase Homme Capital Force to create a sleek, modern and textured do at Spurr’s men’s ready-to-wear spring show in September. Capital Force was officially unveiled in the U.S. backstage at the show.

The travel bag is available as a gift with the purchase of two Capital Force products. To also promote the line, there are in-salon visuals executives described as “impactful.”

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