PARIS — Color DJ, from Wella Professionals, is putting a new spin on the hair gloss service in salons, a channel whose business has been lackluster. Due to enter the Samantha Cusick Salon in London on April 6, prior to a broader rollout, it surfs the wave of popularity of all things personalized and premium in the beauty category today.
“This is the world’s first in-salon device where the hairdressers have the opportunity to design and to produce ultra-personalized color masks,” Laura Simpson, Coty Professional Beauty chief marketing officer, told WWD. “They do it digitally, and they can actually combine and create up to 60 billion different colors from the machine.”
She said the non-permanent gloss has a high level of color precision. And Color DJ produces a customized take-home product — the first of its kind — for people to use between salon visits to help keep color fresh.
“There was this need more and more to create almost a new category — of color and care,” said David Sarraro, Coty Professional Beauty senior director of research and development, referring to the three levels of treatment that can be added to the gloss, as well as the scent type.
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“This is all part of a program of offering clients in salons the very best experience and service that we can, and bringing some excitement back into the salon service and into the industry,” Simpson continued.
Salon penetration has remained fairly flat globally over the last couple of years, as have retail sales in the channel, while many other beauty categories grew.
“The state of our industry is now weak and in very low growth mode due to a multiplicity of factors,” wrote the “2017 U.S. Salon Industry Study” from Professional Consultants & Resources, a consulting and industry data supply company. It explained that in the U.S., for instance, the overall increase of salon sales — from both services and retail — was 1.8 percent to $5.16 billion in 2017 after three consecutive years of more than 3 percent-plus annual gains. The slowdown was due to factors such as mergers-and-acquisition activity among top players and distribution down-stocking.
Color DJ was created with the professional in mind, Sarro emphasized. “It’s to make the professional even more professional,” he said.
Here’s how it works: A client gets an in-salon consultation with a hairdresser, who then, using a digital application, programs the Color DJ device for whatever type of mask would suit the person, including the level of color, plus the amount of care and type of fragrance it should — or not — have. Then in just 30 seconds, the machine produces the ingredients that the hairdresser mixes in a bowl and applies on to tresses.
“It can be used to enhance tone, to add more shine, to add more depth and vibrancy to the color,” Simpson said.
She added: “We recognize the opportunity for salons who provide this handmade, unique color formula to give you something that you can take away.”
Andreas Kurkowitz, Wella Professionals global color ambassador, said a large number of his gloss clients have asked for refreshers to take away. “And I was never able to do so,” he said.
The Color DJ allows for information to be stored on the client’s gloss recipe, allowing for exact in-salon repeats or possibly for other Wella salons to replicate it.
Kurkowitz called Color DJ “very easy to use.”
While each salon will set its own price for the service, it’s expected to run between 20 euros to 30 euros, and about 50 euros for the home-use product.
“We really want to partner with salons to bring new clients [in], to help them sell more treatments and more retail [products],” Simpson said.
It’s part of Wella’s Activate Your Salon program that was launched in 2014 and counts more than 50,000 participating salons.
Hair gloss is an extra added-value service and overall represents an estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of the total professional hair-color market, industry sources said.
“According to our research, glossing services on average represent anywhere between 7 percent and 10 percent of total salon color services, with this percentage increasing significantly for higher-end salons,” said Simpson, adding that’s a greater percentage than for bleaching or balayage.
Color DJ’s soft launch took place in one German salon in September, but the introduction at Cusick’s Notting Hill salon will signify its official kickoff. Industry sources estimate that the Color DJ could roll out to about 2,000 salons in the first 12 to 18 months starting in Europe prior to a worldwide scaling.
“Customization is a big trend, and I don’t believe it is going to disappear,” Sarro said.
When asked about the future of salons, he said it could entail the integration of clients’ lifestyle information, the cross-combination of an ecosystem of data used to service people even better — keeping in mind privacy issues.
“In 10 years, you will go to your hairdresser and they will know exactly which shampoo you need for the water you [use], for the UV rays that will hit your hair in the next week, etcetera,” Sarro predicted.