LONDON — Less than a year after touching down in the U.S. with a West Hollywood salon and local e-commerce platform, Bleach London is making further inroads and inking an exclusive deal with Walmart.
Bleach London, which has been disrupting the hair care business with dip-dyes, fresh takes on color and inexpensive at-home dye kits, will sell through 3,500 Walmart stores and its e-commerce.
“This is a huge deal for us,” said cofounder and creative director Alex Brownsell in a Zoom interview. She said the deal dovetails with Bleach’s “high-low” approach to color and efforts to “break through boundaries, and enable people to express themselves through hair color, regardless of how much money they have.”
Brownsell, who charges $500 to $1,000 for color in the L.A. salon, said she believes “good product is good product” and the company is proud of its democratic approach. The bleach and dye kits cost around 6 GBP each, while a 500ml tub of the new Reincarnation Mask is priced at 15 GBP.
In the U.S., the products will retail less than $15.
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The Walmart partnership, she added, “has allowed us to continue our ambition of bringing the best home hair color to as many people as possible. We’re excited for this new opportunity.” The goal, she said, is to become “the number-one, at-home color brand in the U.S.”
The brand will sell 16 products at Walmart, and 44 products on walmart.com. They include Total Bleach, the brand’s best-selling bleach kit; toners; a variety of semi-permanent hair color; and the Reincarnation Mask, a conditioning treatment for all types of hair.
Bleach has also added extra dimensions to its at-home kits, targeting different textures such as coily, coarse and fine hair.
Brownsell, who is also a sessions stylist who works for a host of brands including Gucci and Celine, said it was Walmart who originally approached Bleach after seeing the salon. In doing her research, she found that the majority of its 18-to-35 year-old customers are shopping for hair care products at Walmart.
Walmart is championing young brands, female-led companies and diversity with its hair, makeup and beauty offering, she said.
Bleach, meanwhile, is one of the most popular hair color brands on TikTok, and counts Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Maisie Williams as fans, according to the company.
Bleach secured a fresh round of funding worth 10 million pounds more than a year ago. As reported, Georgia May Jagger, a longtime friend of Brownsell and Campbell, is an investor in the business.
The company opened its four-seat salon last summer on West 3rd Street in West Hollywood, and launched a dedicated U.S. e-commerce site for the at-home hair dyes. Bleach operates three salons in London — in Soho, Brixton and Dalston.
During the interview, Brownsell said that in the first week of opening in LA, the most popular color requested was neon green.
Brownsell and Sam Campbell launched Bleach London in 2010 with a salon focused solely on color. It pioneered techniques such as bright dip-dyes, and worked with bleaches, toners and semi-permanent dyes.
Six months after launch it developed an at-home product range, and later moved into virtual and digital services, urging customers to experiment and take risks with color.
“I think, as hairdressers, we get a bit confused sometimes about home hair color being bad or doing things yourself being wrong,” said Brownsell.
“We believe hair stylists need to step back and think, not everyone has $200 to $500 a month to spend dyeing their hair. So, rather than scaring everybody about doing it at home, why don’t we educate people on how to do it properly, knowing that customers — if they have the opportunity and if they enjoy the experience — will come to the salon when they can afford it?”
She also believes that while hair trends come and go, dye – and bleach in particular — will never go out of style.
“’Blond’ is a state of mind, part of some people’s identity,” she said, adding that the brand will always strive to be “super-creative and relevant” to its customers.