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Kérastase Aims to Make Scalp Care Sexy

Specifique, the newest line by Kérastase, addresses the scalp, targeting this very unsexy area: dandruff, oiliness and thinning hair.

Kérastase is getting to the root of things.

Specifique, the luxury hair care brand’s newest line, addresses the scalp and all that comes with targeting this very unsexy area: dandruff, oiliness and thinning hair.

But, in true Kérastase fashion, a brand that charges about $40 on average for a bottle of shampoo is out to make treating the scalp and all of its issues into a glamorous event.

“We have this opportunity to make [this segment] gorgeous as if we were introducing any other Kérastase range. Our idea is a beauty ritual for the scalp with specialist tools,” said Shane Wolf, vice president of Prestige Professional Brands, a unit within the L’Oréal Professional Products Division. “We are not walking away from the Kérastase tradition of luxurious targeted care for the hair.”

Addressing scalp concerns is a new category Kérastase, but not the overall salon segment. Items addressing the scalp, such as dryness and aging, have been on the market for years, most notably from Nioxin, the category leader, which makes addressing scalp issues its core focus. Nioxin, which owns about 75 percent of the category, was recently purchased by L’Oréal rival, Procter & Gamble Co. Items from René Furterer, Kiehl’s and Phyto brands also target the scalp.

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But that’s not to say L’Oréal arrived late to the trend. Specifique was launched in Europe in 1985 and relaunched in 2004. Upgrades for U.S. compliance to FDA were completed in 2008. The launch of Specifique couldn’t come soon enough.

“We notice there is a desire in the U.S. [for this] because this brand has [been found on store shelves] here. So it has specifically been diverted from Europe because it has not been available here,” Wolf said.

Specifique, which offers six at-home products and two in-salon treatments, addresses three different scalp conditions: dandruff, oily scalp and thinning hair.

For at-home use, the antidandruff range offers two shampoos (one for dry scalp and one for oily scalp). The dry scalp item uses pyrithione zinc, silicone and cationic polymers in formulas to gently clean the scalp and eliminate symptoms of dandruff. The oily scalp version uses a similar formula minus glycerol and cationic polymers. The oily scalp range offers a shampoo, Bain Divalent with vitamin B6, a cooling agent.

Fluide Purifiant, a conditioner, is meant to be used by all dandruff and oily scalp sufferers, and uses pyrithione zinc, menthol derivatives and glycerin in formulas to rebalance flaky scalps.

The thinning items include a shampoo, Bain Densitive GL, which uses vitamin PP and mineral molecules to soothe and calm the scalp while adding texture, and a conditioner, Lotion Densitive GL, which is specially made for thinning hair sufferers and uses the same ingredients as the shampoo to add texture and cool the scalp.

In-salon treatments include a scalp scrub, Peeling Purifiant, and a mask, Masquargil.

“The category will be very important for us in the future,” Wolf said of the importance of Specifique to the overall Kérastase franchise. “This is step one in this category for us.”