PARIS — Kérastase keeps banking on new, ever-more premium products, including a restaged version of its best-selling Résistance line, and luxurious in-salon services to maintain its growth.
The L’Oréal-owned professional hair-care label has been notching up annual sales gains consistently over the past decade, according to Vincent Nida, international general manager for the brand.
“Kérastase is at the crossroads between the professional salon industry and luxury, and I think this is also what is helping us enjoy the growth,” he said.
The five largest markets for the highly selective brand — which is present in less than 1 percent of the global salon channel — are France (where it’s in 9 percent of the distribution), the U.S., China, Japan and the U.K.
“We have other European countries in the top 10,” continued Nida, adding Brazil is in that range also. Meanwhile, quickly growing countries for the label include Turkey, Indonesia and India.
A major launch for Kérastase this year is of the reworked 20-year-old Résistance line, which is just beginning a European rollout and will hit the U.S. this summer and Asia in September. The part of the range for damaged hair, Force Architecte, has had its formula slightly tweaked, while the segment for very damaged and overprocessed hair has been replaced with Thérapiste.
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Before, it was thought hair was mainly 50 percent keratin and 50 percent ceramides, but with new technologies L’Oréal laboratories found that there is actually a component that makes up about half of the hair’s composition. That’s dubbed Keratin Associated Proteins, which bond keratin together to create hair’s structure. So when hair is damaged, KAPs leak out.
“You need to compensate for that because if not, it’s when hair basically starts falling apart,” Nida said.
Thérapiste’s formula includes the Fibra-KAP complex plus sap from a rare “resurrection plant” that can spring back to life after a near-death state.
Along with the retail products, which go in France from 22 euros, or $24.60 at current exchange, for the balm-in-shampoo to 41 euros, or $45.90, for a mask, Thérapiste has several in-salon treatments.
“We based our American [digital] campaign on the insight that women who have the most damaged hair feel very guilty,” Nida said. “So we wanted to release them from their guilt and created a little Web series with a bit of humor.”
In the three spots, which will come out around mid-May, actor Eric Roberts plays a therapist who counsels a trio of women, each of whom complains of a different problem. There’s a double innuendo for each and (spoiler alert) in every vignette Roberts is the one talking about hair.
Kérastase executives would not discuss figures, but industry sources estimate the brand generates $300 million in wholesale revenues yearly and of that, Résistance makes $60 million. With the new launch, sales of Thérapiste could rise an estimated 10 percent in the first 12 months.
Meanwhile, for salons, Kérastase is introducing Fusio-dose worldwide in September. The treatment takes a bespoke approach, involving a shot of highly concentrated boosters into concentrates, which become tailor-made to help consumers’ hair-care needs. These are gauged in part by a diagnostic profiler tool that takes a couple of minutes, and the treatment itself lasts only five minutes.
“We feel that [Fusio-dose is] an element that will drive traffic to the salon and make the experience a little bit more ‘wow’ and enchanted,” Nida said.
“There’s a lot we can do in terms of retail,” he continued, explaining salons should become a “real destination.”
“The salon environment today isn’t [so] retail friendly. It’s not that easy to open the door to the salon and go buy a product. It’s a little bit frightening — always hidden behind the cashier, or you feel bad that you’re asking for a product. Of course it’s important that [the salon is] a place where you can get great service, but it should also be where it’s easy to buy products.”
Said Nida: “We have a role in making the hair-salon industry business more successful.”