PARIS — As far as damage control goes, L’Oréal Professionnel considers its new Pro Fiber line to be a game changer, promising long-lasting, in-depth repair — only where needed.
“It’s the best formula ever achieved in the field of damaged hair,” asserted Patricia Pineau, L’Oréal’s scientific communications director, of the collection due out on May 25 in Western Europe.
Research for it began with a study including 19,000 women in 12 countries. It revealed that damaged hair is a major concern.
“[Some women] see it as a never-ending battle; they feel they create damage to their hair to be more beautiful,” said Julien Merten, international marketing director at L’Oréal Professionnel, a L’Oréal-owned brand. “They feel it’s a lost battle.”
And a one-size-fits-all solution to hair damage is not what they are after, he added.
L’Oréal research, which already probed healthy hair’s structure, looked further into its natural aging process plus the impact of sun, water, brushing and chemical treatments.
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The laboratory found that inside damaged hair strands are enlarged, permeable empty spaces. So the trick was to find a way to repair them. Through a scientific collaboration, including a specialist in the sol-gel chemistry field that produces solid materials from small molecules, L’Oréal starting coming up with the formula.
It used aminosilane, a silicium compound, which can rebuild the cortex deep down and re-create a 3-D network to reinforce hair structure. That was associated with a cationic polymer, which acts like a superficial protective film and has an affinity for damaged hair, to make a molecular complex called Aptyl 100.
“We call them reactive materials, or smart materials,” said Pineau.
Aptyl 100 also helps seal hair’s scales so the treatment doesn’t leak out.
Pro Fiber has three routines to be used according to hair’s damage level (where the cuticle is affected; the cuticle and cortex are affected, or the cuticle and cortex are very damaged) starting in the salon. The first step is a consultation, when the hairdresser uses a specially created digital application to help assess hair, then chooses between the line’s three ranges — Rectify, Restore and Reconstruct.
Each begins with a shampoo, followed by a concentrate and a mask containing the Aptyl 100 technology (with a keen eye kept on dosages). The later is left on for just five minutes, rinsed off and followed by a leave-on conditioner for a regenerated yet not-weighed-down effect.
Merten said traditional hair treatments are washed off by shampoo, but that’s not the case with Pro Fiber, since its technology is reactivated by the line’s own shampoos.
“So after you rewash your hair, you recover the result from the salon service,” he said.
The at-home care — that can last up to six weeks — is bolstered by a “recharge” that’s meant to be used after each fourth shampoo cycle at home.
Pro Fiber, which will be introduced into more than 45 countries this year, is to be rolled out after Western Europe this month in the Hispano-America zone on Aug. 15, the U.S. and Eastern Europe on Sept. 15, the Asia-Pacific region between September and November, and Brazil in January 2016. Japan, India, China and the Middle East are to receive Pro Fiber next year, as well.
The in-salon treatment is L’Oréal Professionnel’s most premium. It will go for $30 in the U.S., for instance.
Product prices in France will be 15.50 euros, or $17.25 at current exchange, for a 250-ml. shampoo; 23 euros, or $25.60, for a 200-ml. conditioner and for a 75-ml. leave-in conditioner; 27 euros, or $30.05, for a 200-ml. mask, and 29.90 euros, or $33.25, for a box of six 20-ml. recharges.
While L’Oréal executives would not discuss revenue projections, industry sources estimate Pro Fiber will generate 50 million euros, or $55.7 million, in total sales in its first year globally.
Actress Eva Green is the face of line, which is L’Oréal Professionnel’s biggest launch of 2015. She will appear in the print advertisements (mainly coming in four-page formats), plus the digital and TV campaigns.
“In the cosmetics industry, women now want the reference, the specialist for each problem,” said Merten. “We thought it was the opportunity to create the hair-damage specialist.”