Squeezing a highlighting appointment into your lunch hour will soon be a possibility at salons.
Next month, Pravana is premiering The Blonde Wand, a hair-coloring twist on the flatiron that delivers blonder locks in seconds. Anticipated to the biggest launch in the professional brand’s 12-year history, the tool could be a boon to hairstylists’ revenue streams by shortening the durations of color services.
“For stylists, timing is everything. Their whole business is about how many people they can get into their chairs and then get out to get more people in,” said Steve Goddard, president and founder of Pravana. “If you can move people through not only does that benefit the salon, it benefits the customer who doesn’t have to wait two hours in the chair for processing.”
The idea for The Blonde Wand germinated when Goddard spotted platform hairstylists wielding flatirons to hasten bleaching. If only he could harness heat to accelerate coloring in a manner that would perform off the platform for salons and not damage the hair too much, he thought he’d have a winning product on his hands. Two years ago, he set out to make it.
Goddard focused on three elements to perfect The Blonde Wand: the positioning of its plates, its temperature and a corresponding hair lightener. Unlike in a traditional flatiron, The Blond Wand’s plates don’t touch and, in fact, are separated by one-eighth inch at their closest point. The separation allows the plates to hover over hair without singing it with sweltering temperatures. Goddard won’t divulge the temperature The Blonde Wand sticks to, but it doesn’t soar to 400 or 450 degrees like many straightening appliances do.
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Pravana developed Pure Light Crème Lightener to pair specifically with The Blonde Wand. “If you were to take a traditional flatiron and apply it to foils for highlighting, you could certainly expedite the processing, but, when you pressed down the two blades, the lightener would start oozing out, and it would be a mess,” said Goddard. “We created the most gentle lightener we could produce and then created a tool at the optimal temperature that wouldn’t break down this lightener and would allow it to process quickly.”
Goddard asserts The Blonde Wand lifts hair color six to seven levels, a salon industry term for shades, in 10 seconds. Translation: it transforms a deep dirty blonde into a pale golden-hued goddess in minutes to suit fast-paced, social media-packed schedules. Without The Blonde Wand, that transformation would, at best, occur over almost an hour (minus the salon chitchat).
“It blew my mind,” Justin Anderson, a celebrity colorist at The Chris McMillan Salon in Beverly Hills known for working with blondes, of his first encounter with The Blonde Wand. “It is one of the products that hair colorists will have in their arsenals that really changes the game. Not only does it speed up the time, but there is a lot less damage on the hair because the lightener doesn’t have to sit on the hair for so long.”
Hair damage is of particular concern to hairstylists, their clients and Pravana. Goddard didn’t want stylists to stay away from The Blonde Wand in fear the heat it generated would destroy strands. To help convince them it wouldn’t do so, he secured an outside lab to test hair colored by The Blonde Wand versus hair colored by typical coloring techniques – and is extremely pleased to pass on the test results to salons.
“Quite startlingly, the hair processed at 10 seconds using The Blonde Wand was much less damaged than the hair processed in our control [case]. We knew then that we really had something,” said Goddard. “We have applied for a patent because it is truly different than anything out in the marketplace.”
Pravana products are available at more than 50,000 salons. Even before The Blonde Wand, which is packaged in an introductory kit for $79.99, enters them, Pravana’s sales jumped 40 percent this year, a figure the new tool could potentially boost because of the central role highlighting plays at salons. “The highlighting service for salons is the greatest revenue generator and serves as the largest base of clients for the salons because it crosses all generations and hair types. It is generally appealing and has always been that way,” said Goddard.
Hair color accounts for about 80 percent of Pravana’s business, and Goddard suggested the brand is poised to grow in the future with hair color and tool offerings responding to the demands of Millennial salon customers open to experimentation. Significant sales drivers of late have included a partnership with Balyage sensation Guy Tang on Pure Enlightenment Balayage Kit and the bold shades collection ChromaSilk Vivids.
“Keeping Baby Boomers looking younger in terms of gray coverage has dominated the industry for a couple of decades, but now Millennials are eclipsing Baby Boomers. How do we appeal to their sensibilities?” asked Goddard. “They turn gray as well, so that business is not going away, but there is a sense of more self-expression with color. Hair color prior to this period was all about covering gray and looking more youthful, now it is about making a statement with your color.”