Splat's Midnight Collection.

Blondes don’t have a monopoly on fun — or at least they don’t any more.

Splat had brunettes in mind when creating its Midnight Collection that lets the brown-haired multitudes achieve vibrantly toned tresses without bleach using its liquid dye in blue, purple and red shades. Landing at Target online and in stores this week before entering Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS in January, the collection is projected to generate $3 million to $5 million in sales during its initial year of availability.

“For brunettes to be able to play in this trend is a big deal. Typically, when people play with fantasy color, they have to bleach their hair or have a lighter shade to begin with,” said Helen Crutchfield-Christoni, vice president of sales and marketing at Splat parent company Developlus Inc. “This is the first color out there that’s able to cover a brunette without bleach, and going in and oxidizing the hair follicle. It’s a direct dye that provides coverage for brunettes.”

For many women, bleach has been a barrier to entry to the exploration of vivid hair hues. “The level of damage required to participate in bright colors is off-putting to a lot of consumers. Because our formula is vegan and plant-based, we really think it’s basically damage-less,” said Crutchfield-Christoni. “As far as the trend goes, with people who have tried extreme silver and pastels, there is a whole segment out there now with extreme damage. We need to educate our consumers on how they can participate while maintaining hair health.”

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In particular, Crutchfield-Christoni pointed out the Midnight Collection could appeal to Hispanic consumers with dark hair. “It’s a big, growing segment, and it’s next to impossible for them to get their hair light enough to participate in this trend without really doing damage to their hair,” said Crutchfield-Christoni. “For that segment, which is one of our core consumer [groups], this is a great alternative to other fantasy colors out there that require bleach.”

On the blackest of black hair, however, the Midnight Collection shades won’t pop quite as brilliantly. “If you get into black shades, you still will get a bit of tint, but you won’t get the same penetration of color. The lighter you are, the brighter you get with our Midnights,” said Crutchfield-Christoni. Overall, she noted, “You get a great punch of color. It is not quite as bright as our rainbows, but we are really able to give the consumer a deep indigo, ruby and amethyst.”

Without revealing its proprietary hair-dye recipe, Crutchfield-Christoni divulged the secret to the Midnight Collection formula is its micro-pigment color. The semipermanent formula is applied on dry hair, left to sit there for 45 minutes and then washed out. It’s designed to last eight weeks and is priced at $8.99 for a single application.

“Remember those cellophanes from the Eighties, I challenged our development team and labs to give me the cellophane experience, but make it real color and bring what happened with them outside, inside,” explained Crutchfield-Christoni. “With the cellophanes, your hair would glow when you walked outside and, when you walked inside, no one would notice.”

Splat’s Midnight Collection is breaking into retail as interest in fantasy shades spreads. “We are continuing to open up the consumer base to push further into sophisticated Millennials that want to participate, but they may not feel comfortable with a rainbow balayage look because of their profession. They still want to wear their suits, pencil skirts or nurse scrubs, and have fun with their hair,” said Crutchfield-Christoni, adding, “We are continuing to see growth in all our channels of distribution. This segment is becoming very important to retailers, and our place on the shelves is a focus for them. It’s been really exciting.”

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