Byline: Andrea M. Grossman

NEW YORK — Revlon is throwing a curve ball to the hair color industry.
The company, which hasn’t introduced a hair color line since 1998 and until now has placed hair care on the back burner to focus on cosmetics and a restructuring plan, is launching a line designed to color hair in just 10 minutes, a first for the permanent hair color category.
High Dimension, a 24-stockkeeping-unit line that cuts the time it takes to color hair by one-third, launches in August and marks a real technological breakthrough for a company widely regarded as a color innovator.
Industry sources expect High Dimension to receive unprecedented consumer attention, with estimated first-year sales of $75 million. High Dimension stands to give Revlon a much more solid third-place position in the hair color category. Priced at $9.99, High Dimension also marks Revlon’s first hair color to reach a $10 pricepoint, a hair color pricing trend that began in 1998 with L’Oreal’s Feria.
High Dimension is estimated to receive a minimum of $30 million in advertising support, according to sources.
According to Revlon’s hair care director of marketing, Marina Binichis, the high-speed color transformation is attributed to a patent-pending liquid crystal formula, one that “optimizes the entire hair color process allowing us to get into the hair faster and deeper.”
The launch of High Dimension, however, brings an end to Revlon’s ColorStay hair color line, which launched in 1997 to capitalize on the success of ColorStay cosmetics. The line fared well initially, but according to Information Resources Inc., ColorStay accounted for little more than $30 million of Revlon’s $113 million hair color sales last year in food, drug and mass outlets, a 30 percent drop from the prior year. ColorSilk last year made up the bulk of Revlon’s hair color sales with $48 million, supplemented by the Super Lustrous and Frost & Glow lines.
The ColorStay brand was moved to the back burner in Revlon’s cosmetics business, too. Revlon will instead focus on newer cosmetics brands such as Absolutely Fabulous, Skinlights and Almay’s Kinetin.
While High Dimension looks to meet the needs of consumers who are pressed for time, the line clearly carves out its point of differentiation against competitors.
“When you look at the marketplace and everything new that is happening out there for this year, this clearly seems to be the most innovative,” said Patricia Wheatley, Revlon’s new vice president of marketing for hair care. Wheatley is referring to three other major hair color launches slated for this summer by industry rivals, L’Oreal, Clairol and Laboratoires Garnier.
High Dimension was designed to appeal to a variety of consumers with a wide range of colors ranging from classic shades to more adventurous looks.
“It is a hair color line for current users of hair color. It also has cutting- edge shades that are of-the-moment so there’s an opportunity to bring in a younger consumer. And, because it is easier to use, it will be less intimidating, so we think there is also an opportunity to bring in the salon consumer,” Wheatley said.
Packaging for High Dimension takes a more glamorous tone than previously seen in the hair color category. Tight photographs of faces feature perfectly made up, pouty-lipped models peeking out from behind a number of trendy hair styles, such as middle parts and angled bangs. Boxes use brick red backgrounds, a classic Seventies glam color, to set High Dimension apart from the sea of white hair color packages adorning shelves this summer.