Serie Expert items.

L'Oreal Professionnel is declaring 2007 the year of Serie Expert, an estimated $85 million subbrand under the fifth largest professional hair care brand in the U.S.

L’Oréal Professionnel is declaring 2007 the year of Série Expert, an estimated $85 million subbrand under the fifth largest professional hair care brand in the U.S.

The primary target to help Série Expert grow sales: Women with highlights, who until now have not had a salon product to help meet their specific hair needs.

“They may not be using a salon [regimen] because none are offered that address highlighted hair,” said Stephanie Péigne, assistant vice president of marketing for L’Oréal Professionnel.

Shipping to 5,000 salons in March is Lumino Contrast, a four-step at-home and in-salon system designed to provide conditioning and protection for highlighted hair, which tends to be damaged and requires targeted conditioning­ — just not too much.

“This pushes the limit of customization,” said Péigne, explaining that Lumino Contrast utilizes a “clever molecule” to condition only the areas of hair that require extra attention and ignore the parts of hair that don’t. Lumino Contrast’s at-home regime includes a shampoo and masque. In salons, consumers can receive the other two steps, a Color Equalise treatment and a Power Dose Color treatment. The shampoo will retail for $18 and the masque will sell for $28. Packaging for Lumino Contrast is translucent, a trend Péigne said is becoming more prevalent in the luxury market.

Potential Lumino Contrast customers may be using other Série Expert lines, such as Vitamino, a range formulated for color-treated hair, which launched in October. Or, they could be Absolut Repair users, a line designed for damaged hair, that launched in 2005. Péigne said some women with colored hair may find it beneficial to switch between Vitamino, Absolut Repair and Lumino Contrast, in order to best protect their hair. Hairstylists should be consulted to suggest a regimen, she added.

Péigne said Série Expert is expected to grow by between $20 million and $25 million in 2007, with 10 percent of those sales coming from Lumino Contrast.

While this year may be dedicated to Série Expert, L’Oréal Professionnel didn’t turn a blind eye to the brand in 2006, which grew 20 percent in sales, according to the company. Textureline, Kiwi and several color subbrands also fall under the L’Oréal Professionnel umbrella, which is within the L’Oréal Professional Products division of L’Oréal USA. Last year also saw the launch of Textureline Infinium, a hairspray designed to rival Elnett (a L’Oréal product not sold legally in the U.S., as it does not meet certain aerosol spray requirements), as well as Textureline Playball, a styling line.

This story first appeared in the January 5, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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