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NEW YORK — Matrix is the latest salon marketer to jump into the men’s market.

In June, the division of L’Oréal USA’s Professional unit is set to launch Matrix Men Style Control System, an assortment of eight shampoo, treatment and styling products that’s expected to reach some 30,000 salons by the end of the summer.

Matrix is the second L’Oréal-owned brand to specifically target male salon clients in as many years. Redken, another division within the France-based giant, launched Redken for Men in spring 2004.

Brooke Carlson, senior vice president of U.S. marketing for Matrix, contended more than 60 percent of men prefer to use products intended for them. “We looked at growth of the grooming category,” she said, and “male consumers are beginning to demand more male-specific products. We thought there was a great opportunity here to enter that market,” she added, noting that within the full Matrix portfolio, “this line is filling a key void. [Men’s] is the last piece of the puzzle.”

“We’re confident we can grow the market of men’s brands,” said Steve Kane, director of advertising for Matrix. The company plans to employ its 750 field educators to arm stylists with men’s grooming techniques and help salons grow revenues from services by attracting more male clients, Carlson noted.

The Matrix Men assortment will include formulations designed to thicken and moisturize hair because company research indicated that 34 percent of men say thinning is a “top hair care concern,” while 33 percent cite manageability and 24 percent say dry hair is top of mind.

The line features a quartet of 13.5-oz. shampoo and conditioner bottles meant to resemble flasks. A key product is Style Power, a three-in-one shampoo priced at $11.95. The shampoo is designed to condition and to stay in the hair for light styling.

There’s also Clean Rush shampoo for $9.95, Thick Surge thickening shampoo for $10.95 and Moisture Rev conditioner for $10.95. Styling Aids include Energel, a medium-hold gel priced at $10.95 for 5.1 oz.; All-Style Wax and Form Putty, both $10.95 for 1.7 oz., and Thick Blast, $10.95 for 8.5 oz.

This story first appeared in the March 31, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A ninth Matrix Men product is slated for September or October. Plans call for the item, a shampoo to fight dandruff, to retail for $12.95.

Matrix Men will target “casually groomed, outdoor, active” guys in a category that includes Redken for Men, John Paul Mitchell Systems and men’s brand American Crew.

Industry sources estimate Matrix Men could generate between $30 million and $40 million in sales volume the first year it’s in full distribution.

Salon display units and product kits for stylists will be used to promote Matrix Men. A sampling campaign is designed to complement Matrix Men ads in sports, lifestyle and entertainment magazines breaking throughout the second half and into the first quarter of next year. An estimated $10 million will be spent on advertising and promotion of the line.

The 26-year-old Matrix franchise, which L’Oréal acquired from Bristol-Myers Squibb six years ago, is said to be close to $350 million in wholesale sales and carried in 100,000 salons. It includes sub-brands like Amplify, Biolage, Color Smart, Curl Life, Essentials and Sleek Look.

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