NEW YORK — Mizani is going natural with the launch of a product line, ThermaSmooth, next month.

The products are designed for African-American women who want to make their natural, textured hair straight, bringing the company, a division of L’Oréal USA, into a new market that “represents nearly 40 percent of African-American women,” said Taydra Mitchell-Jackson, vice president of marketing for Mizani.

Mitchell-Jackson said the company, which usually creates products for women that contain chemical relaxers, found through extensive research that more African-American women are looking for ways to wear their curly-to-straight styles without the added damage that can sometimes occur from heat-styling tools. “We found that women want intense protection, and ThermaSmooth is designed to protect the elasticity of their hair over time, which is a huge benefit,” she said.

ThermaSmooth includes a four-step regimen: a Conditioning Shampoo to moisturize and detangle the hair; a Straightening Conditioner to strengthen and hydrate; a Smooth Guard styling treatment to be used with heat-styling tools, and a Shine Extend Finisher to maximize shine and extend the life of smooth hair. The hair care items are sold exclusively at salons; Mizani is sold in approximately 5,000 doors.

Mitchell-Jackson estimates that the new line will not grow as large as the company’s chemical relaxer business, but it is expected to equal at least half of it. “Overall, there is a $400 million to $600 million potential for the natural hair care market, and this is a segment for that,” she said.

Although chemical relaxers represent half of the company’s business, the launch of ThermaSmooth is expected to grow Mizani’s overall business by 25 percent in its first year, according to Mitchell-Jackson.

To promote the items, the company is offering an in-salon treatment, which will range in price from $50 to $100, depending on the salon. Consumers may also purchase a ThermaSmooth maintenance kit, which includes travel-size bottles of the products, for $20 at salons nationwide.

This story first appeared in the June 23, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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