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Industry Veteran Carlos Barreto Launches Cleverman Hair Color System

The former P&G, Coca-Cola and Revlon executive sets his sights on the underserved men's hair color market.

Carlos Barreto, a beauty industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience at P&G, Coca-Cola and Revlon, launches today Cleverman, a men’s hair color solution available direct-to-consumer and via subscription.

Cleverman offers custom creams to be applied for different results intended to look natural on the wearer. The full product range, a cream colorant and cream developer and brushes with short and long bristles, are shipped in every box that gives instructions on how to mix and apply the formula. Gloves and a mixing tray are also shipped with every order to prep and mix the formula.

First, a customer completes a quiz on their hair and beard color and textures and for their desired look before creating a specialized order for the customer available for a one-time purchase of $22.95, or subscription for $9.95 for the first purchase and $18.95 for the following purchases.

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Cleverman also offers shampoos, conditioners and face and beard scrubs made with ingredients such as jojoba in the face and beard scrubs, sunflower for the dry hair cleansing conditioner and barosma betulina in the fine hair cleansing shampoo, and a triple oil system comprised of argan oil, walnut oil and baobab oil found in all hair products. All products are cruelty-free and 100 percent vegan.

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“I noticed there aren’t many players in this for men,” said Barreto, who spent two years working on Cleverman. Barreto had worked on brands such as Braun and Gillette, and led the global marketing for Revlon, including hair color, hair care, color cosmetics and beauty tools.

He said he used hair and beard color products himself and his friends could tell he used it on the very first use — not a good thing. “You need more natural results and that means maybe you don’t want to color all and look as natural as possible,” Barreto added.

When it comes to the number of players in men’s hair color, Just For Men’s Moustache & Beard, Original Formula, Autostop, ControlGX, Touch of Gray and namesake line accounted for $189.3 million in the U.S. in 2020 according to Statista, while SoftSheen Carson and Grecian Formula, as well as Madison Reed, accounted for less than $10 million sales in the category. A Market Research Future report projects the global men’s hair color market to reach $502.84 million by 2025.

“The beauty market in men’s grooming isn’t very developed,” Barreto said. “There’s one competitor in the [men’s hair color] market in retail that has 90 percent market share.”

Barreto said that research studies found that about 20 percent of men color their hair, but 50 percent of men are willing to. In addition, 45 percent of people who visited the Cleverman beta website never colored their hair before.

Barreto hopes to break stigmas associated with hair coloring and create relationships with the consumer.

“People don’t want to be noticed that they color their hair,” Barreto said. “You don’t want to show people you have hair color. You need more natural results and that means maybe you don’t want to color all and look as natural as possible. For men, we want to be more natural and real and that requires more options.”