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Beauty

Clairol Color Guards to Offer Hints on Tints

April 09, 1999|BARBARA THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Most of the time, to get a beauty expert's opinion, you have to book an appointment at a high-priced salon. But personal service doesn't have to come at a great cost. For the next few weeks and again in May, you can stop by selected Sav-On or Osco drugstores in Southern California and get hair advice from a Clairol consultant.

"Southern California is a big hair-color market for us," said Stephanie Edwards, customer marketing manager. "Maybe it's because people are a little more open to change and doing something dramatic to their hair color." In Los Angeles, for example, the No. 1 Clairol hair color is Nice 'n Easy Natural Palest Blonde.

For a $15 purchase of Clairol products, a beauty expert will talk about color and styles, offer cuts and styling to a few, and hand out coupons. This campaign helps Clairol "get closer to the consumer and find out what their hair coloring issues are."

Home hair coloring can be tricky for some, so the company offers consumer education that includes a Web page (http://www.Clairol.com). "To maintain some loyalty with our consumers, we need them to be happy with their hair coloring," said Edwards.

Clairol, whose share of the home hair-color market is more than 50%, is generally credited for having created home color treatments for the masses in the late 1950s and making hair color socially acceptable for "nice women."

L'Oreal, the other hair-care giant, markets itself as a glamorous brand. Clairol continues to market its Nice 'n Easy line to the "girl next door." Other Clairol lines include Natural Instincts, Ultra and Revitalique. Revlon also makes a hair-color line, and Australian-based Fudge offers teen-targeted home color.

Fifty percent of women today color their hair, and of those women, 68% color at home, said Clairol's Edwards. Between 1986 and 1996, the number of women who colored at home increased by 23%. More women are coloring their hair because baby boomers are aging and teenagers are more likely to experiment with hair color these days.

It may seem counterintuitive that so many are dying their hair at home when salons and spas today offer such a wide variety of services, from pedicures to self-tanning applications. But Edwards said home color makes perfect sense.

First, she said, you can dye your own hair faster at home. "It takes four or five hours at a salon." And second, the quality of hair dyes has increased tremendously in the last 10 years. And, home color, which sells for less than $10, is cheaper than salon coloring, which starts at around $40.

The drugstore events are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and April 16 and 17. For store locations, call (800) CLAIROL. Spanish-speaking operators are available at the same number. The Web site does not provide information on the store visits.

Times staff writer Barbara Thomas can be reached by e-mail atbarbara.thomas@latimes.com.

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