- L'Oréal on Wednesday announced it was launching a direct-to-consumer brand for at-home hair coloring. Developed in L'Oréal's Technology Incubator, Color&Co gives customers personalized product recommendations through a free video consultation with a certified colorist or an online quiz, the brand's General Manager Olivier Blayac told sister publication Marketing Dive in an interview.
- After discussing hair type, texture, coloring history and goals with the stylist on a desktop or mobile device, customers can order their customized formula for delivery on a one-time or subscription basis. The "Colorboxes" start at $19.90 for one-time orders, while the quiz and video consultation are free. Written instructions and a personalized video tutorial will be uploaded to a customer's online account about 10 minutes after an order is placed, detailing how to apply the product.
- Color&Co is targeting women ages 30 to 50 who are already familiar with at-home hair coloring, as well as men. The DTC brand will market itself through influencers and advertising on social media, namely Facebook, which Blayac said best matches the target audience's preferences. As the brand grows, Color&Co plans to let customers request video consultations with stylists meeting certain criteria, such as someone who speaks Spanish or specializes in curly hair.
With quizzes, live video consultations, application tutorials and packaging tailored to the individual customer, Color&Co is taking personalization to a new level. Parent company L'Oréal has previously invested in technology that lets shoppers virtually sample makeup and beauty products through augmented reality and a mobile device, as well as features that connect customers with professionals for a live consultation. Now, the beauty giant is doubling down on that commitment to bring at-home hair coloring into the modern age through technology and a DTC model.
When someone is working with chemicals that react differently depending on their hair type, there's little room for error, according to Blayac. "This is a high-commitment category. If you don't get it right, you have to live with results you don't like. It's not like using a lipstick," Blayac said.
To understand a customer's unique problems and goals, Color&Co's live consultation aims to take the guesswork out of choosing the right shade through questions the colorists asks — something AR try-ons and online quizzes can't provide. Speaking directly with licensed colorists could give customers higher confidence in their purchasing decisions and better product satisfaction overall. Nearly 99% of beta testers who tried the video feature said they were happy with the results, per Blayac.
Meanwhile, being born out of L'Oréal's Technology Incubator will likely help Color&Co gain awareness at launch, especially as consumers have grown increasingly comfortable with relatively new DTC and product subscription models.
"Had we not used the L'Oréal innovation endorsements, people might be more doubtful of the brand," Blayac said. "Being part of the L'Oréal family is a sign that people can trust us."
However, Color&Co is still competing with other L'Oréal-owned brands, such as Garnier Nutrisse and L'Oréal Paris, as well as DTC hair color brand Madison Reed, which offers AR try-ons and recently landed an exclusive deal to sell its kits at Ulta Beauty stores.