L’Oréal on building D2C brand Color & Co: ‘It took us many years to tackle hair colour’

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Launched over a year ago, Color & Co offers online colourist consultations to help select customised hair dye blends for each individual consumer (Getty Images)
Launched over a year ago, Color & Co offers online colourist consultations to help select customised hair dye blends for each individual consumer (Getty Images)

Related tags: L'oréal, Hair dye, hair colouring, personalised beauty, precision beauty, inclusive beauty, beauty 4.0, beauty tech

L’Oréal’s D2C personalised hair colour company Color & Co took years to develop and plans are now in place to drive it further into the digital beauty world, says the head of L’Oréal’s Tech Incubator.

Launched in May 2019, Color & Co operated as a direct-to-consumer brand offering consumers highly personalised hair dye kits, powered by professional colourists. Consumers accessed live professional consultations online to choose a final colour; this was then blended and packaged as an individual, customised product and delivered to their doorstep.

L’Oréal recently filed an international patent on the robotic system behind the personalised hair dye operations​ at Color & Co.

So, what did the next three to five years have in store for this young, forward-focused brand?

‘Accurate’ hair colour to more mass beauty consumers

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Guive Balooch, head of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator – the team behind the concept – said the goal was to drive Color & Co deeper into the digital beauty world.

“This is the first step. All of us need to feel heard, valued and that we are part of the creation of our product, through our own identities and beauty needs,”​ Balooch said.

The overall aim with this particular brand, he said, was making it “easier for people” ​to choose the right hair colour – traditionally more complex given the overwhelming array of boxes available in retail stores.

The tech behind Color & Co drew on many previous projects, he said – Lancôme’s Shade Finder Le Teint Particulier and at-home dispensing device Perso to name just two – but had still been challenging to perfect. “It took us many years to tackle hair colour​,” Balooch said.

The goal now, he said, was to build out brand reach even further, to engage more consumers online because L’Oréal felt it had “even more responsibility”​ to get highly accurate and personalised beauty products out to the masses. This, he said, was why L’Oréal had opted for a D2C model with Color & Co.

“Now, I think even more than ever, it’s important that we use digital to be able to bring that inclusivity to people. One thing that makes me happy about having all the projects we have is they allow us to learn the right experiences and algorithms, and now we’re at a stage with Perso and Color & Co where we’re really trying to bring those into a more digital world.”

Smart future? Understanding the ‘evolution’ of hair colour

Balooch said as the brand continued to blend and distribute more hair dye kits to consumers, the goal was to eventually empower consumers to take an “evolving approach”​ to their hair colouring and wider hair care needs.

“With Color & Co, if you had the ability to understand the evolution of your hair colour, you could start to adapt your products with so much more ease.”

“…I see beauty becoming this incredible space where physical and digital can provide even more value,”​ he said.

Earlier this month, Balooch discussed his ideas on what the future of personalised beauty might hold in more depth with CosmeticsDesign-Europe, citing inclusivity, sustainability and precision key areas to watch​.

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