The company announced the Colorsonic and Coloright technologies on Monday, ahead of CES 2022. Both products, Colorsonic for consumers and Coloright for hairstylists, address ease-of-use with color application.
Head of the L'Oréal Global Technology Incubator Guive Balooch said they’re particularly excited about making these innovations in the hair coloring space, which the company launched more than a century ago.
“What we've seen in the past 100 years is lots of innovation in the types of formulas and colors to get to the right chemistry,” Balooch told cosmetics design. “But the way of actually applying it on the hair, both at home and in the salon, hasn't really changed at all.”
Colorsonic to improve ease of at-home hair coloring
Balooch said, if one were to ask a consumer their experience with applying at-home hair color 30 or 50 years ago, they would say the same thing as consumers today; It’s messy and correctly mixing the color and developer is challenging.
While many consumers are already dying their hair at home, those concerns can be a barrier to consumer engagement. To resolve those challenges, L'Oréal worked with 400 consumers to develop the Colorsonic technology.
The product includes a color cartridge, with 40 available colors, a mixer that combines the color and developer for the consumer, and a comb applicator that L'Oréal says works for all hair types.
Balooch said Colorsonic isn’t meant to replace salon coloring, but to fix the problems consumers who already color their hair at home face.
“People go to the salon because they like the way that the stylist is applying the color,” he said. “At home, the big challenge is ‘I want to do it myself, but I want it to be easy.' This is for people that color at home today who want the process to be simple, easy and fast.”
The color cartridges are also made from recycled material and reduce plastic use from traditional box dye by 54%, Balooch said. Additionally, because the dye isn’t messy like traditional dye, consumers can use reusable gloves while applying and potentially reduce plastic glove use by 23 tons a year.
The product will be launched into mass-market stores like Target and Walmart in early 2023. It’s important for Colorsonic to launch through the mass-market brand L'Oréal Paris into mass-market retail environments for the innovation to land as more than a niche innovation, Balooch said.
While the pandemic has driven consumers to color their hair at home more often, Balooch said he doesn’t suspect that consumers will completely turn away from at-home treatment when it’s over.
At this time, the technology covers a full dye job and touchups in permanent and semi-permanent colors, and the team hopes to develop a version that accommodates for highlights in later iterations.
AI, AR and data to be integrated into salon coloring with Coloright
The salon-facing Coloright technology is aimed at creating consistency and adding data insights in the hair coloration process.
In developing this product, Balooch said his team wasn’t looking to change the application process, as colorists are experts in that area, but instead solve challenges in determining hair history and creating consistent color, whether “in New York or Shanghai.”
The product includes a hair analyzer, which can determine many characteristics of hair like color history, porosity and level of grey, an augmented reality app that allows the stylist to show the consumer what different colors would look like and a color dispensing machine which includes 1500 options.
L’Oréal will also be unveiling #technology that modernizes the salon haircolor experience. #Coloright is an AI-connected haircolor system for salon stylists that creates on-demand, customized haircolor.#CES2022pic.twitter.com/0INom3XKO6— L'Oréal Groupe (@LOrealGroupe) January 3, 2022
“It took us a long time to get there because there were many different elements to piece together,” Balooch said. “But now we have a system that's fast and simple, and we think can really help the salons empower them in the new age of hair coloration.”
Between the two technologies, he said L'Oréal is looking to introduce problem-solving technology in the hair color space, as opposed to technology for technologies sake.
For Coloright, he said it’s about solving the challenges around getting correct and consistent color while allowing colorists to do what they do best, applying color.
“The best technologies, the best product launches, are those that have had consumer need for a long time,” Balooch said. “It wasn't a technology that we tried to get people to adopt, it was a need that we found that only technology could solve.”
Balooch previously spoke to sister site CosmeticsDesign-Europe about building the company's D2C personalised hair color company Color & Co and how it took 'many years' to tackle customised hair color.