Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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The pursuit of salon inspired beautiful hair – a global desire.

I’ll never forget the first shampoo commercial I was a part of.  It was for Vidal Sassoon, the “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” brand phenomenon in the late 80’s.  Earlier, Vidal had been crowned the most famous celebrity stylist after his innovative invention of the 5-point cut. This was the asymmetrical bowl cut hairstyle on Peggy Moffitt, a “mod” celebrity model in the 60’s, and became the rage from London to New York overnight.  Vidal’s celebrity was further solidified with the pixie cut he created for Mia Farrow who was dating Frank Sinatra, one of the world’s biggest stars at the time.  She wore this haircut in Rosemary’s Baby and it created a sensation and began a trend.  Vidal who took his salon inspired hair care products to the masses in the 70’s soon provided the desire for all women to join in on this hair revolution.  Remember the brown cylindrical bottle?  He was the first salon stylist to do this, which did not endear him to the salon professionals of the day.

Salon brands go global when large beauty care companies purchase them. In the case of Vidal Sassoon its early exposure in the 70’s was due to its acquisition by Richardson Vicks, the famous makers of the VapoRub a medicine cabinet must during cold season.  By the mid 80’s P&G acquired the company and added Vidal Sassoon, Pantene and Bain de Soliel to its beauty portfolio.   P&G took Vidal Sassoon global in the early 90’s with a version called Ultra Care.  This salon inspired product now provided the world with the new 2 in 1 technology that created the wash ‘n go platform for Pert Plus, another P&G shampoo and conditioner in one brand.

Another salon inspired brand to go global was Unilever’s Salon Selectives. While the brand never originated in salons, Unilever was quick to capitalize on the popularity of the salon inspired products emerging in the mass market.  While salon was not part of the brand equity, the brand had created what was probably the first form of personalization in mass shampoos and conditioners.  Salon Selectives allowed the consumer to purchase different benefits to achieve desired results, shampoo for shine, and conditioner for frizz control.  The wrap up was “For salon beautiful hair like you just walked out of the salon”.

Recently a third brand that seems to be spreading the word globally about its salon heritage and value is TRESemme.  Blasting airwaves with behind the scene shots of models and stylist prepping for the runway the brand platform of salon heritage at an affordable price is very clear or, in their words, “A salon quality-collection created by experts for everyday runway results at home”.

What is the consumer pull that encourages this salon proposition around the world?  It is simply the belief that a salon brand is a better product and that an expert that works in fashion and beauty knows hair better than most.   A stylist recommendation influences a purchase more than anything else in this category.

In my book MR. BEAUTY, women were asked this question when it came to hair care products: What’s more important — price or performance?  Performance leads regardless of price.  Salon “inspired” brands at mass prices will always have some appeal, however, women know better when it comes down to a true salon brand like Redkin or Nexxus.  Even Vidal Sassoon with a heritage based on the first celebrity stylist is no longer in distribution given its move to mass production and diminished product quality.  Women who have converted to salon products know the difference and are able to quickly separate product quality from dollar value.  In essence, the age-old belief that you get what you pay for still hold true regardless of a product’s implied “inspiration”.

To learn more about women’s relationships with shampoos and other beauty product pick up a copy of MR. BEAUTY: AN AFFAIR IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY.

Order your copy today at



One thought on “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

  1. I recently attended an fund-rasining ‘ladies night’ with a friend. This is a large, organized event with a DJ, many local vendors and plenty of high calorie food options. My first priority was the food tasting then we moved on to peruse the many (many) vendors. Thinking back, I would estimate that one-quarter of the vendors were promoting pricey hair care products. I collected the samples. Looking around the diverse crowd, the hair and nails of the women in attendance were perfectly coiffed and freshly manicured. It is easy to understand that woman will put their money above the neck and below the wrists.


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