May 2008

The Haircolor Dualist User

How to Turn Her Into a Loyal Salon Client

Part Three of Three

By Lesley Bride, P&G Beauty, Hair Research Laboratories

This month we finish up this series on your color clients. For detailed information previously featured on the salon-only color client and home-only color client, go to

Salons traditionally have held a negative attitude toward the home haircolor market, believing it takes business away from them. Now, consumer research from P&G Beauty clearly reveals that the psychographic (personality) and demographic (financial and lifestyle) differences between exclusively salon and exclusively home color users make it unlikely that either would switch their coloring regimen.

However, there is a third category of haircolor user, discovered in a 2005 P&G Beauty Survey among 2,000 women aged 15-75. Some 65 percent of all those surveyed had colored their hair in the past 12 months. Of those that had colored their hair, 52 percent said they exclusively color their hair at home; 28 percent exclusively have their hair colored in a salon; and 20 percent fall into a very interesting category P&G Beauty calls the Dualist Color User.

Why is this 20 percent of haircolor users important to the salon? The reason is that the dualist can increase a salon’s color business by increasing the frequency of their visits. They trust the salon professional’s skill and choose in-salon color when they want a dramatic color change or special process, especially highlights.

They also choose to come for salon color to be pampered and for the convenience of combining cut-and-color appointments. Salons can encourage dualists to come in more often by stressing the lack of mess and the lack of worry about results when they rely on their salon professional. Both factors are often on the minds of dualists when they consider coloring their hair at home.

The dualist is more likely interested in giving her hair a more dramatic and vibrant look than is either the salon-only user, who wants subtle results, or the home-only user, who primarily wants to cover her grey and have control over when she covers it. The dualist comes to the salon to change her look, to express her individuality, to experiment with her hair and have fun. Salon colorists need to prove to her that they know the latest color techniques and can mix a special formula just for her. They need to have photos of more fashion-forward color looks to entice her to come to the salon, rather than coloring at home.

Some ways salons can entice the dualist to frequent the salon include offering special dual-service promotions and making recommendations on better base color for their skin tone. You might host special events in the salon that appeal to their lifestyle, provide the latest fashion information in your newsletter or on personal e-mail outreach. If she believes you and your salon staff really know about the latest high-fashion looks in haircolor, she’ll turn to you to get the looks she seeks. Advertising in local fashion media that appeal to this group can bring the salon more dualists more often. That’s good for the entire salon’s business.

P&G Beauty further divides the dualists into three categories. The first are those who mostly color hair at home, occasionally at a salon. The second are those who color equally at home and at a salon. The final category are those who mostly have their hair colored at a salon, occasionally at home.

Why do they go to the salon? Among those who mostly color at home, it’s all about the occasional opportunity for pampering. Those who mostly have their hair colored in a salon believe that the colorist will be more creative with highlights and brighter colors. They are likely to think that doing color at home is too tedious, except when necessary.

Because salon haircolor is comparatively expensive compared to home color, many dualists will do it at home if they feel it is fine for their needs at the time. One big reason for this group to color at home is the convenience. They said things like “I couldn’t get into my stylist,” or “I had an event and needed my roots done.” Dualists are not likely to change their habits due to product technology, but rather by salons and individual stylists or colorists appealing to their financial and lifestyle needs.
A stylist or colorist has a lot of room for recommendation with all of these haircolor users -- and that can lead to additional salon revenue. Just one-fourth of salon color users color their hair because their stylist recommended it. The numbers of recommendations fall dramatically for dualist or home color users.

By appealing to the haircolor dualist -- stressing convenience, professional skill and creativity, giving advice and recommendations and offering promotional events that meet their specific needs, salons can build their business most easily among dualists.

Lesley Bride has been in Research and Development at P&G Beauty for over 12 years. She has expertise in hair science and works directly with formulation technologists to develop innovative hair care and color products. Bride leads a team that listens to woman’s needs, conducts laboratory experiments and evaluates thousands of prototypes every year.