In 1996, Joan Lasker was in an enviable position. She took early retirement from her position as Vice President, Corporate Public Relations at L’Oréal USA, and moved her family from New York to Santa Fe. The plan was to ski, play tennis and take long lunches. But the old cosmetic industry siren call soon arose and Joan found herself developing a product that she knew was sorely missing from the market – an instant liquid hair color for touching up gray roots. Wearing jeans and cowboy boots instead of stilettos and power suits, Joan, from her new home in Santa Fe, founded ColorMetrics, launching ColorMark, a liquid temporary hair color to touch up gray roots in 2003. An award winner time and again, the ColorMetrics products have changed the hair industry. Read on for Joan’s success story.
What inspired you to create ColorMark and TouchBack (by ColorMetrics) and how did you get started with the development of hair-color products?
I developed ColorMark and TouchBack because I needed them myself. I color my hair to cover gray. Because I am a brunette, my gray roots are annoyingly visibly in 2 weeks. I can’t color my hair with permanent hair color every other week, and so I looked for products that could temporarily cover my gray between permanent colorings. I began using the crayons and mascaras on the market, but they made my hair look dull and greasy. And, they flaked and rubbed off during the day. Powders were no better, and the spray-on products were hard to control and also flaked off.
What I wanted between permanent colorings was real, temporary hair color that could be applied directly to dry hair to cover gray roots instantly. And, I wanted the hair color to be dispensed from a wide tip marker. Even though I was retired, I had been in the cosmetic industry for 20 years as a Beauty Editor at Vogue, VP of Corporate PR for L’Oréal USA and President of CEW. I decided to try to develop the product myself. I had lots of friends in the industry to help me navigate the areas I didn’t know (which was a lot)!
I started in earnest in 1999 and didn’t get the product out until 2003. I couldn’t get the marker to work 100%, but the formula was great. So, I brought out ColorMark, Real Hair Color in Liquid in 12 shades, while I continued to work on getting the dye to flow through a marker. It took another 4 years of R&D. In 2009, I launched TouchBack, Real Hair Color in a Marker in 8 shades. Both products have multiple patents and have won multiple industry awards. Both products were a first — real hair color that you apply directly to dry hair to cover gray roots instantly. Because they are made with real hair color, they actually bond to the hair, blending seamlessly with permanent hair color, for a totally natural look. And, they won’t flake or rub off when brushed … unlike mascaras, crayons, gels and powders.
How do the two TouchBack and ColorMark products for eliminating gray roots differ?
TouchBack and ColorMark have similar formulas. The real difference is in the application. TouchBack is a marker with a 1/2″ wide Fiber Flow tip that delivers color continuously. ColorMark has a soft-tip applicator that you dip into a bottle and then apply. TouchBack will give you 40-50 applications. ColorMark gives you 30-40 applications… depending on the amount of gray that needs to be covered.
TouchBack retails for $29.95 and ColorMark for $21.95. The customer can decide which product she prefers. The result will be the same.
Who is the typical customer?
ColorMark and TouchBack are for anyone who colors hair to cover gray. Or, it’s a good solution if you are just starting to go gray and want to delay using permanent hair color. Men love it, too. It’s great for sideburns and temples.
How should customers use the TouchBack Plus+ Non-Stop Color System (color and clear versions) to best maintain optimum color protection?
I developed TouchBack Plus because I wanted a complete interlocking system of temporary hair color to keep hair color looking great between permanent colorings – without using any harsh chemicals like ammonia or peroxide.
TouchBack Plus Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner come in 8 shades that coordinate with TouchBack and ColorMark products. Complementing the color products are three clear products: Clear Shampoo, Clear Conditioner and Clear Leave-in Conditioner — for those days when you choose not to add color to the hair, but want the benefits of the fade protection and shine that is built into all of the TouchBack Plus products.
Maximum Color Boost
Color Shampoo + Color Conditioner
Moderate Color Boost
Color Shampoo + Clear Conditioner
or Clear Shampoo + Color Conditioner
Clear Shampoo + Clear Conditioner
No Time to Shower?
Color Leave-In Conditioner or Clear Leave-In Conditioner
The Color Leave-In Conditioner is a first-ever, and patented. You apply the Micro Foam directly to dry hair for an instant color boost. That’s it. You’ve just added color instantly… no waiting, no mess, no showering.
All TouchBack Plus Color products add vibrant color, blend away gray, have high levels of UVA/B sunscreens and antioxidants to safeguard hair and color fidelity, and contain moisturizers to repair damage and boost shine – all without ammonia, peroxide or sulfates.
TouchBack Plus Clear products have all the same color maintenance properties — without the color.
Add the TouchBack Marker Real Hair Color in a Marker or ColorMark Real Hair Color in a Liquid to this system to touch-up gray roots and you have a total Non-Stop Color System to keep hair color looking perfect between colorings.
And, for the brows, there is TouchBack BrowMarker, the patented eyebrow marker for graying or thinning brows– like TouchBack for the hair, BrowMarker is an instant, all-day application that bonds to hair and does not flake or rub off.
What do you love about these products and why will women want to use them?
They are instant. Like most women, I want to keep my hair color looking great, without the use of harsh chemicals. Having a system of real hair color products to keep my color fresh between permanent colorings, without ammonia or peroxide, is something that appeals to everyone who colors their hair.
What’s next for ColorMetrics?
TouchBack is just launching BrowMarker. It’s a fine tip marker that enhances the shape, color and fullness of brows. The patented formula comes in five shades. The Blonde shade was made for women with very thin brows or no brows, due to chemotherapy. The color is a sheer taupe that looks soft and natural when applied directly to the skin.
BrowMarker blends away gray, lasts all day and won’t rub off. I’m always interested in products that hide gray!
With one notable exception: using the same technology, we also make Streekers … Hot Color for Cool Hair. With temporary color in 8 vibrant shades (Ultra Violet is one example), Streekers promises a Wild Weekend with No Commitment. Younger fans of Streekers (and their moms) love it for just that reason: it washes out. So parents’ hair won’t turn gray when they see wild color on their kids. What makes it unique? It’s the only temporary bright color that bonds to the hair and won’t flake off when brushed, leaving the hair soft and the color vibrant.