clairolClairol is a Procter and Gamble personal product line of hair coloring products sold in North America, Europe and Australia, with coverage options ranging from temporary, semi-permanent (28washes), permanent (8 weeks) to touch up or roots only options.

This product line began in 1931 when Americans Lawrence and Joan Gelb discovered a revolutionary hair-coloring process while traveling in France; this chemical preparation did not “paint” the hair, but permeated the root and shaft to give a more natural color effect. They brought the product back to the U.S. and shocked hairdressers conventions with their “Instant Clairol Oil Shampoo Tint.” They traveled the nation to lecture on the natural look this tint (never using the word dye) produced for women who were not “ladies of the night,” but the average woman hoping to look younger and more modern. Mrs. Gelb even adopted the alias of Joan Clair to promote the product’s typical customer.

The “Miss Clairol” hair-coloring kit to be used by women in their homes was introduced in 1956, and by 1959, Clairol had become the major company in the U.S. hair-coloring industry. The Clairol ad campaigns of “Does she or doesn’t she?” and “Is it true blondes have more fun?” are some of the most successful slogans in the ad industry. The Gelbs sold the company to Bristol Myers in 1959; Procter and Gamble bought it from Bristol Myers in 2001 and also added the salon-based line, Wella, to the Clairol family in 2003.

Today, Clairol offers hair-coloring products under the brand names Natural Instincts, Nice ’n Easy, Perfect Lights, Balsam, and Herbal Essence, with colors ranging from ebony black to light golden blonde. There are on-line experts trained in all aspects of hair color who can help determine which product and shade is right for any consumer. The latest products allow for personal touch ups of roots between salon visits and managing those pesky gray hairs. The annual sales of the ever-growing Clairol line in 2013 were $1.6 billion.

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