Meet Color&Co, The L’Oréal Start-Up

Meet Color&Co, the L’Oréal Start-Up That Lets You Video Chat with a Hair Colorist.

As someone who still gives makeovers at slumber parties, my favorite part about beauty rituals has always been the intimacy. Beauty breeds connection — just ask hairstylists, lash experts, and waxers about the conversations they’ve had after a day on the job. But over the past few years of start-ups and app development, innovations in beauty tech seem to cut out the conversation that makes the industry so much fun in the first place.

Some apps offer skin-care advice without the assistance (and expertise) of a dermatologist, others use augmented reality to let you virtually try on products without the friendly beauty rep. Enter Color&Co, a brand-new start-up from L’Oréal. Color&Co is using technology to connect hair colorists to clients via video chat. During a 10-minute conversation, you’ll build a custom, personalized, at-home hair color, which is then delivered to your door.

Color&Co lets users speak with a colorist

Color&Co lets users speak with a colorist for a hair consultation, instantly and for free. All you have to do is fill out a three-question survey about your hair needs, create an account, and you’ll be connected to a trained colorist immediately via your phone or laptop camera.

A Personalized Kit

After a chat about the current status of your hair color and your color goals, the stylist will create a personalized kitthat contains everything you need for an at-home dye job: formula, cream developer, a painting brush, two pairs of gloves, a stain block and stain-erasing wipe, aftercare conditioner, and custom application instructions. With prices that start at just under $20, it’s a pretty good deal for a new, customized hair color. All you have to do is wait for the package to arrive, put on the gloves, and get to work.

Color&Co’s Official Launch

A few days before Color&Co’s official launch, I clicked through the quick survey to connect with cofounder and colorist Deb Rosenberg. She asked me about my natural hair color (dirty blonde), typical color routine (cool blonde highlights using foils), and goals (adding more warm or neutral tones to my overall shade). She even asked detailed questions about my hair health, including whether or not I have gray hairs, and when I got my most recent cut.

With My Hair History

With my hair history in mind, Rosenberg then shared a tab of hair inspiration ideas on my screen. Just as you would look at swatches or celebrity photos with a colorist in person, she guided me through the blonde hair inspiration and tones she had in mind for my new color. And, yes, she says, just like in a salon, customers should feel free to hold up an Instagram screenshot or a page torn from a magazine to the camera if they have a specific look in mind. For me, we selected a wheat blonde to blend into my current highlights while lightening up the overall color. The experience was easy and informative — exactly the vibe you want when attempting something intimidating like at-home color.

The average consultation is 11 minutes, although Rosenberg tells me that there’s no time limit. Your colorist will chat and walk you through for as long as you need to feel prepared for the process, or if you know exactly what you want, you could be done in just a few minutes. Rosenberg also congratulated me on my ability to hold my laptop camera in one place. She’s noticed it’s been tricky to get non-digital natives to frame themselves properly in the webcam, so be sure to teach your mom how to use Photobooth before she calls in.

As exciting as Color&Co is for at-home color, perhaps the most innovative piece — and Rosenberg’s favorite part — is that Color&Co is also a platform for colorists in need of a side hustle. Colorists can apply to be a consultant. Think of it like Uber: Stylists can connect to the platform whenever they have the time and customers will be waiting.

After 20 Years As A Colorist

After 20 years as a colorist, 10 of which were behind the chair, Rosenberg wanted to create an opportunity. “If colorists don’t have someone sitting in their chair, they might not be getting paid. Or, after 20 years of standing, maybe a hairdresser is tired and wants to sit down on Tuesdays. Maybe their kid is going to college and they need to generate extra income,” she explains. Her hope is that stylists stay in their regular jobs, but connect with Color&Co as a side gig.

Right now, Color&Co has 20 stylists covering 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., EST, seven days a week. “We’ve gotten calls at three in the morning,” she says. The goal is to have colorists on the platform at all times. Think of it as a 24/7 (or, right now, 13/7) hair-color hotline.

Click here for more info: