How much tech goes into hair dye? ColoRight knows for sure

How much tech goes into hair dye? ColoRight knows for sure

Beauty giant L’Oreal has acquired an Israeli firm, with the aim of creating a more believable ‘instant blonde’

Benny Landa at a printing show in Germany, with one of his Nanographic printers (Photo credit: courtesy)
Benny Landa at a printing show in Germany, with one of his Nanographic printers (Photo credit: courtesy)

ColoRight, a Rehovot-based maker of advanced hair coloring technology, has been acquired by cosmetics and beauty industry giant L’Oreal. A “colorist expert” team of engineers, physicists, technicians, application managers, and programmers will continue to work at the company’s current location as a new R&D facility for France’s L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty company, the Israeli company said in a press release.

Operating below the radar since 2002 – almost nothing has been written in the media about the company – the 50-employee ColoRight has developed systems to enhance the color-matching capabilities of hair dye. The company licenses its technology to makers of retail and professional color products, “enabling hair color consumers to achieve precise desired hair color outcomes while virtually eliminating mishaps and unnecessary hair damage,” according to the company’s website (now off-line).

You wouldn’t necessarily think of hair color formula as a high-tech product, but according to ColoRight, it takes a ton of tech to ensure that customers get the shade they are looking for. The company’s R&D encompasses advanced electro-optics, chemistry, programming, algorithmic expertise, and “spectroscopy technology,” in order to figure out what shade of hair coloring matches a person’s natural color.

The system, said ColoRight, figures out user’s “optimal hair color” and designs a formula specifically for them. According to ColoRight, the company has “developed myriad patent-protected algorithms, technologies, designs, devices and applications” for its process.

ColoRight is privately held, and was established by none other than Benny Landa, a pioneer in the digital printing business. Landa designed and built the first digital printer, which became the basis for Indigo, which in 1993 sold the first commercially popular digital printer. The new printing process changed the industry, and companies like Xerox and Canon rushed to market with their own printers. Indigo was eventually bought out by HP in a deal that would eventually be worth nearly a billion dollars. As an HP unit, Indigo went on to dominate the world market; three out of four commercial digital printing presses sold today are made by HP, and the company, now based in Kiryat Gat, is Israel’s second-largest private sector employer.

While the hair color business wouldn’t sound like something a printing industry pro like Landa would be interested in, the two areas actually have a great deal in common. Landa is currently developing a new printing process called nanography, at the heart of which is a new ink, invented by Landa. Comprising pigment particles only tens of nanometers in size (a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide), these nano-pigments are extremely powerful absorbers of light and enable unprecedented image qualities, the company said. As a result, images are ultra-sharp, very glossy, more colorful, and longer-lasting than can be attained with other printing processes.

Those desired outcomes are very similar to the results clients hope for when they leave their hairdresser after getting a new color treatment, and in a statement, ColoRight said that the deal “validates not only the unique capabilities of ColoRight and its technologists, but also the exceptional creativity of Israel’s high tech community.”

ColoRight will become part of L’Oréal’s international Research and Innovation network and will continue to be managed by its CEO, Sagiv Lustig, said Landa, adding that “it is gratifying to see that a company of L’Oréal’s stature has joined the list of leading global businesses that have come to Israel to benefit from the technological leadership that our country has to offer.”

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