Everything You Need to Know About the First Big Hair Dye Innovation in 100 Years

Since Clairol introduced the first at-home hair colouring kit in 1956, changes in the category have been infrequent and relatively minor. But this year, the company is launching a completely reinvented Nice n’ Easy Hair Colour, making it the first major update in the hair dye molecule in 100 years. The most noticeable difference is the texture. “It’s oil-based and more of a cream, rather than a liquid,” says Clairol Color Director James Corbett. The thicker formula means an easier DIY experience overall, with less drippage and smoother application. “It’s more foolproof,” says Corbett.

Another big change is the green lily scent, made possible thanks to a new ammonia-masking technology. Rather than an immediate burst of ammonia that normally occurs as soon as dye is mixed, resulting in the harsh smell, the new formula only releases ammonia when needed, so it’s able to be masked by fragrance. Finally, after more than 20 years of research, Clairol is introducing a new development in the hair colour category: a molecule called ME+.

During a tour of the Coty R&D headquarters in New Jersey, Jeff Miller, Senior Director of Color, explains that historically, the dyes used in hair colour, PPD (p-phenylenediamine) or PTD (para-toluenediamine), are common allergens that cause severe reactions in up to 1% of customers. ME+, on the other hand, is the first hair dye technology to deliver permanent colour with a “60% reduction in the chance of ever having a reaction,” says Miller, since ME+ doesn’t fit with the body’s T-cell receptors and is therefore less likely to induce an allergic reaction. “It’s a breakthrough for safety.”