Clairol’s History

Clairol was founded in 1931 by chemist Lawrence Gelb and his wife, Joan Clair. While travelling in Europe, they discovered a hair coloring technique that was to revolutionize the hair color industry. Hair dyes at that time only coated the hair, but the dye process they found penetrated the shaft, providing a softer, more natural-looking result. The Gelbs brought the product to the United States, and immediately professional hair dressers recognized the benefits of the product. It was soon available in hair salons.

Originally called Instant Clairol Oil Shampoo Tint, the dye was applied in a five-step process. Gelb continued to work on refining the product, with the goal of making hair coloring easy. His work resulted in the development of Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath in 1950, which allowed coloring in a simple one-step process that took only twenty minutes. In 1956, the first home-dye product of Miss Clairol was launched, with the advertisement campaign slogan, “Does she…or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.” This campaign helped turn public opinion about women who dyed their hair from gaudy and cheap to acceptable and wholesome.

Bristol-Meyers purchased Clairol from Lawrence Gelb and his sons in 1959. Clairol hair color became one of the leading hair color products in the United States. Additional advertisement campaigns highlighted the romantic and sexy appeal of hair with slogans including, “The closer he gets, the better she looks,” for the promotional introduction of Nice ‘n Easy, and the question, “Is it true blondes have more fun?” for the launch of Lady Clairol.

Bristol-Myers and Squibb merged in 1989; Proctor and Gamble purchased Clairol from Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2001. Clairol is now the third leading hair color company in the United States. Herbal Essences posted more than one-half billion dollar sales for Proctor and Gamble in 2009.

Clairol’s major brands include permanent dyes, demi-permanent dyes and semi-permanent dyes. Permanent dye contains chemicals that penetrate the hair shaft, remove the natural color and deposit new pigment in the hair. Permanent dye will not wash out, although it may fade over time. Demi-permanent dye does not lighten the natural color, thus the new color cannot be lighter than the original. It is less damaging to the hair. Semi-permanent dye partially penetrates the hair shaft, so will tolerate several washings, but does not cover gray hair as well as permanent dye.

Clairol Brands

  • Permanent: Nice ‘n Easy, Perfect 10, Nice ‘n Easy Gray Solution, Herbal Essences, Balsam Lasting Color, & Hydrience
  • Demi-permanent: Natural Instincts, Natural Instincts for Men, All That Shine, & Brass Free
  • Semi-permanent: Loving Care
  • In addition, highlighting, touch-up and “blonding” products are also sold under the Clairol label. The Herbal Essences line includes shampoos and conditioners that are made for hair that has been color-treated.

    The Gelb family legacy continues in the community through the establishment of the Lawrence M. Gelb Foundation, which provides grants to worthy charities. Proctor and Gamble contributes to several causes around the world that support children, health and education.

    Find Cairol Coupon Codes, Deals & Promotional Discounts

    Clairol coupons are found through their website By registering on-line, exclusive e-mail coupons and special offers are provided by e-mail. In addition, the magazine Rouge is available on-line and by mail, featuring not only beauty tips, but special offers and Clairol coupons.

    Clippable coupons and in-store special offers are occasionally available through grocery stores, general merchandise stores, drug stores and beauty outlets that carry Clairol products. Weekly newspaper supplements often feature coupons for Clairol products. Beauty and hair magazines also feature coupons for Clairol products.

    Several of the Clairol product lines also provide special offers. An on-line newsletter by Herbal Essences provides beauty tips and special offers for its line.

    Proctor and Gamble, the parent corporation of Clairol, features on-line notifications, coupons and special offers through its “Everyday Solutions” program. By registering on-line, Proctor and Gamble provides a free monthly newsletter, notifications of free samples and on-line coupons. Special promotions include a book with coupons valued at $100 for Proctor and Gamble products after submission of receipts totaling $50 in purchases for their products.