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Austin stylist and L'Oreal spokesman Ron King will soon open a second salon in Austin. This is a rendering of the INOA station in his new salon, which will be called Ron King.

More than a century ago, L’Oréal Professionnel introduced the first safe hair dye, “Auréale,” created from mineral salts, to the industry. This month, the company debuts INOA, a revolutionary new ammonia-free permanent hair color.

The color contains an odorless alkaline agent called MEA (monoethanolamine) that replaces ammonia, which opens the hair cuticle slightly to allow for colorants and oxidants to penetrate the cortex to start the coloring process. "It's more conditioning for the hair and scalp," says Ron King, L'Oreal spokesperson and owner of Bo Salon in Austin, Texas. "It's like a treatment for the hair," he says.

INOA—which stands for "innovation"—works with the ODS technology (Oil Delivery System): an oil base that increases the active potential of the haircolor system while preserving the hair's natural protective layer twice as much as traditional ammonia-based permanent hair color.

"This is going to stand the color world on end," says King. "There's nothing else like it."

Other color lines have been ammonia-free, says King, but they were semi- or demi-permanent color. "INOA is permanent hair color," he says. "You get the shine and gloss of a demi but the permanence of a permanent color."

When using INOA, the stylist and client will choose the color together at a special "bar" area in the salon. "It's no longer 'The Wizard of Oz' scenario, where the stylist disappears behind a curtain to mix up the potion," says King. It's a collaborative process, he says. "You interact to choose the color."

The cost to the customer for INOA is about $50 to $75 more than a regular color service, says King. "But clients are OK with this because they're getting shine and conditioning. Also, the color doesn't fade as fast because of the oil delivery system," so clients can go a bit longer between services, he says.

King's Bo Salon was one of the first salons in the nation to get the new coloring system; he's been using it on customers since September. Clients, he says, "feel more comfortable coming into the salon and having their hair colored because the color is completely balanced. They love the way it feels on the scalp. They feel like it’s holding the color better than it ever had."


Here's a quick video snippet from L'Oreal's INOA stage at America's Beauty Show:

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