Out of everything people missed out on during lockdown, nothing was more discussed than hairdresser visits.
As greys started to appear, many were tempted to give in to the box dye - even if it was just for Zoom meetings. However, if you've ever talked to a hairdresser about box dyes, you will know that they will tell you to steer clear, no matter the circumstance.
Because that's the thing - there are other circumstances you need at home hair dye other than a pandemic. Something that Canberra's Claire Chesterton and Yuki Saito worked out long before COVID.
The husband and wife are behind Miiroko, a salon-quality, home hair dye, which they started working on in 2018, and launched late last year.
"We saw a macro trend, pre-COVID that people were moving from salon hair colour to home hair colour," Saito says.
"It was predominantly for women who live a busy life, and being time-poor, not everyone's got a three, four hours to spare to go to the salon, every four to six weeks, to go and cover greys due to regrowth."
The idea is that Mirroko is for maintenance, for the times you just need a colour touch-up.
For those wanting to touch up greys or give their colour a refresh, the virtual salon - which is manned by trained hairdressers - will help you choose the right colour for your hair, before sending it out, complete with all of the equipment you need, if it's your first time ordering.
But having a hair dye that is salon quality and still being able to ship it, is part of the reason why it took Miiroko from the initial idea to November last year, to launch.
"It took three years to get the formula that we wanted because it's vegan, it's PPD [paraphenylenediamine] free, it's ammonia-free, it's resorcinol free and it's fragrance-free. So we've removed as much as we can and still making it work, basically," Chesterton says.
"And we've also made it so that the developer, the hydrogen peroxide, is 3 per cent. The average is about 6 to 9 per cent. So it's really low, which means that you can ship it and you can fly with it. A lot of hair colour is a dangerous good ... so you can't even fly with it. So we worked on pushing and pushing our suppliers and our manufacturer to get a formula that was as gentle as possible without being a rinse colour, without being something that doesn't cover greys."
Removing all the harsh chemicals also impacted the dye's scent.
Part of the salon experience is to relax, and Chesterton wanted to make sure that wasn't lost in the at-home experience, starting with the dye's lack of fragrance.
The duo also took into consideration the look and feel of the equipment including the protective cape, the mixing bowl, and the application brushes, for this same reason.
"Speaking to hair colour customers, we found out that if they do a home hair colour, one they don't openly talk about it," Saito says.
"And if they had it in the bathroom, they usually just chuck it in the bin or hide it in the cupboard. There was some shame with it. We wanted to create something that people felt comfortable to leave in the bathroom where it's visible."
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