Nice ‘n Easy

Nice ‘n Easy

Nice ’n Easy was the first shampoo-in permanent hair-coloring product for home use. It was introduced in 1965 with the advertising tagline, “The closer he gets, the better you look.”

Manufactured by Clairol (now a division of Procter & Gamble), Nice ’n Easy extended the company’s home hair color product lines, which debuted in 1956 with Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath and the famous “Does she... or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure” advertising campaign.


In the 1950s, just 7% of American women used hair color (or admitted to it). At that time, the common belief was that only chorus girls, actresses and other women of ill-repute altered their natural shade. To help change that attitude, Clairol eschewed celebrities in favor of the average woman for its Miss Clairol and Nice ’n Easy hair color campaigns.

The idea to buck the trend of that era’s advertising style — which emphasized high glamour rather than girl-next-door vignettes — was the brainchild of lead copywriter Shirley Polykoff, whose work on the Clairol hair color campaign was a career high point. In a memo to Clairol, Polykoff, who was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1967, described the Clairol woman as “Cashmere-sweater-over-the-shoulder types. Like larger-than-life-portraits of the proverbial girl on the block who’s a little prettier than your wife and lives in a house slightly nicer than yours.”

Cultural Impact

By the 1970s, more than 40% of American women were coloring their hair. The trend was even notable enough for Time magazine to report in 1967: “So popular is their use that some states no longer require women to list their hair color on their driver’s licenses.”

The advent of home hair color was not simply a beauty-industry breakthrough, says Malcom Gladwell, author of social-psychology bestsellers The Tipping Point and Blink. The attitude of advertisements for hair color products such as Nice ’n Easy represented a turning point in feminist sensibilities. In his 1999 New Yorker article “True Colors,” Gladwell writes that in the space of a phrase [e.g. “Does she... or doesn’t she?” and L’Oreal’s “Because I’m worth it”] copywriters were able to “capture the particular feminist sensibilities of the day.”

In the same article, he quotes a former Clairol executive who recalled the introduction of Clairol’s one-step at-home hair color at the International Beauty Show in New York City in 1956: “This was to the world of hair color what computers were to the world of adding machines.”

Nice ’n Easy Product Line

Today the Nice ’n Easy brand comprises a range of home hair color products that cover gray, maintain roots, highlight and condition hair. In March 2008, Clairol added Nice ’n Easy Perfect 10 to the product line.

Nice ‘n Easy Perfect 10 is a scented formula that colors hair and covers gray in 10 minutes — cutting the time required to color and condition hair in half, as compared with the company’s best-selling permanent color products.

The entire Nice ’n Easy line includes nine products available in a total of 48 shades. The best-selling shade is 106A Natural Dark Neutral Blonde. The best-selling shade for Nice ‘n Easy Root Touch Up is shade #5, Medium Brown. Nice ’n Easy products are:

  • Nice ’n Easy Perfect 10: Ten-minute coverage plus six weekly applications of the Clairol’s ColorSeal Intensive Conditioning Crème.
  • Nice ’n Easy Permanent Color: A blend of three tones that use Clairol’s color-blend technology for highlights, lowlights and gray coverage.
  • Nice ’n Easy Gray Solution: Designed for total gray coverage; includes pretreatment retexturizing solution.
  • Nice ’n Easy Root Touch-Up: Covers root regrowth between colorings.
  • Nice ’n Easy Frost & Tip: For allover highlighting.
  • Nice ’n Easy Hairpainting: To highlight the top layer of hair.
  • Nice ’n Easy Born Blonde: Uniform allover lightening for very light to very dark hair.
  • Nice ’n Easy ColorSeal Conditioner: A conditioning treatment specifically for color-treated hair.


A Nice ’n Easy ad played up actress Renee Zellweger’s dark roots for a tie-in with the 2004 movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The tagline: “Because a girl’s life is better in color.”

Another tagline for Nice ’n Easy includes “You. Only better.”

In the 1990s, television commercials for Nice ’n Easy featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played the modern girl next door, Elaine Benes, on the popular sitcom Seinfeld. This campaign was a departure from “Does she or doesn’t she?” The spot takes place on a New York City bus, where Dreyfus tells a fellow passenger that she’d look great as a blonde and then colors the woman’s hair as other passengers watch and cheer.

Other Nice ’n Easy pitchwomen have included:

  • Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives)
  • Sharon Stone
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace)
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Kim Carnes’s song “Betty Davis Eyes” is featured in a Nice ’n Easy commercial for the U.K.

Eminent fashion photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn shot early ad campaigns for Miss Clairol hair color.

External links

* [ Nice 'n Easy web site]
* [ Clairol Website]
* [ Procter & Gamble Website]
* [ Clairol’s free Color Source magazine]

* [] article from The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell on hair coloring advertising

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