Nearly three decades ago, hair stylist and salon owner Dennis Bernard developed The Color Accelerator,
or TCA. Salon Today recently talked with Dennis to
unravel TCA’s history:

The Value of Time; Dennis Bernard
Dennis Bernard, inventor of TCA.

ST: How did TCA get its start?

I invented the product in 1981, when
I owned Total Image Hair Designers, a
chain of salons in New Jersey. The concept
evolved after my father talked about how
some of the hairdressers in Italy used oils
to condition the hair. We experimented
with my mom, who had color-resistant
hair. It typically took an hour for her to
process. The first time we used the oil, it
took 20 minutes. We changed the formulation
and got it down to 15 minutes on her
super-resistant hair, and her hair felt like
silk. So I started to use the product on my
own customers.

ST: How did that idea evolve into a

DB: Over the years, many of my employees
opened up franchises of my salons or
left to open their own businesses, and they
asked us to give them the TCA formula
so they could use the drops in their own
salon. So, in 1986, we thought it was time
to start marketing the product. From 1986
to 2000, I started handing out samples
when I went to hair shows for my poster
and book business. As stylists began trying
the samples, they wanted to purchase
it for their operations. Gradually, distributors
began to carry the product.

ST: How does the product work?

DB: Drops of oil are mixed directly with
the formula, and can be used with any
manufacturer’s brand. The antioxidants in
TCA work by eliminating the free radicals
that occur when hair color is mixed with
peroxide. This helps the hair shaft to take
the pigmentation faster and infuses hair
with vitamins and nutrients, which protect
the hair and the color, resulting in softer,
shinier hair and eliminating up to 95 percent
of fadeout.

ST: How does the product impact

DB: For example, let’s consider an A stylist,
one I’d say works four days a week,
12 hours each day and is booked solid. If
she can cut down processing time to an
average of 10 minutes, she can squeeze in
another half dozen clients each day and
work the same amount of hours. She can
accommodate more busy clients during
their lunch hour or in between errands. In
fact, we’ve seen mall salons successfully
market it this way—“Get your cut, color
and style during your lunch hour. You bring
your sandwich and soda.”

ST: What does it cost?

DB: A four-ounce bottle of TCA does about
200 heads, which brings the cost down to
pennies per application.

More information about this product can be found at