Hair styles, like fashion, have become more adventurous and most consumers have an “anything goes” attitude when styling their hair. Short styles, long voluminous hair and sleek looks can be achieved with the wide variety of hair styling aids available on the market. Where once, consumers had only a choice of mousse, gel or hair spray to achieve their desired look, now they have a pick of nouveau products such as waxes, muds and pomades.
“Both men and women are becoming more adventurous with hair styling,” remarked Shelley Saville, vice president global marketing, Redken. “People shampoo more frequently now and so are more apt to go to extremes with hair styling products. The use of highly textured products such as pastes and waxes along with the traditional gels and sprays is popular, as is the layering of multiple products.”
Women aren’t the only consumers who ar e demanding versatility in their hair styles. More men than ever before are using hair styling products to make their hair appear thicker and fuller and to achieve a desired look. “There has been a lot of growth in male usage, prompted by the shorter, spikier styles,” said Geri Lieberman, director of hair care marketing, Schwarzkopf and Dep. “The male audience seems to want a harder hold so that is why we launched LA Looks Mega Mega Hold gel. Men prefer their hair to have a hard look to it. We also have a thickening gel for men who desire thicker hair.”
According to Information Resources Inc., Chicago, IL, sales of setting gels and mousses rose 7.2% to reach $523.5 million during the 52-week period ended Jan. 30, while hair spray sales decreased 2% to $588.1 million. Schwarzkopf’s LA Looks brand led the gel/mousse category with sales of $36 million, a 15.9% gain, while Procter & Gamble’s Pantene ProV led the spray category with $67.6 million in sales.
Industry experts claim the decline in the spray category is mainly due to little innovation and promotion as well as environmental concerns. California recently passed a law allowing a maximum 55% VOC content in hair sprays. This legislation has forced most companies to add more water to their hair spray formulations.
Manufacturers are developing new technology to boost sales in this segment. “Hair spray will always be an integral part of hair styling for consumers,” said Andrew Gross, hair care category director, Unilever home and personal care, U.S. “Many professional stylists use spray after they’ve used other products to hold the look they just created.”
Sales of Unilever’s Finesse Touch-able Hair Spray climbed 97.8% to reach $19.9 million during the 52-week period ended Jan. 30, according to IRI.
Industry leader Procter & Gamble has introduced five hair sprays as part of its recent line introduction, Physique. P&G executives claim that each spray acts and works differently so hair looks and acts differently. The packaging offers a unique, easy-to-use, anti-clogging nozzle that delivers a targeted mist on wet or dry hair. The formula provides styling polymers that create long lasting bonds between hair strands. The five sprays are: Amplifying spray (aerosol and non-aerosol), Contouring Spray (non-aerosol), Spiral Spray (non-aerosol), Styling Spray (non-aerosol) and Motionless Spray (aerosol). The sprays retail for $7 except for the Styling Spray which costs $3.50.
LA Looks and Dep have traditionally achieved success in the hair setting category by offering high-quality, low-priced products and this success has not changed since the brands were purchased by Schwarzkopf Henkel in 1998. In fact, the brands are booming. The No. 1 gel, LA Looks, commands a 15% market share and Dep, No. 3, accounts for 7% of units sold in the U.S., according to company executives.
Ms. Lieberman said the brands have benefited from demand by men. The brands have unisex appeal and the company has taken pains to learn what men want.
Recent introduction Dep Defining Gel Ultimate Extreme Hold is especially suited for shorter, masculine styles. Also, it provides the hard look needed to achieve the short spiky hair styles preferred by men. Dep Thickening Gel coats the hair to increase the width and diameter of each strand of hair, making thinning hair look full.
A third introduction, L.A. Looks Mega Hold 4 Color Gel targets the consumer population with color treated hair. With more men coloring their hair theses days, Mega Hold 4 Color Gel appeals to them as well. This product contains UV protection to keep hair from facing as well as keratin to strengthen hair.
“Men are becoming much savvier about using styling products,” said Redken’s Ms. Saville. “As men continue to shift to full service salons from the traditional barbershop, they are exposed to more products and styling options. Salons are selling significantly more styling products to men.” She added that the percentage of Redken products sold to men has increased steadily during the past three years.
Consumers want more versatility in their hair styles and manufacturers have responded to these demands by offering a slew of new products that help make hair styling easier.
“Consumers do want greater versatility than before,” observed Mr. Gross of Unilever. “The new products allow consumers to create more natural textured chunky looks than products that were historically used in hair styling. Some of these new styling aids make using hair sprays unnecessary. Stylists get texture and definition without getting spray all over it.”
Unilever recently introduced Finesse Styling Potion, a salon-inspired, non-sticky cream that combines the light hold of a styling gel with the softness of a conditioner to provide styling control and softness in one product. “Styling creams allow you to add texture and definition, offering hold without stickiness, whereas gels are about control and mousses are primarily about added volume,” Mr. Gross said. “Finesse Styling Potion was actually born out of salon usage where stylists were mixing a conditioner with a gel to provide soft control for their clients.”
Redken’s two latest products, Rewind and Traction, also respond to the new trends in hair styling. Rewind is a pliable styling paste that adds a lot of texture to hair and provides a matte sheen. It’s great on short hair to give a Beck-like result and on long hair it can create ribbons or dread-lets, according to the company. Traction is an instant texture spray that gives hair a bit of bulk and grab-ability so that it can be dressed up.
“Styling products have become a viable substitute for creating volume, shape and direction in hair,” Ms. Saville remarked. “Consum-ers are less afraid to experiment with styling products now. Hairdressers have taught their clients how to style their hair at home.”
Ms. Saville said Redken has experienced dynamic growth in two areas of the styling aid segment: multifunctional pro-ducts that provide different results based on how they are used and style-specific products that achieve one desired look. “This activity indicates the consumers are enjoying the increased alternatives created by new products and are changing their day to day styles more frequently,” she opined.
“You can see people want versatility by the products they are buying,” said celebrity hair stylist Michael diCesare. “People don’t want to spend a lot of time.”
Mr. diCesare, who has developed hair styling products based on his experience styling the hair of celebrities on the Late Show with David Letterman, said the popularity of new products such as pomades, waxes and mud, lies in their convenience. “They go into the hair after it’s styled for a real jazzy look in a short amount of time,” he said.
For instance, diCesare Defining Ice, a cross between a pomade and a wax, allow consumers to quickly touch up their hair style.
Styling in the Shower
While styling products are typically used after showering, more companies are focusing on the role of shampoos and conditioners in the styling process. P&G’s Physique contains shampoos, conditioners and styling products grouped into five series, each with a different hair style goal. Consumers can choose the hair style they want, volumized, smooth and contoured, easy styled, moisturized or color treated, to decide which products to use. Each shampoo and conditioner in the Physique line is infused with delicate style enhancers that allow 40% of styling to be completed in the shower. The styling benefits continue with the use of Physique styling products, including mousses, gels, lotions, pomades, creams and the styling sprays.
The Sebastian Collection groups its shampoos and conditioners according to hair style. For instance, Sebastian’s Spandex is a conditioning shampoo that enhances hair’s elasticity and stretches the hair’s fiber.
It is ideal for a head-hugging sleek look or erratic curls. Mohair is a volumizing shampoo that uses texturizers to expand and increase the diameter of the hair’s cortex, creating a thicker look and feel to the hair’s fiber while making it feel like a soft mohair sweater. It helps create voluminous body and soft, touchable hair.
“The shampoo and conditioner create the platform for the hair style,” said Patricia Jansen, group marketing manager, Sebastian. “More people are understanding that hair is a fiber that should be treated the same way as cotton, linen and other fabrics.”
Clinique’s Simple Plan
While department stores account for a big share of color cosmetic and fragrance sales, consumers have not been as quick to look to the prestige market for their hair care needs. A few upscale brands, such as Origins and Aveda, have produced some blockbuster hair care products, but no brand has been able to make a noticeable dent in the segment. Clinique is hoping to change that this summer with the launch of Simple Hair Care System, an 11-product collection.
“Shopping for hair care in the mass market can be confusing,” said Jane Lauder, marketing director new concepts. “There are so many different products available and it is difficult to determine which product will produce the best results for each individual.”
The line includes shampoos, conditioners and five styling products—Defined Curls curl enhancer, Extra Body volumizing spray, Natural Hold Soft-Finish hair spray, Perfectly Straight straightening balm and Perfectly Straight straightening cream.
“We conducted research with women to determine what their top hair concerns were and then developed these products to address those immediate needs.”
Clinique is already the leader in the department store hair care category with its existing line, which was launched in 1978. Still sales remain light compared to the mass market. Simple Hair Care will replace other Clinique hair care products.
The company will support the launch with five million mailers and more than two million bounce back cards in magazines. Furthermore, Clinique’s team of consultants will distribute more than two million samples of every product in the line. The styling products will retail for $13.50.
The rise of the luxury goods market shows that consumers aren’t bashful when it comes to spending a little more on a product that makes them happy. While this mindset seems to have escaped the hair care market for the time being, there is no telling whether or not there’s room for growth in the prestige hair care channels.
As Clinique works on more bringing dollars into the prestige hair care segment, other companies will explore ways to catch the consumers’ attention. For instance, some companies are already offering elements now common in skin care, such as UV protection and antioxidants, in their hair care products.