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The Hair Care Market



New hair care items are appearing just in time for winter's brutal wweather with new twists in step with the latest fashions



Published November 9, 2005
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With winter comes static electricity, and with static comes bad hair days. Men and women are stampeding to the nearest supermarket or salon to find products to help them maintain a new hairstyle or color or prevent unruly flyaways. The $1.76 billion shampoo (up .6%), $1.38 billion hair coloring (up 5.9%) and $1.02 billion conditioner (up 2.6%) markets help to keep them in the clear, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago. All sales figures are for the year ended Sept. 10.

Major brands are banking on recent hair care trends, such as individuality, desired end-looks, hair repair and wild colors to help propel sales.

“The hair care market has seen a lot of activity this past year,” said Tracey Long, supervisor of external relations, Procter & Gamble beauty care. “This is indicative of our need to keep up with consumers’ needs; they always want more.”

Procter & Gamble, No. 1 with shampoo sales of $573 million and $194 million of the conditioner market, according to IRI data, sells popular brands such as Pantene, Vidal Sassoon and the new Physique line, which launched earlier this year. Pantene and Vidal Sassoon both revamped their lines and released them in October, keeping in mind that while every woman has her own style, all women share similar basic needs, such as curls or volume.

“The goals of the lines are to help women find the right products for them,” explained P&G’s Ms. Long. “We revamped the lines in an effort to simplify the selection process, such as what kind of look they want.”

Pantene, the mass market sales leader in shampoo and conditioner with $238 million and $134 million respectively, has ventured out in new bottle collections to give customers selections based on desired end-look. The 40 SKU Pantene line is arranged in five collections: basic, volume, smooth, curl and color care. All five collections offer an aerosol spray, non-aerosol spray, shampoo and conditioner and styling aids.

“Pantene’s new line up is targeted for women who have a hard time diagnosing their hair type,” said Cheri McMaster, senior scientist, Pantene. “Our research found that 50% of women misdiagnose their hair type and choose the wrong formulas for their hair. The line was formed to help customers achieve a particular look and healthy hair—our mantra—with the Pro-Vitamin complex.”

According to Pantene research, women are very in tune with how they want their hair to look. Because individuality will continue to be important, Pantene offers different types of styling aids such as gel, mousse, crème and masks so women can pick and choose what is best for their style. Pantene’s fragrance also changed subtly two years ago, which is more apparent in the new line with all products sharing the same fragrance—a fruity and white floral blend.

“Volume and fullness are also big trends coming out soon,” said Ms. McMaster. “Like Charlie’s Angels, more height, flip and lift are desired, which are often achieved with heat styling. We address the damage of heat styling with Pro-Vitamin protection and conditioning ingredients to protect the hair cuticle.”

Some P&G executives would say the biggest change in the company’s hair care line up is the amount of styling choices.

“The consumer is a chameleon: one day she’s polished, one day she’s tribal,” said Kimberly Long, leading stylist at P&G. “It is exciting to see not just one look, but people celebrating their individuality. We have to provide consumers with products for these various looks.”

P&G introduced the Curl Defining series to maintain curls with Spiral shampoo, conditioner, gel, cream and spray to Physique.

Another line, Mane Manager, launched by Sears’ Circle of Beauty in October, is also designed to work with a woman’s hair texture and type to achieve the desired end-look. The shampoos, conditioners and styling products are segmented by hair texture and type, such as fine or curly.

“Hair care is a burgeoning category and Circle of Beauty needed to fill the gap in the business for proper hair care,” said Marianne Darlak, vice president, marketing, Circle of Beauty. “We know that 75% of women believe that they have hair problems and can’t get the style that they want. Women can learn how to work with the hair they were born with; they can get the style that they want, they just need to use the right products.”

Each formula has specific problem-solving ingredients, such as ginger root for fine hair and avocado oil for dry or color-treated hair. Vitamin complexes are also found across all categories as are essential oils, such as citrus and rosemary, used to increase shine. The fragrance features freesia and sandalwood in a sophisticated floral. The packaging is color-coded by hair texture and has an icon of a woman’s head with the designated hair type, making selection easy.

“I think customers want to know what is right for them. They want the guesswork to be taken out,” said Ms. Darlak.


Just For You
Customization is key to newcomer Love Thy Hair’s success. Created in September by Michael Burdick, the line gives customers a choice in what they want in their shampoos and conditioners, which not only spruce up the hair but aid in styling.

“It’s almost revolutionary the way we purchase items today,” said Mr. Burdick. “Before, customization only existed in cosmetics, but now people are changing the way they purchase other personal care goods. It puts the control into clients’ hands.”

Customers can add different aromatherapies, fragrances and botanicals to enhance volume and bounce, smoothness, shine or moisturization. The base shampoo is super-lathering and has color safe, non-stripping pH levels.

“People like indulgence and quality, and in the market, quality products are lacking,” said Mr. Burdick. “Even when the label says aromatherapy, the essential oil amounts are often minimal. Love Thy Hair uses a lot of oil and botanicals to achieve the full benefits of the products.”

Five existing blends include Think (eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and spearmint) and Squeaky Clean (grapefruit, tangerine, orange and melon). The ingredients are blended in foot-long glass pipettes. Aromatherapy, fragrance and/or botanical blends are drawn into a vial-like needle and then mixed with the base shampoo or conditioner. Love Thy Hair also offers unscented versions with just the base products. Customers can smell different versions at the Salon Rouge, Cherry Hill, NJ.

“When women look at the store shelves, they want to open a product and smell it,” explained Mr. Burdick. “If they like it, they will buy it, especially if it does what it says it will. People are looking for a product that works well but also treats hair problems. They don’t want to use 15 texturizers and styling aids.”

Love Thy Hair can be ordered over the internet at lovethyhair.com, by calling (888) 655-9711 or, for a limited time, in Mr. Burdick’s Salon Rouge. Love Thy Hair’s next projects include a custom-blended leave-in spray conditioner and non-aerosol spray.


A Cure for Stressed Tresses
Heat stress to locks is a major concern of women who use styling equipment such as curlers and blow dryers. Helene Curtis’ Thermasilk, a pioneer of heat-activated hair care products, constantly churns out new innovations. In May, ThermaSilk introduced three new products—Heat Activated Daily Clarifying conditioner (to complement the clarifying shampoo introduced in 1999), Heat Activated Self-Warming Split End Repair treatment and Heat Activated Weightless Frizz Fighter.

“Clarifying conditioner falls into the ‘clarifying’ niche, while the Self Warming Split End Repair treatment falls into the ‘intensive conditioner’ and ‘self warming’ niches,” explained Aaron Silverberg, brand manager, Thermasilk. “The Self Warming Split End Repair treatment was specifically designed to intensively condition split, unmanageable, flyaway ends to achieve healthy, beautiful, heat-styled hair.”

Thermasilk products contain a patented thermal protein formula that includes silk proteins, silk amino acids, essential amino acid arginine, thermal protectant phytantriol and conditioning polymers. These ingredients work with the heat of a blowdryer to improve the condition of the hair.

“When the formula comes in contact with water, it actually warms on its own, enabling the formula’s wheat proteins to more efficiently penetrate hair and replenish lost moisture,” said Mr. Silverberg.

ThermaSilk targets women, ages 25-39, who are more apt to heat-style their hair, according to company research. In addition, Helene Curtis found that 54% of women are concerned that products cause build-up and a majority cite split ends as one of their top concerns.

According to Jon English, owner and chief executive officer of Jon English salons and products, healing hair care is of primary importance in the market. First Aid for Hair, introduced in October, offers salon-goers the chance to repair seriously damaged hair, utilizing aqueous extracts such as yarrow, white birch and other repair-intensive ingredients.

“One of our major markets is corrective care to make hair better,” said Mr. English. “People want improved performance and conditioners as well as style control. But in the land of shampoos, there is little focus on quality conditioning shampoos. Both should be equal.”

First Aid for Hair fills the niche of people who use chemical processes to enhance the hair’s appearance and need increased shine and manageability, he said. Products include Vitamin Intensified Super Shine shampoo and Super Intense conditioner, joining the rest of the Jon English line that includes Miraculous Finishing gloss, a 2-oz. gloss to tame frizz and increase shine and Hair Modernizer, a 2-oz. styling fiber that increases volume, reduces static and eases styling. They are sold online at jonenglishsalons.com or through select salons.

A major trend that Mr. English sees in the market is men and color. The Men’s Room in Minneapolis, an exclusively male Jon English salon, has reported major growth in color as a vital part of men’s grooming needs and individuality.

“As a whole, the hair care market is very sensitive to color,” Mr. English said. “Hair coloring is an area of ever-growing popularity. Consumers feel so free with color; they change it like women change their nails.”


Treating the Gray
L’Oréal, the leader in the color category with $554 million in total sales last year, a 19.5% sales increase from the year prior, is on top of the many emerging trends in the market, from covering gray to men’s new-found interest in hair coloring. For instance, because more baby boomers are starting to go gray, L’Oréal introduced Gray Chic, a color line to brighten gray hair without altering it. The line was designed to help attract older consumers, an important demographic in the hair care market.

“There are three important reasons to focus products towards baby boomers: first, baby boomers are a growing part of the U.S. population; second, their attitude toward beauty is positive and dynamic and lastly there is a new trend in gray in the fashion business—it is seen as a badge of honor,” said Olivier Teccarelli, vice president, marketing, L’Oréal. “Until now, nothing has been available to achieve these aspirations.”

The technology behind Gray Chic involves enhancing gray and getting rid of yellow, a technology that took L’Oréal five years to develop. This is in tune with changing opinions of age. Gucci, for example, has featured ads with gray-haired men and women. Gray Chic’s packaging photos also display older women to talk to its audience.

“Gray Chic not only fills a gap, but fundamentally extends the L’Oréal Paris franchise into a new segment,” Mr. Teccarelli said.

There is, however, a large portion of the population that wants to cover gray, whether it’s the first few strands or something they’ve been contending with for years. According to Mr. Teccarelli, 10 years ago coloring was solely a service to get rid of gray. But now consumers are experimenting with color. L’Oréal’s ColorSpa collection speaks to those who want to both cover gray and experiment with color. ColorSpa for Men was introduced last spring.

“ColorSpa for Men hits a major point—the explosion of the men’s market,” said Mr. Teccarelli. “Both men and women want to feel and look better, and coloration is a visible and easy way to make a fashion statement. But their attitudes are very different. Men under 24 especially use coloration as a statement. This is really new.”

ColorSpa’s gentle, conditioning formula covers gray, enhances natural color and washes out after 24 shampoos. It features ashy tones to prevent a brassy or reddish tint after frequent washing, according company executives. ColorSpa for Men also combines technology, masculine healthy and sporty images and natural-looking colors.

“Hair coloring has changed. It is no longer about covering gray, but about looking beautiful and feeling better,” explained Mr. Teccarelli. “This has also allowed a sales boom in Féria which features fashionable colors.”

L’Oréal’s new Féria Colour Strands QuickShimmer Highlights allows consumers to experiment with highlights. Féria Highlights can either color hair or be staggered with L’Oréal’s patented Strander to apply color to any part of a hairstyle. Overall, Mr. Teccarelli said that as the No. 1 coloring brand in the U.S., L’Oreal looks at contemporary American society and the latest technologies available.

With the recent coloring boom in the fashion industry, salon brand Redken, a subsidiary of L’Oréal, is more concerned with infusing color than covering gray. Redken’s new Metrocolor line does not contain the often-used brown base, but rather pure tone dyes such as orange, red and copper. L’Oréal’s chromatic direct dyes, can be combined in Redken’s four pop colors, or oxidative dyes, in red, red copper, copper red and red violet for super-vibrant color.

“We are the first salon coloring line to address a particular customer segment,” said Shelley Seville, senior vice president, marketing, Redken. “Colorings usually cover gray first, then all products revolve around it, eventually developing fashionable colors. The problem is that it takes longer to color gray hair. In salons, permanent coloring typically takes about 35 minutes; Metrocolor takes 20 minutes.”

“People want individualized color,” Ms. Seville continued. “Our biggest focuses are on salon techniques and products that accompany them. These looks are not something you can create at home.”

The line targets a younger segment, anywhere from teens to men and women in their 40s before they start graying. Redken is currently working on take-home color-enhancing products to maintain color. They contain chromatic direct dyes, focusing on color and companion products to maintain color, shine and vibrance. At the moment, Redken offers Total Recharge’s Color Extend brand to maintain color.

“In salons, customers look for much more customized color that works more with their hair type or their favorite style,” said Ms. Seville. “Coloring is so hot, companies can afford to segment and speak to a particular audience.”

Despite Metrocolor’s target audience, Ms. Seville said gray coverage is still a major concern and will remain so for a long time. There are also more opportunities to develop brands for selective audiences.


Enhancing Color
Earlier this year, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced plans to sell its hair care businesses. But that hasn’t deterred the company from launching a host of new products. To help seal in color, Matrix introduced Biolage Color Care conditioner in salons in August. The conditioner seals the cuticle to lock in color and contains conditioners to detangle and moisturize the hair. Ingredients include panthenol for elasticity and shine, antioxidants and sun filters for UV protection and botanicals such as sunflower seed oil, nettle extract and rosemary oil. Also in the color category, Socolor Ash Ash was launched by Matrix in September to address the need of additional ash when lifting colors in the hair.

“The hair care market is heading toward lifestyle enhancement and self-indulgence,” explained Gail Cohen, director of marketing, Matrix.

Also in August, Matrix introduced Amplify Instant conditioner, a lightweight, leave-in conditioner with a low pH to smooth the cuticle and lock in body with the conjunctive use of Amplify Instant shampoo. Amplify Instant products eliminate frizz, flyaways, static and enrich shine. Amplify Instant also contains wheat and silk amino acids, rice protein and panthenol.

Clairol Professional, another Bristol-Myers Squibb brand, introduced Clairol Professional Complements Intensifiers to enhance pre-lightened hair with bold and bright colors or be mixed with other Clairol Professional products to either intensify or neutralize tone.Complements is distributed through beauty supply stores and is available to stylists through distributors.

“Salon professionals are looking for versatility within a color line,” said Maureen Buckley-O’Hora, senior product manager, Clairol Professional. “Intensifiers can be used in two ways—on bleached hair for dramatic color results (bright blue, red or violet) or in combination with the Complements Permanent, True Tone gel or Long-Lasting Semi-Permanent shades to pump up or cool down color.”

Salon professionals thrive on creativity and are on the lookout for new color trends, especially those related to self-expression and individualism.

“The line’s versatility allows stylists to be creative and use their imagination,” said Ms. Buckley-O’Hora. “Hair color is more than just about covering gray hair, it is viewed as a personality/fashion statement. Even men are becoming more comfortable with hair color as an accessory.”


For a Man’s Man
As men experiment more with color, they notice a lack of products designed specifically for them. For the modern man, few lines truly speak to his adventurous side. That is where Sexy Hair Concepts’ Rumble Boys breaks the mold. The line was introduced in September.

“Men’s hair lines don’t address the extreme sports guy with a playful, fun side,” said Donna Federici, senior vice president, marketing, Sexy Hair Concepts, Chatsworth, CA. “This is the first generation of men who have not gone to war, and at the same time, they are wholly into sports. We are targeting that playful aggression.”

The Rumble Boys line contains Knockout Stimulating shampoo; Heavy-Weight Hold Phosphorescent gel, which glows under black light; High Voltage gel foam that streams out of a siren-like cap like silly string; Shark Attack pomade schtick, an oblong-shaped stick for ease of use and War Paint, mixable temporary hair and body paints packaged in an ammo box. The War Paint in particular follows the recent trend in body marking and tattoos, for that “banker by day, biker by night” look.

“Products in a men’s line must have great aggressive names,” said Ms. Federici. “Men are closet-hair care users, most lines do not honor men. The fragrance is key—Rumble Boys features a clean and crisp amber musk. Products for men must be impeccable; men are less forgiving in the marketplace.”

Rumble Boys appeals to something more subliminal and instinctual, according to Ms. Federici.

“We are getting very emotionally driven,” explained Ms. Federici. “The market covers every possible hair type. We find people today are tapped into their instincts and intuition, and successful products must appeal to their psyche.”

Last October, American Crew introduced Thickening shampoo and conditioner to create a trio with its existing Thickening lotion. This line was created for thin hair.

“Sixty percent of men have thin hair,” said Jim Fogg, marketing director, American Crew. “Thin hair is not an age issue; it can be thin at any age. There was a need in the market for a combination of products to help men with thin hair have thicker-feeling hair.”

The formula features glycerin to swell thin hair shafts. American Crew also focuses formulations on essences that men enjoy, such as tea tree oil and sage extract, which have a masculine scent, stimulate the scalp and cleanse the hair. Men prefer scalp-stimulating products to maintain health of the scalp, skin and hair follicles, according to Mr. Fogg.

“Scent is key to a product’s introduction,” explained Mr. Fogg. “Across-gender shampoos and conditioners do not gain traction with men because they are mostly geared toward women.”

And not only are men coming in droves to buy a good-smelling product, but they are also willing to shell out more.

“Men are becoming more comfortable buying high-end quality products,” said Mr. Fogg. “The general idea now is that men can still be masculine while caring about their looks and grooming. And men just want the facts—what works, what is recommended—they want it straight.”


Big Business
The desire for wild colors and unlimited hairdos leave the market wide open for innovators. This leaves almost no blueprints for manufactueres. And as the market continues to expand as it has in recent years, it is important to recognize there may be no limits to developing products, except which ideas are shared or not shared between creators and manufacturers.

“In this business, it is not about consumption, but expansion,” said Jon English. “We couldn’t ever make enough to serve everyone’s needs; it is more about companies and concepts working together. If you share and contribute, it will benefit consumers and the industry.”


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