Spring into New Hair Fashions

November 14, 2005

Some companies focus on men, others natural ingredients. Some break the mold entirely.

Fashion, like nature, blooms each spring. During the season of rebirth, consumers are ready if not eager for the next wave of hairstyling products. Though sales in the hair spray category fell 2% to $407.6 million for the year ended Feb. 23 according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, marketers are optimistic that hair sprays are far from obsolete. IRI reported the gel/mousse category jumped 5.5% to nearly $552 million, stealing some thunder from hair sprays. These figures do not include Wal-Mart sales.

Sixteen percent of consumers said styling gel was the most essential product to maintain their hairstyle, while another 16% cited hair spray, according to the Sally Beauty CelebHeads survey by Harris Interactive. Women were more dependent on hairstyling products than men, and 51% said they “must have” gel, spray or mousse. Hair spray was the most popular product, used by 38% of the respondents.

Marketers say that by offering new product forms and ingredients, consumers will experiment to get the look they want. Most new products are tied into current hairstyle trends.

Take, for instance, Sexy Hair Concepts in Chatsworth, CA. Executives insist fashion is based on the mood and emotion of the times. And this spring, women can’t wait to break out of the winter blues.

“Women have been working hard all winter, doing everything they can to do the job and be a mom,” explained Michael O’Rourke, president and chief executive officer. “In the spring, they start to express themselves again.”

Sexy Hair Concepts launched the Disruptive Texture collection of haircuts, illustrating consumers’ desire to be free and wild and updating last year’s fragmented looks. “Disruptive texture is a statement; it’s planned texture like a fabric, with freer pieces,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

Above right, Sexy Hair Concepts’ Disruptive Texture. Below, MOP’s C-system uses the healing powers of vitamin C to protect hair.

John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) features sexy looks this spring such as Tousled Texture (razored, textured layers), Urban Edge (faux-hawk updo), Classic Sexy (loose, lanky locks) and Serious Bangs (straight fringe with bangs). Modern Organic Products (MOP) executives insist fringe is making a huge comeback, even hanging as low as the lash line. Asymmetry too is finding renewed interest.

Sebastian International is taking a unisex approach to hair with its Fluidity spring/summer haircut collection, emphasizing multifaceted, individual cuts.
Executives said research shows that the gender gap is shrinking, and men and women often request the same cuts, styles and products.

Bumble and bumble executives said sweeps, twists and buns that need strong holding products are in vogue. In July, Bumble and bumble will launch Extra Strength Holding spray, a melange of provitamin B5, triethyl citrate and dimethicone copolyol to create moisturized and flexible updos.

Men Have Beauty Secrets Too
Men are getting a lot of attention among personal care marketers lately, leading to an influx of new products and a boost in sales. Men’s hair preparations jumped 11.1% in 2002 to reach $32 million for the year ended Feb. 22, according to ACNeilsen.

The increase in men’s styling products is due to two concurrent trends in the market. On the one hand, more salon services just for men are popping up. On the other, male celebrities are becoming more outspoken about their grooming routines, which erases the age-old taboo that only women can discuss their beauty secrets.

“Men in general are growing more comfortable with being pampered and are less afraid that it will lessen others’ perception of their masculinity,” explained American Crew marketing manager Austin Baskett.

American Crew Liquid Line, a trio of water-based styling products for men with medium- to long-length hairstyles, debuted in February. The products include Groom, a versatile, defining lotion; Texture, a thickening, separating and volumizing styling spray and Structure, a firm-holding styling lotion. The products provide bend without stiffness, hold without weight and texture with movement.

“The water base allows for easy distribution through the hair, washes out easily and offers a weightless feel that’s perfect for all hair types,” insisted Mr. Baskett.

JPMS added a pomade to the Tea Tree line.

The products contain natural ingredients such as beeswax, sage extract and coconut oil.
JPMS reorganized and color-coded its Tea Tree collection into Body, Care and Groom sections. The products are targeted to men and “ingredient enthusiasts” who enjoy the healing properties of tea tree oil. JPMS has also extended the collection with Tea Tree Grooming pomade and the versatile Tea Tree Hair and Body moisturizer.

“We realized that as people get busier, it is important to have multi-use products that do more than one thing,” explained Nina Kovner, vice president of marketing, JPMS.

JPMS’ Elastic Shaping paste, a versatile cream-based product that can spike, bend, flip, twist, define or separate strands, is also new. Executives said innovative styling forms satisfy hairstylists’ appetites.

“Our primary target is stylists, and we want to excite their creativity and help them do their craft,” Ms. Kovner explained.

White Rain repackaged its The Dry Look line for men, which consists of a grooming gel, hair balm and several hair sprays.

The Art of Shaving line launched several essential oil-based hair grooming products for men such as Hair Gel with Bergamot essential oil and Conditioner with Rosemary essential oil. Executives said the oils were selected for their soothing attributes.

The Choice is Natural
Natural ingredients are embedded in the personal care market due to an increased awareness of well-being. Last summer, Aveda introduced Sap Moss styling spray, an alcohol-free spray containing moisture-intensive sap, Icelandic moss, organic aloe, apricot kernel amino acids and oryzanol (a rice bran-derived UV filter). Executives said the moss is instantly absorbed into the cuticle, helping to prevent frizz and flyaways. In March, Sap Moss Nourishing concentrate was added to the line. This treatment deeply penetrates the hair with nourishing Iceland moss, organic honey, hydrolyzed wheat protein, plant-based emollients and apricot amino acids.

Aveda also offers several items under the new Light Elements line, inspired by lightweight Japanese hairstyles. Launched in January, they include Finishing solution, a lavender water-based light holding product, and Smoothing fluid, an organic jojoba-based, shine enhancing product. In June, Aveda will add the Defining Whip using marshmallow root and organic flaxseed for hair separation and Reviving mist to reactivate styling without washing using a blend of red clover, aloe and essential oils. All products are infused with an organic Per-Fume blend of vetiver, lavender, blonde orange, marjoram, rosemary and cinnamon leaf.

MOP, a division of American Crew well known for its D-Curl Straightening balm and Lemongrass Lift, introduced the new C-system line of sulfate-free products formulated with vitamins C, A and E as well as organic plants and herbs.

Executives said vitamin C is one of the most closely studied and revered nutrients today due to its ability to bolster collagen production, heal wounds and stimulate the immune system. “When partnered with vitamins A and E, it protects them from oxidation and acidifies to promote an optimal pH balance—a valuable combination in hair care products to help maintain the color integrity of dyed and chemically vulnerable hair,” explained Robin Olson, marketing and new product development director, MOP.

Nutrient- and vitamin-rich fruits such as grapefruit, papaya, mango, orange and guava and vegetables such as alfalfa are the foundation of MOP’s C-system. Included in the line are the C-system Clean shampoo, Hydrating shampoo, Moisture complex, Reconstructing treatment, Styling conditioner, Texture lotion, Conditioning mist and Finishing paste.

White Rain added the Pearberry and Freesia Spirit aerosol hair sprays under its Naturals banner for approximately $.99-1.49 each. They are decorated with pastel colors and a retro look, and answer the ever-increasing desire for natural ingredients in the personal care market.

Giga.hold offers several options to get the out-of-bed look.

“Hair spray represents the bulk of the hair styling business, and value is the largest part of that business,” insisted Pete Columbia, vice president of sales, White Rain. “It is important for us to introduce on-trend hair sprays that are incremental to the industry and our business as well.”

The company has also added the White Rain Sunflower line consisting of a shampoo, conditioner and aerosol hair spray.

Teeming with Teenage Products
On the funkier side of fashion, several companies have introduced novel product forms to create unique, updated hairdos, especially for the highly experimental teenage population.

White Rain, the No. 7 hair spray vendor in the U.S. with annual sales of $28 million, recently launched a slew of products targeted at expressive teens. After its successful launch in Canada, executives introduced Dippity-do Techno to the U.S. The products in-clude Dippity-do Techno Radical jelly, 3-D Styling mousse, Stretch putty, Texture & Waves and Shine pomade. Executives said the line’s strongest selling point is its salon-quality formulation at great prices, which range from $2.49-3.49. This is timely in today’s economic climate, executives noted.

“In the health and beauty aids industry, when times are tough, consumers squeeze out of the middle to the high end or low end,” explained Bo Young, vice president of marketing, White Rain. “Consumers budget, but they will also forgo a salon visit and purchase a product that gives salon performance.”

Coupled with the launch of Dippity-do Sport in the U.S. in 2000, White Rain hopes to capture both genders with the unisex Dippity-do Techno line, which creates the popular just-out-of-bed look.

In an effort to reach men ages 12 to 24, White Rain is also sponsoring the ESPN summer games. Mr. Young said his company is using a guerilla marketing strategy to promote products for men. “The men’s category is growing and we are looking for ways to get into that,” he noted.

L.A. Looks, a division of Schwarz-kopf & Dep, is the No. 3 gel/mousse brand in the U.S. mass market with sales of $32.9 million. L.A. Looks recently underwent a makeover with a more high-tech, modern look and offerings that speak to the brand’s 18 to 24-year-old audience. The gel line retained its grippable, curved container and gel bubbles, the logo is an updated “L.A.” and the label’s black and silver coloring was preserved. Executives said the gels overshadowed the other styling items in the collection.

The new 36-SKU line offers five key looks: Straight, X-Treme, Volume, Expressive and Curl, which are now color-coded to make shopping easier. “We looked at what was happening in the marketplace and saw style-specific products were hot,” explained Dana Conlon, senior brand manager, L.A. Looks, Schwarzkopf & Dep. “We also repositioned the look of L.A. Looks as trendy and edgy but approachable.”

Executives said consumers enjoy hairstyle versatility. “Consumers are very experimental and want to try new looks,” noted Ms. Conlon. “They are also highly influenced by what they see in the media.”

The X-Treme line in particular appeals to men. Ms. Conlon noted that L.A. Looks has a high index with men, who are extremely experimental with new product forms. The Straight line, on the other hand, has been popular with women.

The company also overhauled its website, www.lalooks.com, to emphasize the six different looks.

Wild Sexy Hair Metalhead gels put a gleam and color into styled hair.

Shocking Skater Spikes
Sexy Hair Concepts’ Wild Sexy Hair line introduced Metal Head Metallic Holding gel. These colored gels offer potent holding power and shocking colors in six shades: Chrome, Crimson, Copper, Emerald, Indigo and Purple. The gels share a tangy grapefruit and melon fragrance. Executives also noted that these highly reflective products are a natural development in the worlds of hairstyling and fashion. “The consciousness of the times is reflected in the advancement of these products,” insisted the company’s Mr. O’Rourke.

Joico’s ICE hair line introduced a limited edition collection of Spike Colorz shades in Chill Out blue, Re-Mix red and Wicked blue. Perfect for daring teens, these temporary, water-resistant gels create strong hold and intense color. The gels can be washed out with Eraser shampoo and join existing shades of Toxic Green, Voodoo Blue, Panic Purple and others.

Birmingham, MI-based Continental Consumer Products launched a series of Giga.Hold styling products for various hairstyles and lengths such as the Giga.Hold Freeze aerosol hair spray, Giga.Hold Freeze non-aerosol hair spray, Giga.Hold Freeze putty and Giga.Hold Spike & Freeze gel. These products are targeted at teens and twenty-somethings for various looks, such as the so-called Sleeping Beauty, Punk Rock Perky, Form Fitting Flare and Big Hair styles.

“There are a lot of new styles that are very bold and very cutting-edge, which require products that are cutting-edge as well,” insisted John Petchul, president of Continental Consumer Products. “The Freeze hair spray is a technological breakthrough in regard to its holding power, using a dual-resin formula. It has the maximum amount of resin possible in hair sprays for superior hold.”

The company is currently developing a men’s hair care line, but declined to comment on specifics.

L.A. Looks got a new, modernized look.

Not Your Average Spray
Some hip styling products hedge so far away from the traditional hair spray and gel sector, that they have the ability to create new hairdos. “Updated, newer textures cannot be done with gels and hair sprays at all,” insisted Sandra Yu, national technical director, Rusk. “For more modern textures, gums and clays are used.”

Rusk’s unisex Being line recently introduced several new styling aids, which can be used in succession. First, Rusk’s new Being Rubber gum creates untamed raw hairstyles with great shine and flexibility, using ingredients such as panthenol, mineral oil and natural wax. Next, Being Primitive clay reforms and reshapes damp hair with natural emollients, emulsifiers, fixatives and conditioners. Being Shocked adhesive, a bendable yet texturizing styler, finishes the hair with superior shine.

“People are putting a lot more products into their hair to get a separated, jagged and ropey look,” observed Ms. Yu. “The use of flat ironing also separates and smoothes the hair to get the shattered look.”

The line also includes Being Slick pomade, Being Fierce wax, Being Wild paste, Being Strong gel, Being Smooth crème, Being Gutsy crème and Being Flexible hair spray.

Sexy Hair Concepts recently launched Short Sexy Hair Play Dirty Wax Master dry wax with a passion fruit mango scent and Rough & Ready Styling gunk with an apricot mango fragrance for strong, non-greasy hold. Executives said the packaging features both men and women since women often buy products for men.

Health Food for Hair
Some companies are not only focusing on innovative products, but those that can improve the condition of hair. Pittsburgh, PA-based hairstylist Philip Pelusi has unveiled the Phyto-Life Potion, the latest addition to his botanical-based Phyto-Life line of products. In packages described as a mixture between elliptical salon designs, Frank Lloyd Wright and nature, Mr. Pelusi designed the Phyto-Life products in easy-to-handle 10-oz. bottles with an emphasis on well-being.

“We are focusing on wellness, hair health and vitality from the inside out rather than just the outer appearance,” explained Philip Pelusi, owner of Philip Pelusi Phyto-Life products and salons.

The Potion protects the hair, scalp and hair color from UV rays thanks to natural extracts of blackberry, chlorophyllin-copper, guar, grapeseed, matricaria and sage. The formula is also greaseless, smoothing and weightless and does not contain polymers or resins, according to executives.

Saturating the hair with conditioner can protect the hair and scalp against the sun, but many people are too busy to reapply and may not want that slicked-back look, according to Mr. Pelusi.

“Most UV-protective products have the side effect of weighing the hair down,” he said. “But Potion is a weightless product that can be put on the hair anywhere, anytime.”

UV protection is important for both colored hair and Piedmont hair because heated styling utensils wreck havoc on all types of hair. Mr. Pelusi noted more men are dyeing their hair today. Younger men are less color-uninhibited, whereas older men request variations of gray.

“We section the hair and make it look like when they first started to get gray,” Mr. Pelusi asserted. “The contrast keeps the face from looking too washed-out.”

Procter & Gamble’s Pantene Pro-V styling collection has been revamped. The company no longer makes Settique sprays and now offers several hair sprays such as the Classic Hairspray Flexible Hold, Ultra Firm Hold and Unscented sprays, as well as Volumizing Hairspray Flexible Hold and Maximum Hold sprays, Curl Lock Hairspray Flexible Hold spray and Stay Smooth Hairspray Flexible Hold spray. Pantene has also added the Pantene Pro-V Total Control Shaping gel, In Control mousse and Scrunching Curls spray gel. All of the products promise healthy, shiny hair using Pantene’s fortifying Pro-V formula.

Salon product company PureOlogy Serious Colour Care launched Shine-Max Shining smoother, a blend of silicones and the company’s AntiFade heliogenol complex to repair, smooth, strengthen and guard colored and natural hair against UV rays.

Big Hair is Back
In addition to trends for men, natural ingredients and innovative product forms, there are always niches for specific hair concerns. For instance, big hair is back, and there are several new products to prove it. Sexy Hair Concept’s Big Sexy Hair line was extended with four new volumizing products: Dense Thickening spray that volumizes without stickiness; Flip It Over, Full and Wild spray with a special tactile feel for wild tresses; Spray & Play Harder Firm volumizing hair spray with hydrolyzed wheat protein to combat humidity and Big Shine-Shine spray with lemon extract.

“Our No. 1 product is Spray and Play,” said Mr. O’Rourke. “We say, ‘it’s not your mama’s hair spray,’ because most hair sprays haven’t changed in 25 years. It’s fast drying, lightweight, strong-hold and textured.”

Under the Short Sexy line, Sexy Hair Concepts offers the What A Body Ultra Bodifying blowdry gel for non-tacky, soft and shiny hair that is also lifted and infused with an apricot and grapefruit fragrance.

Rusk’s Being Shocked gum helps to create never-before-seen hairdos.

“With shorter hair, women are making a statement, saying ‘I know who I am,’” Mr. O’Rourke explained.

Volumax Shape Plus hair spray is new from Naturelle, a division of Zotos International. The fast-drying fine hair spray can be easily brushed through the hair for touch-ups. As it lifts the hair, it also allows flexibility.

Physique extended its volumizing series with Volume Boosting gel, an alcohol-free gel designed to give hair 20 hours of controlled hold, texture and fullness, according to P&G executives. It performs particularly well in humidity. Each product in the series, which also includes a volumizing shampoo, conditioner, scented and unscented hair spray and foam, costs $7.

Nioxin Research Laboratories’ new Niospray hair spray, formulated for fine or thin-looking hair, protects the hair from dryness and enhances volume. Executives said the hair spray is humidity-resistant and is formulated with Memory Plex II, which retains style memory and increases manageability. Niospray also contains a PABA-free sunscreen. Three versions are also available: Niospray Regular Hold, Extra Hold and Power Hold.

In February, John Frieda launched the Sheer Blonde Volume Enhancing line of products to help plump up and pump up fine and delicate blonde hair. Two shampoos are available (platinum to champagne, and honey to caramel) with a white grape complex, a lightweight Instant detangler and the anti-static Full-Blown Blonde volumizing spray with ultra-light polymers and white grape complex. Executives said the spray is non-darkening and non-yellowing.

Also new is JPMS’ Extra-Body finishing spray that dries and holds instantly without weighing hair down. Executives said the dispenser distributes the product evenly throughout the hair and the product completely rinses out. “The new technology allows the use of this product as a hair spray, but with more flexibility and movement,” explained JPMS’ Ms. Kovner.

Fizzling Out the Frizzies
For those who prefer smooth tresses, there are new options available. Bain de Terre uses the moisturizing qualities of safflower extract in its new All Day Straight Safflower Smoothing gel to create smooth, blow-dried tresses. Other ingredients include heat-activated wheat protein and silicones, as well as a bio-renew complex made of soy protein, gingko biloba and sunflower seed extract that together protect the hair against thermal damage, replenish lost moisture and add sheen.

ISO Prescriptive Stress Defense Leave-in Protection has been repackaged in an ergonomic spray bottle. The spray leaves hair more manageable, detangled and frizz-free, according to executives. The products feature the brand’s Tri-Active Technology, a blend of positively charged vitamins, proteins and moisturizers.

A Swirl of Curls
Curly hair has its own set of issues, requiring specialized products. Manhattan hairstylist Ouidad published Curl Talk, a book for women with untamable tresses. Also known as “The Queen of Curl,” Ouidad offers tips on how to find the right cut for curly hair, the frequency of shampooing and conditioning, the best conditioning and styling treatments and how to blowdry, color and straighten curly hair. For example, she warns women not to rub wet hair with a towel; it will cause additional frizzing.

John Frieda executives said the new Frizz-Ease Dream Curls turns dull waves into defined curls. Using magnesium and conditioners, the spray boosts the natural structure of curls.

The Driving Forces
The hairstyling market is influenced by a variety of factors, from a surge in men’s salon services to personal care trends. But one thing is for sure. Hair makes a first impression.

“It’s been said that 82% of people notice hair first,” noted Mr. Pelusi. “We say if the hair looks good, that’s 90% of the battle.”

Whether it’s an updated hair spray or a new styling category such as gum, consumers are willing to experiment to improve their looks. Hairdressers are at the forefront of this experience, using new products on clients and recommending them. They can make and break many newcomers, as well as inspire the creation of products.

“We continually listen to what is going on, because hairstylists are creative and always in need of unique products,” said JPMS’ Ms. Kovner. “It’s so exciting that there is so much innovation and uniqueness because of these hybrid-type products.”

Looking for a new ingredient for your hair styling product? A list of them can be found on p. 86 in the print version of Happi.