Hair Care Market

December 1, 2005

Sales are flat, but consumers continue to favor prestige-like products.

A rebounding U.S. economy  in 2004 was unable to reinvigorate sales of hair care products.  Last year, sales grew less than 1% to $9.5 billion, according to Chicago-based research firm Euromonitor International. The market for hair care products is very mature, making opportunities for value growth limited. Consumers did, however, display greater interest in “mass-tige” and salon-inspired hair care products such as John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette. Though available in mass-market channels, these hair care products mimic offerings sold in salons with regard to quality and packaging, and typically carry retail prices above those of mass-market brands like Pantene or Garnier Fructis.    

However, shifts in spending away from traditional retailers, like drugstores and supermarkets, and into discount channels, like dollar stores and outlets such as Wal-Mart and Target, have kept hair care sales relatively flat in value terms. Salon hair care was the best performing subsector in 2004, although value sales of salon hair care grew slightly more than1%, to $2.9 billion. More and more, consumers traded up from budget priced, mass-market offerings, such as Suave, Salon Selectives and Alberto VO5, to more upscale, higher priced lines such as Physique and L’Oréal Vive, and salon grade lines such as Redken, Paul Mitchell, Frédéric Fekkai, American Crew and TIGI.

In 2004, conditioner sales grew by 1% to just over $1.3 billion. Conditioners benefited from increased interest in soft, undamaged hair with a healthy looking shine. Shampoo sales also rose only 1% in 2004, with sales of $1.7 billion. Consumers showed greater interest in premium-positioned shampoo lines in mass-market channels, and the increasing prevalence of color treated hair among consumers spurred purchases of higher priced shampoos—such as L’Oréal’s ColorVive, Neutrogena Clean for Color and Pantene Color Revival Shampoo—specifically formulated to maintain colored hair.     

Sales of 2-in-1 products grew marginally in 2004, to just under $362 million. This was the second year of growth after two years of decline. Earlier declines stemmed from consumers increasingly upgrading to more expensive shampoos and conditioners, rather than seeking value from a 2-in-1 product.

Squeaky Clean

From the professional salons of NY-based Warren-Tricomi comes PureStrength Three-C System, available for three hair types:  Fine Hair, All Hair and Extremely Dry/Damaged Hair. Ranging in price from $22-28$, each line features a cleanser, a close (the healing stage of the process) and a conditioner with an SPF. The products contain scalp-soothing botanicals such as geranium, nobilis flower, rosemary, bitter cherry, and bergamot.

Ojon Hair Care, Oakville, Ontario debuted Hydrating Thickening formulated specifically for fine, delicate hair.  Ojon Hydrating Thickening includes shampoo, conditioner and thickening spray and all products are formulated with 100% pure Ojon palm nut oil, supported by clinical studies to fortify, rebuild and nourish damaged, color-treated or chemically processed hair.  A portion of the profits from sales goes directly to the Miskito Indian tribes to help preserve their traditional lifestyle, as well as the rainforests of the region.

Some recent launches from Baudelaire, Swanzey, NH include JDO Crème Shampoo in a 6.8oz. bottle, a mild conditioning shampoo with a light clean fragrance, rich in olive oil. In addition is PS shampoo and conditioner, a slightly sweet vervain/linden combination named after one of Baudelaire’s poetic pals. Suggested retail is $13.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Celebrity beauty expert Darrel Redleaf insists trendsetters are getting more carefree haircuts for simpler styling and maintenance.  “I think the future trends in hair is free-er, cleaner, fresher hair. No fuss, no muss...we don’t have a lot of time.”

Smooth & Silky moist cloths-on-a-brush help freshen up hair in between shampoos.
With this in mind, Rapid Brands Corp. from Flint, MI may have the solution to the problem of what to do with hair between shampoos. New Smooth & Silky brush-in treatments provide a quicker, mess-free way to condition, smooth, polish and freshen hair anytime or anywhere.

The new moist cloths-on-a-brush are a versatile and innovative delivery system for many hair care chemistries. The cloths can polish, smooth, shine or color the hair, or—depending on the chemistry—remove excess oils, soil and cigarette-smoke odor. Smooth & Silky is said to quickly clean and refresh hair between shampoos.

Bill McKay, president of Rapid Brands Corp., created the patent-pending system. The brush with cloths can replace traditional brushing habits at bedtime, at wake-up time, before or after blow drying/heat application or for any on-the-go styling.  Mr. McKay claims the brush with peel-away moist cloths delivers a new level of convenience, providing fast, even distribution of many problem-solving chemistries, and enabling users to target areas from the roots to the ends while keeping hands clean and dry.  

According to the company, target demographics are women between the ages of 18-49 with straight, oily or dry processed, frizzy hair. The brush features 28 two-sided moist-cloth surfaces. An easy-to-install, slide-on cartridge refill is also available.


Sexy Hair Concepts, Chatsworth, CA, introduced Fresh Concepts, a hair care system based on botanical ingredients, antioxidants and succulent fruit scents.  It contains vitamins A, E and C along with grape seed, green tea, black walnut, cranberry and ginger root extracts. The line includes Vitamelon Daily shampoo, Rejuicinate Moisture shampoo, Bananarama daily conditioner, Vitalitea Moisture conditioner, RePear reconstructor and Whey Better Leave-In conditioner.

New Clairol Herbal Essences Citrus Lift shampoos, conditioners and styling products are bursting with 100% organic citrus extracts, blended with Vitamin E. Citrus Lift Uplifting shampoo and conditioner for Fine Hair blends essences of pink grapefruit, verbena and bergamot. Citrus Lift Bodifying shampoo and conditioner for normal/dry hair blends refreshing tangerine, lemongrass and aloe. Suggested retail price is $2.99 for a 12oz. bottle.

Tonucia for fine, limp hair from Rene Furterer combines essential oils of orange and lavender to stimulate microcirculation at the root, in turn toning the scalp while cleansing. In order to restore the damaged intercellular cement in fragile, devitalized and aging hair, Tonucia contains a specific complex called Cimentrio and a wheat micro protein to coat and thicken the hair shaft.  The line is comprised of Toning shampoo and Fortifying and Densifying treatment.

Keep A Close Eye on the Scalp

Consumer Reports estimate that there are between 10-12 million cases of head lice per year. Wayne, NJ-based Fairy Tales, makers of all natural, organic hair care for children, developed the Rosemary Repel hair care line. Including shampoo and crème conditioner, the products are packed with rosemary, citronella, lemongrass, tea tree and lavender to help prevent head lice organically.

Men-u offers dandruff control just for men. 
According to the company, the Rosemary Repel line is popular with school nurses, daycare centers and camp directors for obvious reasons. PTA groups have even sold the collection at Back to School nights.

Dandruff is a problem that affects about one out of every three adults, predominately men.  Men-u delivers relief with the concentrated Healthy Hair & Scalp shampoo in a 2.5oz bottle. The product combines the anti-dandruff benefits of piroctone olamine with the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of imidazolidinyl urea. The added benefits of panthenol deliver penetrating moisture deep into the hair shaft and scalp.

Prestige Brands retained the formula but revamped the packaging of its Denorex dandruff shampoos. Offering 50% more product, new look Denorex comes in Daily Protection, Extra Strength and Therapeutic Strength. Each formula contains active ingredients to help relieve itching, flaking and scaling associated with dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Hair Therapy Professional Formula from The Village Company includes three different 12oz. shampoo formulas with complementary conditioners in three specific therapeutic forms. Healthy Hair & Scalp has tea tree oil, rosemary and ylang ylang to control dandruff and relieve dry scalp.  Ice Blue Detoxifying uses peppermint extract, aloe vera and vitamins A, C and E to remove build-up and protect hair against pollutants. Moisture Recovery hydrates with shea butter, chamomile and oat extracts. The entire Hair Therapy line contains the keratin Repair Complex, a blend of herbal extracts designed to strengthen and condition.

Flake Fighter shampoo from Collective Wellbeing, Irwindale, CA, uses all-natural salicylic acid from the bark of the willow tree to combat dandruff. The acid effectively and gently regulates the shedding and renewal of skin cells, thus helping eliminate the causes of dandruff or itchy scalp.

Damage Control

From the damaging effects of the sun to blow dryer burnout, hair takes a beating on a regular basis. In fact, according to Sandy Zappia Collins, marketing manager for shampoos and conditioners at Aveda, over 70% of women claim they have some level of damaged hair.          

Aussie Dual Personality Heat Protector and Leave-In conditioner was created to protect hair from heat styling by infusing it with moisture-rich conditioners and natural botanicals such as aloe, Australian Kangaroo Paw flower extract, wild cherry bark extract and peppermint leaf extract. The formula retails for $2.99-$3.49 at mass market retailers.

Sexy Hair Concepts unveiled new packaging for its Silky Sexy Hair products. New sleek, luminous, purple packaging houses the brand designed to transform thick, course or damaged hair into soft, silken tresses. Sexy Hair Concepts also launched a new and improved formulation for its Remedy Leave-In Conditioner for Dry or Chemically Treated Hair and bigger 10.1fl. oz. sizes for the shampoo and conditioner.

Extreme Rescue Force rinse-out treatment from Redken  provides conditioning to distressed hair.  The 3D repair complex of proteins, ceramides and lipids leave hair feeling treated, fortified, soft and manageable. The 8.5oz. tube retails in salons for $13.95.

Aveda launched the Damage Remedy Restructuring System, which includes daily shampoo and conditioner as well as weekly intensive treatment. The products retail for around $26 and feature such plant-based ingredients as organic quinoa protein, babassu, bergamot and ylang ylang.

ThermaFuse works with the heat of the blow dryer to protect hair.
Thermafuse is a hair care formula designed to work with a blow dryer. It features HeatSmart Complex, a technology that fuses a protein molecule with a silicone molecule to create healthier hair with heat. Treatments include deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, smoothing balms and scalp astringents.

UV Rescue from Pantene is a designed to help safeguard hair and scalp from damaging effects of the sun, sea and pool. UV Rescue After-Sun shampoo deeply cleanses to remove mineral, chlorine and salt deposits. It helps restore depleted moisture while soothing the scalp. UV Rescue After-Sun conditioner provides  conditioning, detangling and shine.

Ethnic Styles Get Their Own Products

According to surveys conducted by The Salon Association, 36% of African-Americans purchase hair care products in salons, compared to 35% of Caucasians and 30% of Hispanics. Moreover, many ethnic salons stock an assortment of both mass-market and premium salon ethnic hair care products for their clients.    

And Euromonitor adds that ethnic hair sales are up, as many ethnic consumers had both an incentive and the financial means to purchase more expensive hair care products. In turn, manufacturers targeted these groups with products specific to the needs of ethnic hair and that reflected changes in popular hairstyles among ethnic men and women.    

Pantene’s Pro-V Extra Straight/Extra Liso collection was created for Hispanic women who prefer polished, extremely straight locks. The collection includes shampoo, conditioner, intensive treatment and combing crème.

Pantene Pro-V Relaxed & Natural is a collection of shampoos, conditioners, hairdressings and stylers designed to meet the needs of women of color.  Created to work on chemically relaxed, color-treated or natural hair, the products combine advanced Pro-Vitamin technology with essential oils such as jojoba seed and coconut. Included in the line are Intensive Moisturizing shampoo, Anti-Dandruff shampoo, Daily Oil Cream moisturizer, Natural Color Radiance shampoo and conditioner, Intensive Moisturizing conditioner and Conditioning Wrap & Set lotion.

Fighting the Fade

According to Angela Cosmai, who works out of Hiro Haraguchi Salon in New York City and is the owner of Angela Cosmai Salon in Stamford, CT, consumers will always look for better and easier ways to care for color-treated hair.  Ease of use and exceptional coverage are what people are after. Once that is achieved, keeping that color for as long as possible is important, but so is the use of more natural products.

Explains Ms. Cosmai, “Today, most hair care products aim to have the least amount of chemicals. Everyone is trying to stay within the boundaries of good health, even though we color and chemically treat our hair. More and more people are concerned with using products that are natural or contain natural properties. Most women, even men, are coloring their hair and most are choosing those products that do not have peroxide or ammonia. As a result, they have fewer visits to the salon, because there is less demarcation and regrowth. Natural hair care is here to stay.”

According to Hair Color Incidence Study (June 2003), 30% of women in the U.S., ages 12 and older, have blonde hair. Of this percentage, three categories of blondes are classified: those who get an all-over color-10%, highlights only-13%, those who don’t color at all-7%. And apparently, Paul Mitchell believes blondes do have more fun, releasing the 21 Flavors of Blonde hair color series which includes light, medium and dark shades of blonde with names such as Almond Crunch, White Chocolate, Kona Coffee, Mango Sherbert and Daiquiri Ice.    

Miss Clairol launched the Miss Clairol Real Reds collection  in four conditioning shades: Reddest Sunset, Reddest Fire, Reddest Copper and Reddest Mahogany. According to Matrix its new SoColor Mochas, launched in November, are the answer to summer blondes. Shades include dark, medium and light mocha brown, as well as dark and medium mocha blonde.

Goldwell’s Glow Mousse offers color
maintenance in five shades.
To protect color between salon treatments, Goldwell added Color Glow color mousse to its Color Glow line. The system provides color maintenance in five shades: Live Blonde, Be Blonde, Feel Copper, Stay Red and Love Brown.

Color by Robert Craig, St. Clair Shores, MI, contains 11 essential ingredients to cover grays, turn grays into highlights, go a few shades darker, tone down highlights or create lowlights. The No More Bad Hair Days kit includes 12 test strips, three shampoos for different water (soft, moderately hard and extremely hard) and a spray-on, leave-in conditioner. Color by Robert Craig retails for $9.99, while The No More Bad Hair Days Kit is available for $19.99.  

The new sulfate-free After Color Management System from Osmo Essence prolongs the life of hair color with salt- and sulfate-free botanical Color Mission, an after color management system with specialized UV filters. The mild Color Mission shampoo gently removes any dulling residue as it strengthens and smoothes the cuticle. The conditioner, enriched with vitamin E, protects the hair from damage caused by free radicals.

Rene Furterer’s revamped Okara Protect Color line combines three active ingredients—okara extract, hamamelis extract and a vitamin E and UVB filter to treat damaged hair, maintain color intensity and protect hair from free radicals.  Products include Protective Radiance shampoo CPF +70, Restructuring and Protective Radiance mask CPF +80 and No-Rinse Detangling 2-Phases conditioner CPF +80.

Redken offers Blonde Glam conditioner and shampoo, which gently cleanse multi-tonal blondes and refine highlights. Blonde Glam Pure Pearl, Fresh Gold and Crystal Flash offer color-depositing deep conditioner that helps neutralize yellow undertones to refresh, brighten and enhance blonde highlights while adding multi-dimensional shine. Prices range from $8.95 to $14.95.

Pantene unveiled the new Pantene Pro-V Blonde Expressions, Brunette Expressions and Red Expressions. Each customized collection is designed to provide long lasting color and make hair color look “lit from within” no matter what the shade.  Suggested retail prices for the products are $6.49 each.

From 2004-2009, sales of colorants are forecast to grow 9% and hair coloring is expected to continue to be an increasingly popular means of self-expression, indicated Euromonitor. And the growing ranks of products that allow U.S. consumers to do a better job of capturing these looks at home should revive colorant sales. Moreover, many brands are launching temporary colorant products that allow consumers to customize highlights and change their hairstyles more easily. These temporary highlighting products target teens, young adults and, increasingly, young men who enjoy changing their look more frequently.

Up & Coming

According to a spokesperson at The Salon Association, many consumers perceive salons as necessary to maintaining wellness and helping to balance their lives. As a result, salon hair care sales are expected to be the strongest growing subsector, rising 14% by 2009. Demand for premium products will no doubt continue, owing to consumer perceptions of their superiority to mass-marketed brands. It is expected that salon brands will more aggressively target two consumer groups who represent exceptional growth opportunities—younger consumers and men, both of whom are expected to increase their spending on premium personal care and grooming products.     

The importance placed on healthy hair by consumers should maintain some value growth for conditioners, despite maturity for the product. Over the 2004-2009 forecast period, Euromonitor predicts both shampoos and conditioners will grow 7%. The availability of most shampoo and conditioner brands in discount channels will constrain value gains for both products.