Thanks to countless hours in the R&D lab, hair care chemists have raised the bar regarding how shampoos and conditioners should perform, feel and smell—and consumers’ expectations have been in lockstep. This once utilitarian category has evolved considerably over the years. Sure, cleansing is a given, but today’s hair care products are also packed with natural ingredients, high-tech complexes and condition-specific formulations that cater to an endless array of individual needs and desires.
“Today’s consumers expect more from their products aside from basic cleansing properties. Foam properties (rich, creamy lather), rich consistency, highly specific and high quality ingredients adapted to all hair structures and needs take shampoo from a basic cleaning product to a superior product,” said Pamela Baum, brand manager, Goldwell Haircare & Styling, KPSS, Inc.
“It is very easy to find shampoos that will simply clean hair, but if it were that easy we could use a bar of soap,” added Rodney Cutler, owner of Cutler/Redken salons, which just recently opened a third location in New York City at the new Gansevoort Park Hotel. “The genius in formulating a superior shampoo is that it will clean and address the needs of the client’s hair type.”
Redken’s Nature’s Rescue is a new line of sulfate- and paraben-free hair care products, due out in January 2011.
Consumers have come to expect these tailored solutions, whether they are buying product at a swank salon or the local CVS. Leading lines in both the mass and professional sectors are offering consumers shampoos and conditioners that address their own “personal”hot buttons—be it care for color-treated locks or dreaded dandruff, a volumizing formulation for thinning hair or taming ingredients for managing uncooperative curls, just to name a few issues.
In mass, for example, more tailored SKUs have been added to the popular L’Oréal Garnier Fructis brand, including a new variant to take on P&G’s market-leading Head & Shoulders, a franchise that commands the lion’s share of the $271.7 million mass market dandruff shampoo category, based on SymphonyIRI data from Oct. 3, 2010. Launched in July, Garnier Fructis’ Anti-Dandruff provides 48-hour dandruff control via natural extracts that purify hair and scalp for a deep clean and vitamin B that strengthens hair. There are four different products, including Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Intense Cleanse, a standout SKU that contains microbeads to scrub hair and scalp for a long-lasting, deep clean.
Also new from the brand is a reformulated Garnier Fructis Color Shield line. The refreshed shampoo and conditioners are said to protect color and prevent dryness via grape seed oil, açai berry and UV filters, according to L’Oréal.
Another color-specific rollout has come from Scruples, the 26-year old Lake-ville, MN salon hair care company. New Scruples Pearlscriptives Platinum Shine Brightening Shampoo maintains blonde and gray hair with a violet colorant that neutralizes unwanted yellow tones. The sulfate-free formula is enriched with chamomile extract to restore shine and enhance light hair, sea kelp extract, and the brand’s Protective Barrier Complex (PBX), an essential blend of ingredients designed to condition and protect hair against environmental damage.
Goldwell, too, is crafting products to address specific hair needs. Its new DualSenses line—an extensive collection of shampoos, specialized conditioners and accompanying styling/leave-in products—covers six segments that KPSS considers to be the most important customer needs such as color treated and curly texture hair.
“Nowadays, the market is way more specific—consumers expect products specifically developed for their hair structure and needs,” Baum said.
DualSenses relies on Goldwell’s Instant Microfluid Technology, an ultra-fine fluid that guarantees the quick and even distribution of the specific formulations—Ultra Volume, Rich Repair, Curly Twist and Scalp Regulation. In addition, the DualSenses line sports two specific families for color-treated hair—“Color” for fine to normal hair and “Color Extra Rich,” designed for “color-treated, particularly demanding hair.”
According to Baum, the success of DualSenses comes from key ingredients that address specific issues from pashmina silk proteins and a special cuticle balancer in the Rich Repair line to pomegranate extract and UV filters in the color care offerings to lime-tree blossom extract in the scalp care range.
Ingredients in Action
Finding the right ingredients that care and protect tresses is critical in the shampoo and conditioner market. There’s continued focus on natural ingredients and high-performance complexes that deliver desired results—and an ongoing effort to remove other materials, such as sulfates and parabens.
Redken moves in that direction next with the 2011 launch of Nature’s Rescue, a collection of paraben-free, sulfate-free and silicone-free hair care essentials. Inspired by the ocean and enriched with plant and marine extracts, the range is formulated with nutrient-rich Sea-Algae Hydracomplex—sea algae, soy protein and aloe vera—to protect and moisturize the hair. The line, which debuts next month, includes Refreshing Detox Shampoo, a sulfate-free cleanser; Cooling Deep Conditioner, an ultra moisturizing conditioner helps rebalance hair while cooling and soothing the scalp; and Refining Sea Polish, billed as a gentle exfoliant enriched with pumice to remove impurities and refine hair’s surface leaving it smooth and shiny.
“Consumers are increasingly becoming ingredient/product savvy and there is an increasing demand for more natural products and ingredients free of parabens and sulfates. We created these products to meet that market demand,” said Jenny Corless, Redken global marketing director. “We were able to substitute these traditional ingredients with more advanced sulfate-free surfactant systems and complexes.”
What’s In & What’s Out
IT&LY Hairfashion’s range includes shampoos without sulfate and sulfate products.
Yet Corless was quick to point out that Nature’s Rescue is not only about what is left out; “it’s also about offering a line that refines and replenishes the hair...and offering a natural sensorial escape through the ocean-inspired fragrance and textures that create the experience when you use the Nature’s Rescue regimen,” she said.
Long focused on the use of natural-based technology in hair care formulation, Aveda’s shampoo and conditioner expertise continues to evolve.
“Aveda formulators have toiled long hours to develop naturally-derived ingredient solutions for all hair types and challenges,” said Pat Peterson, vice president, research and development, product innovation, Aveda.
Peterson called babassu-derived quaternary conditioning ingredients in hair conditioners an “essential part of our formulation toolkit.” In addition, she said Aveda is using starches and gums that work in place of synthetic counterparts like acrylates, as well as naturally-derived materials such as tamanu oil and sunflower oil that add shine and deep condition.
One of the company’s newest rollouts is Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair, a daily leave-in treatment that “instantly repairs” damage and helps protect hair from heat styling. It features a sustainably-sourced, organically-derived quinoa protein that penetrates the shaft to instantly repair damaged hair, wheat protein to protect against thermal damage, and soy-derived oil that detangles hair to protect from breakage during combing. On the shelf since May, it also has an “uplifting” aroma derived from the certified organic essential oils of bergamot, mandarin and ylang ylang, according to Aveda.
At Global Keratin, the ingredients story centers on Juvexin, a special blend of proteins that have been optimized for hair. The company offers a trio of“hair taming formulations” that can be customized for all hair types and textures, plus clarifying shampoo and salon professional conditioning treatment. The conditioner, which should be left on the hair for 20 minutes under a dryer, contains a concentrated dose of Juvexin that coats the hair, adding strength and repairing damage.
“Delivered to the hair in its natural state, keeping critical amino acids and proteins intact, the long protein chains of Juvexin closely mirror the hair’s own keratin structure which allows it to bond with the hair,” said Van Tiboli, founder of the Fort Lauderdale, FL-based company.
For Kronos, size matters. Why? Most shampoos are formulated with molecules that are too large to penetrate the hair cells and follicles, according to the El Segundo, CA firm which claims expertise in “age-corrective” hair care. Kronos relies on T-sfere technology, which encapsulates multiple active ingredients into microscopic spheres clinically proven to reach deep into the scalp, follicle and shaft.The line’s standout SKU is Phyx Overnight Repair, a hair mask that has been the rated No. 1 overnight hair treatment by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
“The delivery system is most important to ensure the ingredients are getting where they need to be,” said Dan Obegi, chief executive officer. “Of course ingredients are important, and Kronos does contain breakthrough ingredient complexes that address all the signs of aging and damaged hair. Other well-known hair care brands boast powerful ingredients as well; however in the end, superior ingredients are only half the battle. If they have no way of penetrating the hair follicle, then it’s simply money down the drain.”
Treat Me Right
Chemists working on conditioners are also addressing more complex issues. In fact, Rolf Mast, R&D team member for salon brand Number 4 High Performance Hair Care, rattled off a list of considerations hair conditioner formulators must address: wet combing, dry combing, shine, softness/touch, low humidity fly-away, high humidity frizz, improvement of hair damage, increasing hair strength, moisturizing, hair volume body, hair sleekness/ straightening, color washout, UV protection for hair damage, UV protection for natural as well as artificial colors, antioxidant protection, special conditioning requirements for other products such as colors, flat irons, and permanents—all of which are compounded by different hair types and textures, which can vary greatly.
“Formulations have to be targeted and sophisticated to meet these different needs. It takes a tremendous amount of formulation work, and testing, as well as a large raw materials budget to be able to best utilize these available materials,” he said.
For example, Mast cited today’s strengthening proteins. “They are highly effective, but have to be used at high enough levels to do the job, and can be costly at those levels. Specialized additives are also available for UV and antioxidant protection. It is important to know which are better for strengthening, which work better with permanent hair colors, and which prevent natural color fading, so again budget and formulation expertise are critical,” Mast said.
At IT&LY Hairfashion, in-house labs have provided essential quantitative evaluation of raw ingredients, which in turn has enabled the salon market hair care company to continually improve its conditioner performance.
“Probably the single greatest advantages that we have seen in recent years is the availability of conditioning agents that are much lighter and far more effective,” said Richard Zucckero, chief executive of IT&LY Hairfashion N.A., Inc., Baden, PA. Whether protein based, moisture based or combination, the advancements from a reparative and maintenance standard is perfectly measurable in scientific terms.”
Zucckero said that variations in such areas such as volumizing or smoothing have progressed exponentially since the days of hot oil treatments and cream rinses.“Antioxidant and UV protective qualities have increased approximately four-fold in the past few years ensuring exceptional color and texture protection,” he said, noting that IT&LY’s ACP Complex—originally rolled out a decade ago and used in its Advanced Color Protection conditioners and its Purity Design shampoo—has been upgraded “no less than three times due to the availability of new technology.”
Science is also driving improved properties in mass market products. Unilever’s Dove franchise, for example, has rolled new Dove Daily Treatment Conditioner and a new Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner System. All are formulated with Fiber Active technology that works to penetrate deep inside the hair strand to help rebind damaged proteins and a patented Micro Moisture serum which helps repair the surface of hair by sealing lifted cuticles to help protect against future damage. The serum targets damaged hair by depositing gel-phase conditioning, cationic polymers and fine silicone droplets in an even layer, leaving hair with a more conditioned, clean feel without weighing it down, according to the company.
Improved conditioning aside, Cutler has just rolled out a product it sees as the future of the conditioner market—Cutler Specialist Cleansing Conditioner.
“Simply put, it is a conditioner that cleanses the hair,” Cutler told Happi, noting that it is should not be confused with 2-in-1 products. “There are no sodium lauryl sulfates or sodium chlorides and zero detergents. No suds and no lather allow the amino fatty acids to stay on the hair shaft. The end result,” he continued, is “‘second-day’ hair day everyday—soft, shiny healthy hair that avoids color fading; a revolutionary new way to cleanse.”
Goldwell’s new DualSesnses line includes shampoo SKUs for color.
Science and Emotion
Technology is making shampoo and conditioner formulations better, and consumers’ hair is sure to benefit. But industry insiders note that it is critical to remember that often what drives success is the individual emotional connection a brand or product makes with consumers.
“Consumer tastes actually do not differ from professionals,” said Zucckero of IT&LY. “While recognition of tangible advances in technology and shifts in consumer preferences tend to present themselves first in the professional market, the driving elements remain smell, feel, lather and cumulative conditioning values. The fact remains that the emotional and sensual responses often override legitimate performance.”
Consumers, for example, may desire a great lathering experience, a specific scent or ethically sourced ingredients—and often will choose a product based on those issues alone—regardless of the actual performance of the product.
“If a significantly lesser performer better addressed the senses and emotions such as one’s desire to conserve or use only vegan ingredients, that product will sell. We saw this with the rise of zero-sulfate shampoos that first offered a misguided sense of safety from non-existent carcinogens and we’ve seen it organic products that are sometimes significantly less effective than their natural and animal friendly counterparts,” Zucckero noted.
To that end, IT&LY offers options. It sells sulfate shampoos and sulfate-free shampoo—and has worked with new technologies to address sensual attributes of the latter, such as the incorporating a flash-foaming additive into the zero-sulfate Advanced Color Protection shampoo to meet lather needs.
At Number 4, too, it appears a marriage of science and emotion has enabled this Southern California-based company to create 100% vegan-, gluten-, sulfate- and paraben-free products, including its best-selling L’eau de Mer Hydrating Shampoo and Hydrating Condition products. At the heart of all Number 4 products are the brand’s Liquid Complexes. These include Liquid Vitality, a mix of açai berry, hibiscus, mangosteen and vitamin C, which has anti-aging properties; Liquid Defense (burdock root, oolong tea, Irish moss and vegetable protein), which lends hydration and strength; Liquid Vibrance(black currant, soy yogurt, algae and yerba mate) for color protection; and Liquid Purity (lemongrass, gooseberry, organic oatmeal, and golden seal), which cleanses and purifies without stripping.
“The requirements of today’s consumer demands specialized and sophisticated formulation work,” said Mast, who said that Number 4 achieves that via extensive research of technologies and by focusing on the end performance rather than the raw materials cost. He continued, “Ultimately we must look to the consumer and their personal needs and desires for the highest performance products.”
Looking for ingredients for your next shampoo or conditioner? An ingredients list follows on page74.