A Matter of Style

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 10, 2013

Hair styling products, at every price point, keep consumers looking good on top.

From powder used during the era of Marie Antoinette to super stiff spray designed to set “Big Jersey” hair, styling products have a long history of use.

Every year, US consumers purchase a bevy of sprays, gels, mousses, waxes and pomades to achieve and maintain the look they want. Options run the gamut from basic gels and sprays sold at value prices to high-tech formulations—some even created by MIT scientists!

According to IRI’s data for the 52 weeks ended May 19, 2013, US consumers spent $1.0 billion on hair styling/setting gel/mousse and another $713 million on sprays/spritzes in supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains. In the professional side of the business, styling aids were robust in the last year, up 5.3%, according to salon analysis firm Professional Consultants & Resources.

Then…and Now
Brands come and go, but a few names have stood the test of time in hair styling. For starters, there’s Alberto and Vidal.
Created in the mid 1950s by famed stylist Alberto, V05 conditioning hairdressing was formulated with (and named after) five vitamin oils essential for healthy, beautiful hair (E, H, C, B3 and B5). By the time Happi began to cover the hair care category for its growing readership, the product held the No. 1 spot in its category, and over the years, the brand expanded to include shampoo and conditioners and new styling tools, too.

Fast-forward to 2013, VO5 has a new home—Alberto-Culver was acquired by Unilever in 2010, which sold the US rights to VO5 in 2011 to High Ridge Brands—and the line has been updated with the new V05 Salon Series of shampoos, conditioners, styling and treatment products. The new Salon Series is formulated from 100% natural oils (derived from honey, papaya, kiwi, marigold and sweet almond) that penetrate hair from roots-to-ends and work in tandem with VO5’s proprietary five-vitamin formula.

Nina Riley, VP for marketing at VO5 parent company High Ridge Brands, talked about VO5’s place in history of hair styling, and where it is today.

“Hair care and hair styles have undergone nothing short of a revolution over the past 50 years, starting just about the time our brand was born as a treatment for Hollywood starlets,” she told Happi. “Then, women felt tremendous pressure to conform to a few styles and fit in. We’ve coined a phrase for today’s mindset, and that’s ‘Beauty for All,’ a mantra that’s the driving force behind our entire new Salon Series line.”

On store shelves since February, the VO5 Salon Series includes several styling options, such as Anti-Frizz & Shine Styling Cream and Perfect Hold aerosol and non-aerosol hairsprays, mousse and sculpting gel.

“Women today want to look and feel beautiful on their own terms, and neither want nor expect to break the bank to achieve it. Our brand’s founder Alberto was trailblazing in putting the same exact treatment he developed for Hollywood in the hands of women everywhere, at an affordable price.  That’s a legacy our brand has continued to honor with other groundbreaking, salon-quality products like VO5 Hot Oil, and now today, our Salon Series line of shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products.”

Few names in hair styling have as much clout as Vidal Sassoon. Fifty years ago, his iconic bob and five-point cut set a new standard in hairdressing and women everywhere wanted to get that look. As trendy today as it was back then, P&G’s Vidal Sassoon Pro Series recently celebrated the half-century milestone by offering haircuts at a New York City salon at 1963 prices—just $7.

The Vidal Sassoon Pro Series—a new mass-market line that takes its cue from Sassoon’s salon heritage—features a styling and finishing collection that includes Boost & Lift Foaming Air Mousse and Boost & Lift Hairspray, Flexible and Extra Firm Hold Hairspray, Extra Firm Hold Mousse and Mega Firm Hold Gel.

When it comes to hair gel, Dippity-do has been a stalwart in the value category.

Originally targeted for women to set their hair in rollers, Dippity-do’s launch in 1965—a year after Happi made its own debut—coincided with a changing time in pop culture.

According to marketing director Maria Mavrostamos, the 1960s proved to be a pivotal time for men’s hair with the emergence of hot new bands with members who styled their different from the norm.

“Having launched in 1965 during the emergence of popular rock and roll bands, Dippity-do made it possible for everyday women and men to achieve a styled look,” she continued.

From that classic gelled look, Dippity-do does more than Don Draper and Gordon Gecko. Today, the brand’s SKUs let users have more fun and creative with their styling. 

“Dippity-do is constantly innovating and has some great new lines in the works offering every style imaginable, everyday,” said Mavrostamos. This Spring, the brand rolled out new line of Colorgels and Colorpops, offering temporary color to any style while washing out in the shower.  In addition, the brand has refreshed its packaging with a new look and PETE bottles that use 20% less plastic than the original PVC bottles.

“One thing is for sure, Dippity-do will continue to slick, shine, shape and control hair ‘do’s’ for generations to come,” Mavrostamos said.

When it comes to hair styling, what’s old can be new again—just think about the resurgence of waxes and pomades in men’s styling, for example. And there’s even a recent example of previous formulation being revived.

Salon brand Sebastian recognized the power that one of its original formulations wielded. Its Shaper hair spray rocketed to must-have status with stylists soon after it came on the scene in 1985. Sebastian recently brought Shaper back to the North American market in its iconic white can and with the original proven formulation, which had been tweaked over the years. 

The original blend is what made Shaper a favorite among the professionals, according to one industry observer. He told Happi that the original 80% VOC spray formulation had been “all-time favorite of hairdressers, who felt that the 55% VOC spray, per California mandate, was just too wet and too moist especially in humid climates of the South.”

Shaper allows hair to remain re-workable via its unique polymer blend designed for optimal performance without sticky, stiff or clumped results, according to Maria Castan, who is with Procter & Gamble Beauty’s Sci Comm team.  It is available almost everywhere in North America, as the VOC levels in the re-launched spray exceed some state regulations.

Today…and Tomorrow
Hair styling formulators are moving the category forward with products designed to provide greater staying power and address specific conditions.

Nioxin, for example, has unveiled a new and improved styling collection to better meet the needs of individuals concerned with thinning hair.  According to Nioxin, for the 78% of Americans with thinning hair, styling products can often weigh hair down. However, the stylers in Nioxin’s new eight-product collection are designed to be lightweight yet strong on style. The full range includes a Thickening Spray, Thickening Gel, Therm Activ Protector, Bodifying Foam and more.

“The only salon brand with more than 20 years of specialization in thinning hair, Nioxin is rooted in a commitment to provide real answers to help consumers make the most out of the hair they have. Whether the challenge is creating volume, making it look denser, or caring for fragile hair, Nioxin understands that thinning hair needs to be treated differently, and leverages its rich heritage to provide complete solutions,” explained Reuben Carranza, CEO, Wella, the Salon Professional division of P&G.
According to Carranza, the collection harnesses the latest technologies and ingredients to give clients with thinning hair the tools they need to realize the fullest potential of their hair.

Another brand that’s harnessing the latest technology is Living Proof, a fast-growing hair care company that has expanded its collection to include styling products. One of those is Prime, a weightless style extender.

Style in Motion
Clearly, the styling category has undergone major change in the past 50 years, and it continues to evolve as chemists delve into new technologies and ingredients and rework their formulations. As a result, consumers and stylists have access to faster-working products that do much more than set and hold.

“Hair products have come a long way and I believe that keeping the integrity of the hair is key,” said Danny Jelaca, owner and master stylist at Danny Jelaca Salon in Miami Beach, FL. “Hair styles in the past were mainly set on pin curls or rollers and used strong setting lotions and heavy sprays. Styles today are set very fast within minutes with thermal setting, flat irons and curling wands. It’s much more expeditious with styling. Setting sprays are lighter and offer thermal protection and hold and volume and UV. Products have to do it all today.”

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