Hair & Now

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | December 1, 2016

The shampoo and conditioner category is expanding with modern takes on these classic formulations.

Shampoo and conditioner shopping—once a “grab and go” concept of repeatedly locating your favorite brand in the HBA aisle and mindlessly tossing it into the cart along with soaps, razors and lotions—is now a deliberate decision. Do you want a cleansing conditioner or a dry shampoo? Are there nutrients or antioxidants on the ingredients label to fortify locks? Or, on the contrary, are there components that will dry out hair? Is it dye friendly or color enhancing? Is it for daily use or a spa-like treatment mask?

Today’s marketers are upping the ante of their hair care formulas. New delivery forms, exotic components and even age-specific SKUs are flooding the shampoo and conditioner segment to give consumers more choices than ever—and consumers are giving them all a try.

Shampoo sales rose 4.8% to $2.9 billion, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) for total US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass-market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 2, 2016. Regular shampoo accounted for the bulk of sales, with a 2.7% increase to $2.2 billion; sales of dandruff shampoos rose 3.4% to $552.7 million; and shampoo/conditioner combo pack sales soared 51.3% to $174.9 million, according to IRI.

Outside F/D/M, hair conditioner/crème rinse sales climbed 2.4% to $2.1 billion. In the prestige marketplace, shampoo sales rose 17% to $98.9 million, but conditioners fell 11% to $108.1 million for the 12 months ended September 30, 2016, according to research firm The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY.

The rise of  “co-cleansing,” where consumers opt to use a cleansing conditioner to wash their hair instead of shampoo due to rising health and environmental concerns, is a growing trend, noted Matthew Barry, research analyst at Euromonitor International. In his 2016 report “Hair Care in the US”  Barry also found that ethnic hair care is undergoing a major shift.

“Sales of relaxants are falling sharply as black women favor a more natural look,” he said. “However, shampoos, conditioners and styling products aimed at African-Americans are seeing an increase in sales. Some brands are beginning to stop marketing ‘ethnic hair care’ as a separate category entirely and are moving toward targeting specific hair needs as the category has become increasingly complicated due to a rise in the Hispanic, Asian and multiracial populations, all of which have specific hair care needs of their own.”

And, with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, demand has increased for hair care products that treat thinning tresses. Popular formulas include amino acids and keratin, both of which can be removed by washing with regular shampoo, noted Barry. The purchasing habits of Boomers will likely shift in the coming years as this large demographic ages and their hair changes.

Shannon Romanowski, a category manager of health, household, beauty and personal care at Mintel, Chicago, observed that there is opportunity to leverage momentum in men’s hair care.

“The male hair care market has been growing and men tend to believe that they have different needs than women,” she explained.

Romanowski noted that men look for gender specific products, too.

“However, men also want an easy shopping experience so brands need to clearly communicate benefits that are relevant to men so products don’t get overlooked,” she added.

In the Aisles

Today, consumers are “confused and frustrated” shopping the shampoo and conditioner aisles at mass retailers, agreed Fadi Mourad, chief innovation officer of hair care brand Dollar Shave Club, Marina del Rey, CA, which is launching a new product this season.

“Some consumers opt to purchase their products through their hairdresser at the salon for the quality. With our Wanderer line, Dollar Shave Club’s mission is to provide the consumer with the high quality shampoo and conditioner expected from a professional hair carebrand with the convenience of delivering to your door, but at a much lower price.”

Besides convenience and cost savings, clients want scalp nourishment and care within their shampoo and conditioners, said Deborah Gavin, international artistic director for Keratin Complex and owner of Fresh Hair Studio, Southampton, PA.

“They have also become more conscious of seasonal changes that effect their hair and scalp and are looking to purchase different products for these changes,” she said.

According to Gavin, ingredients that are hot right now include plant-based components like aloe vera and shea butter which moisturize and nourish hair.

“Plant oils, natural oils such as argan and coconut are still key, but we are now seeing more natural oils introduced, which are also important aspects of the fragrance of the shampoo and conditioner,” she explained.

Demand is rising too for paraben-free products.

“I also have seen that plants we don’t normally think of for hair care are increasing, like onion!” she asserted. “These types of ingredients have great benefits, such as helping to deter hair loss and increasing scalp health. Personally, I prefer lavender!”

“Shoppers want the latest and greatest top ingredients in shampoos and conditioners,” agreed Jet Rhys, president and co-owner of Jet Rhys Hair, Solana Beach, CA. “They are looking for antioxidants, natural ingredients, ingredients to repair, strengthen and add fullness to the hair…anything similar to what we put in our bodies must be great for our head.”

Rhys told Happi that for color-treated tresses, quinoa complex, barley and soy could strengthen and repair.

Time for Treatments

The modern woman is a multi-tasker seeking to curate her products to reflect her lifestyle, observed Lauren McCowan, lead editorial hairstylist, Evo Hair, Australia.

“Shoppers are looking for high performance, multi-purpose shampoos and conditioners that will give them amazing hair while being time effective,” she told Happi.

“Women want value for the investment into their hair and products that will extend and maintain the longevity of the services they receive from professionals.”

Building on the tradition of pushing creative boundaries, Sebastian Professional is once again bringing innovation to the hair care industry with the introduction of Dark Oil. Developed by Sebastian Professional Global Art Directors Michael Polsinelli and Shay Dempsey after five years of research, this treatment is unlike other hair oils as it contains DiffusX, a self-evaporating technology. The formula is said to disappear into hair with no oily residue along with the natural benefits of sandalwood, cedarwood and argan oil to replenish the hair from the inside out.

“Sebastian Professional’s new Dark Oil is an amazing product, particularly because it is extremely versatile and lightweight,” said Christina McCarver, North America prestige education manager, Sebastian Professional, Atlanta, GA. “It can be used on damp hair as the perfect base to begin any style or applied to dry hair as the perfect finish. Not only does it provide immaculate shine, Dark Oil adds body and leaves hair with weightless texture.”

Aveda, too, ups the tress treatment ante with its new Damage Remedy Split End Repair. Said to instantly draw and bind separated ends back together, the product smoothes and seals hair fibers with repair lasting through the next wash. Damage Remedy Split End Repair also helps prevent new split ends from forming. Nangai oil, sourced from nuts that fall from nangai trees on tropical Malekula island in the South Pacific, envelop the surface of each split end helping draw wayward strands back together. It also features an uplifting scent from certified organic bergamot, mandarin and ylang ylang essential oils.

Suave Professionals found mass appeal with its Coconut Oil hair care formula. Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Oil Treatment penetrates strands for deep nourishment while the Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask is said to instantly deliver 10 times more moisture vs. non-conditioning shampoo for touchably softer hair with just one use. And, the Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Dry Shampoo is said to be ideal to get a fresh look and hair that’s full of body.

Meanwhile, L’Oréal is touting Garnier Whole Blends Refreshing Shampoo with Green Apple & Green Tea Extracts for its invigorating formula that “blooms” with a fresh, crisp fragrance of green apple and green tea. A conditioner enhances the experience, and for extra shine and softness, there’s a Refreshing 5-in-1 leave-in treatment.

Sister brand L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Extraordinary Oil Nourish Shampoo targets those with dry, unhealthy looking hair. It is specially formulated with an oil-complex comprised of amla, coconut, soja, sunflower, argan and chamomile oils to nourish hair. Amla oil repairs coarse hair from root to end; coconut oil strengthens and helps it regrow; soja oil, derived from soybeans, helps provide natural moisture balance; sunflower oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants; and antioxidant-packed argan and chamomile oils help rebuild the hair fiber and leave it shiny and soft. Also new from the brand is L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Extraordinary Oil Nourish Curl Shampoo, designed specifically with the needs of curly haired women in mind. The shampoo includes four of the same oils in the Extraordinary Oil Collection but contains two additional oils unique to the Curls collection, rose and flax oil, which help replenish the definition of curls.

TreSemmé is flaunting its  “professional-quality”  Botanique range, a paraben- and dye-free collection infused with variants such as coconut milk & aloe vera, macadamia & avocado oil and green tea & ginger. A Nourish & Replenish Mist round out the line for spray conditioning anytime, anywhere as well as a Nourish & Replenish Mask treatment. Another Unilever brand, Nexxus, is also boasting a new product—Nexxus New York’s Salon Care Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist—that is designed to extend the life of any style with active ingredients such as pearl extract.

Just as the body needs nourishing ingredients, hair is hungry, too! Clairol’s Hair Food, sold at Target, is inspired by the nutrition found in power foods to fuel your beauty routine with expertly crafted recipes that blend naturally-inspired ingredients and fragrances to revitalize locks, according to the company. Ideal for color-treated hair, Hair Food Color Protect Collection gently cleans and conditions color-treated heads for shine with a fragrance inspired by the fresh, energy-packed ingredients of white nectarine and pear. This collection includes a shampoo that cleans hair to reveal its natural shine and a hydrating conditioner that gives hair the nourishment it craves, according to Clairol. Color Protect Shampoo cleanses the hair with a luxurious lather, using antioxidants to prevent protein loss and protect color for a luminous shine. It is free of silicones, parabens, gluten, mineral oil and dyes. Color Protect Conditioner hydrates dry, dull hair and smooths the hair cuticle to protect color, while amino acids strengthen and help protect hair against future damage. The brand is also rolling out the Hair Food Hair Milk Collection said to smooth and hydrate with an infusion of vanilla and jasmine.

Keune Haircosmetics’ biggest launch of the year caters to treated tresses. Keune Bond Fusion is said to protect, restore and maintain stronger bonds and prevent breakage, while continuously treating and conditioning chemically processed hair. After the salon process, a nourishing maintenance product for use by clients for just a few minutes every five days at home prolongs the continuous results of the Bond Fusion salon treatment.

Rose hip oil is the main component in Farouk Systems’ Color Rose Hip Oil Color Nurture Line, a nourishing maintenance system enriched with antioxidants and low pH levels. The color-preserving line includes CHI Rose Hip Oil Color Nurture Protecting Shampoo, Protecting Conditioner, Repair & Shine Leave-In Tonic, Dry UV Protecting Oil, Dry Shampoo and Recovery Treatment. 

The featured rose hip oil counteracts color fading while silk aids in the vitality of the hair cuticle. Vitamin C and antioxidants simultaneously enhance color and ignite hair rejuvenation. Lastly, the UV protectant shields against harsh UV rays that can diminish hair color. The formula, which features an effervescent fragrance of lychee and raspberry combined with musk and sandalwood, revives color and reinvigorates every strand, said the company.

Also big at Farouk right now is the Esquire Ultimate Grooming Collection, a collaboration with Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Esquire. Now in professional salons nationwide through an exclusive partnership with Beauty Systems Group (BSG), this broad-scale, men’s hair care line is a first for Esquire.

Future Prospects

Segmentation and customization will be in focus for the next several years, observed Barry of Euromonitor.

“Consumers tend to view their hair as unique and will look for a solution which they see as tailored toward their own hair,” he explained. “A major component of this will be growth in the multicultural hair care space, as women of color turn to brands that address their specific needs which they feel mainstream brands currently fail to do.”

The increasing popularity of various anti-shampoo trends, whereby consumers abandon daily shampoo use for one of a variety of alternatives, could shake up the category, noted Barry. This poses a “clear threat” to sales of traditional shampoo but provides an opportunity for cleansing conditioners and dry shampoos, both of which are growing in popularity.

The US multicultural segment is growing at a faster rate than the total population, with Hispanics slated to account for nearly 20% of the population by 2021, found Mintel. According to Rominowski, this is “good news” for the hair care category given the higher involvement of ethnic consumers in the marketplace.

“Hair care brands need to keep the pulse on the ethnic markets so they stay relevant as this influential segment becomes a larger part of the marketplace,” she said.

Gavin of Keratin Complex thinks seasonal trends will become stronger in hair care.  

“Cold weather creates a drier scalp and hair, while warm weather may lead to more oils on scalp and fragile hair, so as the weather changes there are different needs in your at-home hair regime,” she told Happi. Rhys of Jet Rhys Hair sees a progression in organic and natural ingredients as well as catchy marketing.

“We will see luxury brands coming back in a big way with new luxury scents on the rise such as grass, fig and noire; plus a burst of treatments and serums to hydrate hair,” he said. “Also, we will see a change in packaging with colors and shapes just screaming from the shelves.”

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