Hair care sales in general recorded upwards of 3% growth in 2020 to $15 billion, far healthier than was anticipated at the onset of the pandemic, according to Kline & Company’s recent Cosmetics & Toiletries USA report. Hair coloring specifically rose 15% to $2 billion for the year.
“Hair color was expected to record relatively strong double-digit gains due to temporary salon closures, which forced many consumers to do their own color,” noted Alyssa Behrendt, senior analyst at Kline. “Boxed color flew off the shelves, and some direct–to–consumer brands focusing on personalization, such as eSalon and Madison Reed, nearly doubled sales, advancing the category by low double digits. These numbers are unprecedented compared to the slight declines recorded in previous years.
Both unisex and women’s hair color sales rose this year, but guys were thinking outside the box and not coloring their hair as much. According to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), hair coloring sales rose 5.7% to $1.71 billion in US supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains for the 52 weeks ended March 21, 2021. Women’s hair coloring climbed 4.9% to $1.4 billion but men’s hair coloring fell 11.2% to $187.2 million. Unisex hair coloring soared 67.1% to $124.5 million.
According to hair care expert Philip Pelusi, low-maintenance natural hues are trending for Spring and Summer 2021 for obvious reasons.
“After six or more months of shutdowns without professional hair colorists available to clients, many have decided to return to a close-to version of their natural color, an enhanced version of their natural color or other low maintenance hues,” he said.
“Sandy blondes and cinnamon brunettes are two of these natural hues that are on trend for Spring and Summer 2021. Many clients are playing it safe in fear of being quarantined from their colorist while others are just loving this return to an easier lower maintenance look.”
It’s been a tough year for the beauty business, as marketers have had to stay on their toes to cater to The New Normal.
“The pandemic has impacted the hair color industry in a way we haven’t experienced since the Great Recession over 12 years ago,” observed Nick Stenson, L’Oréal/Matrix Ambassador and Ulta Beauty senior vice president for store and service operations. “Because we were unable to be in salon, many of our guests felt like they had to take matters into their own hands or they found this as their opportunity to transition to their natural color. This had a big impact when salons slowly started re-opening. Some guests were waiting at the doors for a much-needed color correction, some returned but only for a haircut now and no color, and some guests continue to stay away for safety concerns.”
Stenson, who is based in Chicago, said that there’s been some good to come out of the situation. “So, while the industry has been significantly impacted and forced many salons to close their doors permanently, we’ve all learned a valuable lesson; we have to meet our guests where they are, embrace the changes that come, and find ways to continue to provide value and joy to each guest that sits in our chair,” he said.
A Look to Dye For!
As a result of quarantining, a cornucopia of hair color innovations await consumers looking for at-home hue refreshment. For example, for a quick hair refresher in-between salon visits, Schwarzkopf Color Boost is the ticket. Schwarzkopf, a leader in hair coloration with 120 years of expertise, recently rolled out an in-shower customizable color vibrancy booster that is designed to be mixed with any conditioner to correct color. Schwarzkopf Color Boost is available in Brown, Cool Blonde, Dark Cool, Golden, Icy and Red.
At press time, the Henkel-owned brand was named Product of the Year in the Hair Color category for 2021. Product of the Year is the largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. Winners are chosen through a national survey of 40,000 American shoppers, conducted by Kantar.
“It’s an honor to have Schwarzkopf Color Boost recognized as a 2021 Product of the Year Award winner for hair color,” said Monika Karas-Pfneiszl, marketing director hair, North America at Henkel Beauty Care. “In a heavily saturated market, we’re thrilled to have earned the distinctive Product of the Year seal that’s backed by the votes of over 40,000 everyday consumers. We’re grateful to have such an influential tool that we can leverage in our marketing efforts to help guide shoppers to our innovation that’s topping the category.”
Biolage, a leader in the professional hair care field, introduced ColorBalm, a line of vegan, color-depositing conditioners in seven shades, ranging from natural to bold. The new Biolage ColorBalm Line includes six different color-depositing conditioners, plus a clear shade that can be intermixed with any other shade for infinite possibilities. The ColorBalm Line allows consumers to easily refresh, enhance and condition hair at home without the risk of damage—and allows professionals to provide clients custom shades for at-home upkeep, according to the brand.
“The ColorBalm Line is truly innovative for both professionals and consumers,” said Biolage global ambassador and celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook, Los Angeles. “Most color-depositing products on the market tend to leave hair feeling dry and brittle, making consumers choose between maintaining their color and protecting the integrity of their hair. Biolage ColorBalm is the first at-home, color-depositing treatment I’ve used that provides intense conditioning benefits while nourishing the hair in an easy, damage-free color solution.”
In just five minutes, the vegan-, paraben- and mineral oil-free formula provides hydration and shine, and leaves the hair up to 10 times more conditioned. The collection was developed to work on all hair levels and is suitable for all hair types—from straight and fine to coarse and thick.
For more than 80 years, Roux has taken an innovative approach to creating high quality beauty products for salon professionals and consumers. Enhancing consumers’ color experience since 1932, the brand’s creations can be seen on our cover model this month. It plans to launch new products soon.
Speed is definitely in need now that working from home means Zoom appointments while handling day-to-day tasks at the desk. For color that can conquer after a long work day, Double Lift from Splat is a permanent hair hue that lifts and deposits vibrant root-to-tip color in one transforming step. The bleach-free formula was specifically designed to achieve bold coloring on naturally dark hair without having to lighten it first.
New Splat Conditioning Color Masques are available in three bold colors (purple, teal, fuchsia) to add a boost of color, refresh color or maintain locks. The line includes a colorless Conditioning Gloss Masque (Crystal Clear) that delivers shine and luster to dull strands, according to the indie beauty brand owned by Developlus in Southern California.
An easy and inexpensive way to cover gray root regrowth in-between salon visits, No Gray On-the-Go Permanent Root Touch Up is a 90% natural and gentle full coverage formula available in three shades that cover a spectrum of hair colors for all hair types. The full coverage permanent formula delivers high pigment multidimensional color in just 35 minutes with an easy brush-on application. It is available on Amazon.com.
For henna loyalists, Naturally Brite is a new, 100% plant-based, demi-permanent color from Brite Hair that’s infused with conditioning henna. The pre-mixed formula is designed to color and strengthen hair at the same time, leaving it feeling stronger and looking vibrant, according to the brand. It is exclusive to Target and available in seven different shades: Fire, Auburn, Dark Strawberry Blonde, Copper Rose, Dark Red, Dark Brown, Black.
Umberto Giannini, a UK brand with more than 30 years of experience developing 100% vegan and cruelty-free hair color, entered the US via Target and Target.com with Umberto Giannini Flowerology Hair Color & Temporary Color Masks. Giannini and his partner/co-founder, Claire Shread (the brand’s chief visionary officer), launched UG’s first product line in 1998. Shread, an artist and lifelong vegan, has upheld the commitment of the brand to be 100% cruelty free, vegan, and at the forefront of transparency and sustainability practices, according to the company.
Umberto Giannini Flowerology Naturally Kinder Vegan Colour, an at-home permanent color for 100% gray coverage, is available in five shades. Making a bigger splash right now with shoppers are the brand’s temporary masks which offer customizable hair color that is commitment-free. The 97% natural formulas contain nourishing ingredients for a naturally radiant finish with color that fades in 2-10 washes.
“With fun being so limited this past year, the pastel and bold colors have really taken off! We launched our Flowerology Temporary Colour Masks as a reaction to this desire for semi-permanent fashion colors,” Shread told Happi. “Shades including Rose Peach, Cherry Blossom and Sweet Violet have flown as the trend for hair as an accessory continues to grow. Hair condition is always a primary concern for women and Flowerology Temporary Color Masks use a deep conditioning mask as the base, and for the color, pigments using coconut oil and chamomile flower.”
Especially because of the pandemic, consumers are looking to live healthier lives, but many are concerned about chemicals that can be found in their homes. Tints of Nature is tapping into that zeitgeist as its formulas feature 75% certified organic and 95% naturally-derived ingredients. Tints of Nature does not contain ammonia, parabens, gluten, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, silicone, mineral oils or color stripping salts. All Tints of Nature products are available at Walmart.com and are organic and vegan-friendly, both of which are getting more popular with consumers every year.
“We need to live a greener, chemical-free lifestyle, said Raoul Perfitt, CEO and formulator of Tints of Nature, a UK-based company. “For almost 30 years, Tints of Nature has offered a natural, healthier hair coloring system to replace products filled with harmful chemicals. We were one of the first hair color brands that offered salon-quality results without harmful chemicals, Perfitt said.
“When we first started in the 1990s, women didn’t have a lot of healthy options. We were a trailblazer,” he boasted.
Most formulators would disagree with some ingredients on his list, but according to Perfitt, bad actors in hair color products include ammonia, parabens, gluten, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, silicone, mineral oils and color-stripping salts.
“We developed Tints of Nature without any of these chemicals,” Perfitt said.“Our research and development team searched for natural ingredients that would replace the harmful chemicals that could be dangerous to your skin, hair and health.”
Tints of Nature’s core values also prevent it from testing its products on animals.
“We are a socially-responsible company,” Perfitt added. “We want our customers to be proud that we are cruelty-free and that we make sure that all of our vendors in the supply chain are treated fairly.”
Black-owned indie beauty brand Bouclème embraces natural ingredients and is entering the hair care area with its Color Toning Drops. Founder Michele Scott-Lynch encourages women to embrace their curls and creates the right products to care for them. A plant-powered hair care line, Bouclème’s Color Toning Drops is said to banish brassiness and bring back the vibrance of natural and dyed color. The 98.7% natural formula is enriched with deep indigo hues suitable for blond, silver, brunette or balayage. It can be added to shampoo and conditioner or used with stylers and deep conditioning treatments. The formulation features a vegan bioactive complex derived from three Australian coastal flowers known for unique rejuvenating and hydrating properties, Red Spider Flower, Kangaroo Paw and Banksia—as well as blue spirulina, which help with hair growth and overall health.
As in all beauty categories right now, digital technology is permeating the hair color marketplace to help shoppers with aspects such as shade matching or customer service.
Henkel’s Better Natured, a professional-level hair color and care and styling brand, partnered with Perfect Corp. to create a virtual personalized hair color try-on shopping experience via YouCam Makeup AI technology. The app allows online shoppers to take a professional-level hair color quiz and “try on” the recommended hair color shade in real time using any device with a camera.
With just a few taps, consumers can browse through the brand’s 26 shades ranging from classic neutrals like black, brown and blonde to bolder shades like silver, blue and pink.
The virtual try-on solution developed by Perfect Corp. so closely mimics the effects of a physical product try-on that consumers can be confident they are making the right purchase decision, according to the company.
Men’s hair color sales dipped slightly in 2020, but Cleverman, a new indie color brand, says it wants to reinvent at-home grooming for men with customized professional hair and beard color solutions.
Delivered right to one’s doorstep, the brand’s shade range customizations offer natural-looking results every time.
Each Cleverman kit is made-to-order and is customized from top to bottom after a quick quiz using PerfectMatch Technology to give precise color. Founder Carlos Barreto spent 25 years building brands at Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola and Revlon.
“A big trend in hair color right now is customization; brands are offering more hues, techniques and personalized looks,” Barreto told Happi. “Cleverman, as an example, launched the most customized hair and bead dye for men, with up to 10,000 combinations that allow consumers to really personalize their kits—multiple options for color, technique, tools, hair or beard care.”
Whether users are seeing their first gray or have too many grays, Cleverman has engineered its unique and customizable kits for simple, at-home use.
“The male market has been seeing better options thanks to new brands that offer more premium solutions versus traditional drugstore ones. There has also been growth in the beard dye market, as more men have facial hair,” Barreto added.
Another pioneer in online hair color customization, eSalon recently signed a deal with QVC.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with QVC, a trailblazing retailer that supports our belief that women should have the ability to achieve salon-quality hair happiness at home,” said Graham Jones, CEO, eSalon. “Through QVC’s multiple platforms we look forward to connecting directly with new audiences and showcasing how eSalon delivers a truly custom solution for home hair color, without sacrificing time, money or quality.”
The eSalon Custom Hair Color Kit with Cape and Pro Tools will be available on qvc.com/esalon and any of the QVC apps along with video content and a selection of eSalon’s best-selling hair care products including Weekly Retreat, Universal Leave-In, Repair Shampoo + Conditioner Duo and Classic Shampoo + Conditioner Duo.
“We constantly strive to give our customers a differentiated product experience and eSalon allows us to bring the quality of the hair salon into our customers’ homes,” said Bridget Love, vice president/general merchandise manager of Beauty for QVC and HSN.
“eSalon’s customizable approach meets the needs of consumers in today’s environment who want the professional salon experience from the convenience and comfort of their own home. Through livestream video and the power of storytelling, we provide eSalon with the platforms to educate customers, share tips and tricks, and demonstrate the custom color process. We are excited to offer our customers this personalized approach to hair color and can’t wait for them to discover their perfect match.”
Rooted in technology and color theory, eSalon’s process begins with clients visiting esalon.com to complete a brief online questionnaire where they answer questions about their hair history and ultimate color goal. eSalon’s expert colorists craft a custom color formula utilizing patented color mixing technology. Hair color is shipped directly to clients’ doors, along with everything needed to color their hair, including tools and personalized instructions.
After clients receive their color, eSalon connects with them for feedback on their color and overall experience, as part of a constant “feedback loop” that allows the company to optimize the client experience and color selections for more satisfaction in real-time.
Since its launch more than a decade ago, eSalon has dispensed more than 260,000 unique color combinations and has shipped in excess of 10 million orders throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
COVID-19 forced customers to pivot to DIY hair color. According to Maryann Herskowitz, group vice president of merchandising at Sally Beauty, Denton, TX, Sally Beauty has support its customers by providing multiple ways to shop along with an industry-leading shade assortment of DIY hair color, with over 1,200 options in professional, boxed, vivid and root touch up hair color.
“In addition, we saw a thirst for knowledge from our customers wanting to use this time at home to try new hair colors. We quickly implemented a new education platform, DIY University by Sally Beauty, and formed the SallyCrew, a diverse group of expert educators with unique perspectives, to make beauty accessible, approachable and inspiring. Our goal is to provide customers with top brands and exclusive brands all in one place and to empower everyone to master hair color at home,” she said.
Herskowitz added when it comes to color trends, people are experimenting with bright, vivid shades as a way to express themselves.
“Sally Beauty is here to make all hair color shades accessible and easy to use. The best way to test out a new hair color is by using ColorView, available at SallyBeauty.com/colorview or on the Sally Beauty app,” she told Happi. “Customers can use the revolutionary AI technology to try hundreds of hair colors virtually before purchasing and taking the plunge.”
A Colorful Future?
According to Euromonitor International, consumers will crave convenience and embrace the “phygital reality” in the next year. A desire for the ease of on-the-go, impulse and spontaneous occasions and simplicities of pre-pandemic life can help shoppers feel satisfied with trying and buying from home.
Consumers will also use digital tools to stay connected and to facilitate safer procedures in brick-and-mortar outlets.
The growing demand for organic hair dye across regions is propelling revenue higher, according to a new report from Fact.MR. North America and Europe collectively account for a majority of the demand for hair dye from the consumption side. This is due to the fact that a majority of the countries in these regions come under the high-income category, which reflects higher disposable income being spent on personal and hair care products. In regions such as MEA and Asia, demand for halal-based hair dye has been surging during the past few years.
To cope with the loss of salon visits in 2020, key players are investing in developing DIY-based professional hair colors that can be used at home.
According to Fact.MR, this step is going to restore the market curve of professional hair care back to normal and maintain its demand for 2021. Furthermore, an increase in the demand for organic hair dye from the consumer side due to its multiple benefits over synthetic hair dye is one of the prime reasons for overall rising demand.
Global hair dye sales are expected to surpass $20.4 billion in 2021, and will grow at a CAGR of close to 5% during the next 10 years. As for product formula trends, Stenson of L’Oréal/Matrix and Ulta, predicts that the move toward cleaner products and sustainable packaging will continue.
“We’re becoming more conscious of our wellbeing and our impact on the environment; so naturally, brands are becoming more conscious,” he told Happi. “As for the products themselves, expect products that continue to focus on hair health, protection and luxurious hair.”
Shread of Umberto Giannini agrees that hair color tied to wellness is important to consumers this year.
“The most exciting development in consumer demand is the trend toward vegan, cruelty-free and clean products,” she said.
“We are proud to lead the field in this area and with our recent B Corp certification, we hope to be able to help push the cosmetic and beauty industry further toward our own mantra of ‘doing good business beautifully.’”
“We are working on NPD innovations that allow some of the more skillful and technically difficult salon processes to be done successfully at home.
“We are not looking to replace the expertise of the salon with these at-home solutions but rather to extend the salon quality performance to a wider demographic. For so many, a salon visit is not only out of budget but also time-hungry and often exclusive,” Shread added.
Across all channels, the drive to reach new customers is imperative to marketers; for hair color, it could be as simple as starting an Instagram page or adding an AI feature to existing technology, say industry experts.
“With more millennials turning 40, I think there will be an expansion of hair color brands that appeal more to this segment than traditional ones,” noted Barreto of Cleverman. “Millennials have been driving significant changes in all consumer product categories, from blades and razors to cosmetics, as they are more interested in quality new propositions, products delivered to their home and digitally-focused brands.”
Millennials have a bigger appetite for customization, too.
“The retail market has substantial constraints in space and variety, especially for categories like hair color,” said Barreto. “The direct distribution channel creates room for more variety, more options for hair color and care, similar to what has been happening in the cosmetics market.”