According to Kantar Worldpanel, shampoo penetration is consistently high across all European countries, but conditioner usage is far more variable. Two-thirds of British women use conditioners (using it whenever they wash their hair, on average 2.7 times a week), compared to just one-third of French consumers. Low conditioner usage in France may be due to the recent poor performance of the economy, causing consumers to cut back on so-called luxuries and resort to essential toiletries, such as shampoo.
Overall, Kantar Worldpanel noted that European women use shampoo 2.8 times a week, while German women shampoo most often at 3.1 times weekly, dipping to just 2.1 for Italians.
Brand messaging should take into account specific conditioner benefits sought by consumers across different countries. The core benefits are moisturizing, nourishing and adding shine. In Poland, 56% of women also look for conditioners that strengthen the hair, compared to the European average of just 26%. These findings suggest that multi-benefit conditioners are necessary for success.
Male usage of shampoos and conditioners paints a very different picture, with just 63% of European men using shampoo, but only 4% using conditioner. British men are the most engaged users of conditioners, although at 9%, this engagement is still very low. German men shampoo more frequently at 4.1 times a week against the European average of 3.6 times weekly. Men’s lower usage of hair washing products is likely to be because men prefer to use a shower gel all over for convenience, providing a strong opportunity to educate men on the need for a separate hair care product.
Innovation Fuels Experimentation
Despite low conditioner usage, there is growing evidence that European consumers are becoming experimental in their choice of shampoos. Canadean’s 2016 research shows that two in five European consumers often try new or different varieties of shampoo. The expansion of hair care lines is also encouraging women to add new steps to their routine which enhance the health of the hair while also creating more unique and exciting experiences.
Examples that Canadean has captured in European hair care innovation include:
- John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder In-Shower Lightening Treatment (UK), which is said to lighten blonde hair by one shade by integrating the shower process into the shower; and
- Ziaja Goat’s Milk Strengthening Hair Mask with Keratin (Netherlands) features goat milk proteins as a key ingredient and is designed as an additional step to the hair care regimen.
Hair serums are still a relatively new idea in hair care. Serums have migrated from skin care, and are designed to add an extra layer of nourishment, hydration and protection on top of existing products.
“The usage of on-trend ingredients, such as plant-based oils, within serums has also driven excitement around these added steps for consumers, particularly as concentrated natural ingredients are perceived to be highly beneficial to the hair,” noted Jamie Mills, an analyst with Canadean, who believes in opportunities to expand and create new niches within hair care which draw inspiration from regimens and routines within skin care.
Hair masks are another niche concept that is taking off in tandem with trends in facial skin care. Designed to repair and rejuvenate stressed hair, the latest launches boast deeply nourishing ingredients, such as baobab oil and sapote butter used in Phyto Phytokertine Extreme Masque; L’Oréal Professional Mythic Oil masque is infused with avocado, grape seed and argan oil.
Healthy-eating lifestyles and the trend toward “clean” living is starting to impact hair care new product development, and not only among niche brands. An example is the Garnier Ultimate Blends range, formulated with natural ingredients, such as argan oil, camellia oil and virgin olive oil in paraben-free formulas. A recent addition to the line is Garnier’s Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Balm, containing honey, royal jelly and propolis (Canadean research shows that 78% of Europeans believe honey to have a positive impact on health).
Another “clean” example is Russian brand Organic Kitchen by Organic Shop So Clean Hair Clay Conditioner. The formula’s key ingredients include horse chestnut oil and cypress oil that are formulated with natural food preservatives, while also being free from SLS and parabens.
The Root of the Problem
Root concealers are fast becoming a key category with innovative, easy to use solutions that give instantaneous results. These products are designed to bridge the gap between hair appointments and enable the user to extend the time between expensive salon visits. They also target home colorant users.
“Root retouching products are well placed to appeal, given that they eradicate the laborious application process associated with traditional at-home hair colorants, albeit with temporary results,” explains Mills, who considers root touch-ups benefiting from the association with the color cosmetics space and the familiarity in applying such products.
One such product is Color Wow Root Cover Up; it comes in a pressed powder palette with double-ended brush, similar to a brow or eyeshadow palette. Hair care expert John Frieda has a similar product that comes in four color shades, each featuring a mineral-pressed powder in two shades. Another on-the-go format is the Josh Wood Blending Wand, a liquid root cover-up supplied in a tube with a large application brush at one end. It is designed to hide gray hairs and blend re-growth. Meanwhile, leading home colorant brand Nice ‘n Easy has a Root Touch-Up cream formula that is applied with a precision brush for a long-lasting result. Finally, L’Oréal Professional Paris Hair Touch Up Root Concealer comes in a spray format with a pinpoint micro-diffuser to precisely target gray hair.
A strong focus on product innovation will continue to pique European consumers’ interest in hair care and ultimately develop entire new categories.
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Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.