According to Kantar Worldpanel, most European women use shampoo, whereas men are more likely to use shower gel for all-over convenience. European men do, however, wash their hair on average more often than women, but very few use a conditioner.
While shampoo penetration is fairly uniform across Europe, there are large variations in conditioner usage, with only 29% of women using these formulas in France, compared to 48% in Italy and Spain, and rising to 64% in Great Britain. While 86% of women wash their hair weekly, this is the lowest percentage in Europe, which peaks in Poland at 93%.
The reasons women use a conditioner varies by European country, though it is primarily to moisturize, make hair softer, easier to style/comb and to add shine. In France, Germany and Poland damage repair is important and strengthening is also very important in Poland. These differences suggest that brand messaging needs to take specific benefits into account across different countries—multi-benefit hair care products have strong potential among consumers looking for more from their products.
Co-Wash Is a Natural Niche
The trend for co-wash in hair care is triggered by consumers looking to avoid skin irritants such as sodium lauryl sulfate, the main cleanser found in the majority of shampoos. These ingredients are thought to damage vulnerable hair types such as curly hair. According to GlobalData’s Q1 2017 global consumer survey, 41% of European consumers say they pay a high amount of attention to ingredients used in beauty or grooming products.
“Despite being available on the market for several years, co-wash products still constitute a niche area in Europe,” noted Irene Bi, associate analyst, GlobalData.
L’Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Curl Nourishment Cleansing Conditioner from the UK is one example that is tailored to curly/Afro hair and is said to leave defined curls that are manageable throughout the day. Mintel has noted that L’Oréal has been the most active in the area of co-wash with L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Cleansing Conditioner, Elvive Low Shampoo Gentle Cleansing Creams in a number of markets, and Garnier Ultra Doux Le Low Shampoo (Belgium). Mintel has also noted the launch of lightweight cleansers, including Hairstory’s New Hair New Wash in France, which is billed as “detergent free.“
European consumers generally have a positive perception of natural ingredients and it is the top reason for choosing one brand over another, according to GlobalData research. A further 55% of Europeans find botanical actives effective in a beauty/grooming product.
“This drives the trend towards botanical/plant hair care formulations, especially those using food ingredients, to boost their natural, safe and ‘better for you appeal,’” states Bi.
An example is UK Botanicals Fresh Care Leave-In Conditioner, formulated with coriander, soya and coconut oils.
NPD Borrows from Skin Care
Andrew McDougall, global analyst, Mintel, has observed another trend in shampoos that is linked to skin care.
“Emerging micellar hair care products which blur with skin care are also likely to expand and appeal to consumers, especially women who are already familiar with gentle micellar facial cleansers,” he explains. “In hair care, micellar shampoos can be aimed to women who color their hair, by targeting dirt and impurities whilst retaining the color.”
Furthermore, McDougall has observed that women’s engagement with hair washing is notable in Europe, with over 40% in Spain and Italy shampooing their hair twice in the same wash.
“Brands can tap into this by developing variants with different levels of cleansing, such as light, medium, strong. For example, a higher-cleansing formula for a second wash or a high cleansing formula can be positioned as ideal for removing sweat after exercise or for use after visiting a highly polluted area,” he suggests. “The active beauty and pollution-proof trends are ones which we are seeing affect the whole category.”
The trend for protecting against pollution and UV began in East Asia where pollution is high, and has migrated West. According to GlobalData’s Q3 global survey, 2016, just over half of European consumers are very or extremely concerned with the impact of pollution on health and appearance. Recent anti-pollution hair care launches include Bionsen Purifying Shampoo from Hungary containing zinc to help remove impurities and residues from pollution, styling products and smoke. Sooa Soin des Cheveaux Hair Mask for Colored Hair and Locks from France has pro-vitamin B5 and an anti-UV solar filter.
Another hair care concern which has links to skin care is care for the scalp, with new launches aimed at addressing issues such as itchy scalp, blocked hair follicles and hair growth. Petrole Hahn Anti-Dandruff Shampoo from France, contains zinc pyrithione and eucalyptus to soothe the scalp and calm itching. Lee Stafford Hair Growth Scalp Scrub from the UK is designed to exfoliate the scalp, unblock hair follicles and increase root productivity to help hair grow longer. One of its claims is based on its “pro-growth complex” for hair that never grows past a certain length.
Blow-dry Treatment Primers
Blow-drying is part of the daily grooming regime for many European women who are looking for ways to speed up the process while protecting the hair. The new wave stylers are described as treatment primers and include VO5 Express Primer Spray from the UK, which provides 230° heat protection and helps to detangle hair and reduce flyaways. Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer claims to speed up drying time, while also making colored hair visibly less damaged. Another launch spotted by Mintel is the KMS California Free Shape Quick Blow Dry product that claims to reduce drying time by 50%.
European consumers are wising up to what goes into their hair care products and this is paving the way for new innovative ways with traditional formulations. There are bound to be many more on the horizon.
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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.