The hair care environment of Latin America largely reflects events in Brazil, thanks to its size. In 2016, this meant that the Brazil-reliant hair care market in Latin America remained deep in negative territory for a second year running amid extreme macro environment. However, it appears the market may bounce back. Through 2021, the forecast is to reach 16.5% retail value terms growth in Brazil, 14.2% in Latin America and 7.9% in the world.
Opportunities in the Region
The competitive landscape in Latin America is led by international companies, namely, Unilever, L’Oréal and P&G. Indeed, a recent “Made in” survey conducted by Nielsen to assess the influence of product’s birthplace in purchase decisions revealed that hygiene and beauty global brands are preferred all over the world—and Latin America is no exception. Regarding on hair care items, only 13% of Brazilians interviewed choose local brands. This is explicable, since global brands have advantages for its greater experience in research and development, resulting in high quality products. These companies are also very astute in their ability to adapt products to suit the best interests of this ethnically-diverse population. On the other hand, domestic companies also maintain relevance through their ability to offer products that are also specifically designed to local demographics.
A study conducted by Nielsen last year pointed out that natural hair is considered ideal for 38% of Brazilian women. The study also showed that 54% are satisfied with the current hair—the concentration being the straight and curly type—which is the trend. The desire to have curls increases, since 17% of women consider curly hair as ideal, even if only 13% of them use it that way. This reality is present at the point of sale, where the presence of products for natural and curly hair has grown more and more.
Pantene, one of the leader brands in the sector, conducted a large survey with curly hair consumers in Brazil to hear more about the needs for curly, wavy and frizzy hair. The results gave rise to the Pantene’s Cachos Hydra-Vitaminados collection, which was developed for Brazilian women. The formula is enriched with pro-vitamins and more conditioning ingredients that promise to keep strong curls and no frizz until the end of the day.
Caring for Curls
According to another leading brand, L’Oréal Paris, 45% of Brazilian women have curly hair. The task of properly caring for these strands is continuous since the routine steps are long and complex; on average there are seven steps, ranging from wetting to finishing, through cleaning, hydration and reconstruction, among others.
In order to facilitate the routine of women with curly hair, the brand launched Elseve Óleo Extraordinário Cachos in Brazil. Developed specifically for curly to frizzy hair, the formula is enriched with coconut oil, a powerful ingredient rich in lauric acid, a linear lipid that deeply penetrates into the hair fiber, protecting, moisturizing, nourishing and strengthening each strand, without feeling heavy. The line includes shampoo, conditioner, treatment cream and combing cream.
Niely, which is among the biggest Brazilian cosmetic companies and was acquired by L’Oréal Groupe in 2014, recently launched two lines for curly and frizzy hair. Diva de Cachos and Diva de Crespo were developed through co-creation partnership with the expertise of 12 curly-haired influencers who became brand ambassadors.
According to Isabella Zakzuk, marketing director of P&G`s hair care brands, in such competitive scenario, the brand has sought to understand the consumers´ desires and translate all these needs into launches to bring even more beauty, health and brightness to the most different types of hair. In the last few semesters, they noticed a growth in demand for treatment products for use outside the salon— a constantly growing factor in the country.
According to Zakzuk, 3 Minutes Miracle Super Conditioner is the brand´s best-selling product.
“When we created the super conditioner, we innovated once again by launching this new category of hair products in Brazil,” said the executive.
The Pro-Vitamins formula has been constantly improved by brand´s hair specialists. This intelligent technology promises a better conditioning and repairing, as it quickly releases micro-directed actives that identify the areas in need of repair and, with the rinse, easily leave the areas with excess, said the company.
In addition, the brand relies on the endorsement of digital influencers in its communication strategies. The reality show “Pantene Hair” is a prime example. After the success of the first season, the program is now entering a second season.
According to Nielsen, local players must innovate in areas of unmet needs, increase their efforts in manufacturing, distribution and promotion, and work on communication, personalization and positioning their products according to local preferences and culture in order to connect with the region’s consumers.
Latin America has long had an affinity for the natural space with companies such as Natura cementing ethical practices in the minds of beauty consumers since the 1980s. This trend opens up opportunities to entice this mass-centric market to trade-up in the interest of their health, especially now that hair health is being taken as seriously as skin health, according to Symons.
One Natura standout is Ekos Patauá, part of the Natura Ekos brand. It has patauá, a bioactive that has been used for many generations for women’s hair care. Patauá is the fruit of Patauazeiro, one of the largest palm trees in the Amazon, which can reach up to 25 meters tall. The high quality oil extracted from patauá is used as a seasoning (the “Amazonian olive oil”), for medicinal purposes, and as a cosmetic to make hair more beautiful and healthy.
Another company to watch is Brazilian firm Inoar Cosméticos, which has experienced considerable growth. Prepared to grow 40% in 2018, the company has invested in pharma and supermarkets channels as well as in new products. Currently, Inoar exports to more than 40 countries and has garnered awards in the US.
A View To The Future
Research conducted by Mintel suggests the global concern about the effects of pollution on health offers several opportunities to the beauty industry, even in hair care. It revealed that 21% of internet users are interested in using anti-pollution shampoos. Women represented 25% of those surveyed, compared to 17% of men.
Another trend to be leveraged in the beauty market pointed out by Mintel was “alimetics.” Beyond the benefits they provide, cosmetics with ingredients from the food and beverage categories have the chance to provide consumers with greater clarity since they are generally ingredients known to the general public.
According to Symons, premium will grow ahead of mass, but still will only contribute to a meager 4% of value gains through to 2020.
Daniela Ferreira is a marketing and communication professional in both consumer and B2B cosmetic markets. At present she is master´s degree student in fashion program at São Paulo University (USP) with research project about fashion and fragrance and also including works presented at conferences. Her expertise comprises managing and launching products, communication planning and market studies for identifying new business opportunities. She also has a blog about perfume, its interactions and insights for the market (https://olfativo360.com.br/)