Hair care – accentuate the positive

Despite being a commodity product the hair care market has not escaped the recession, however investment in innovation is turning heads. Emma Reinhold reports

Schwarzkopf & Henkel

Despite being a commodity product the hair care market has not escaped the recession, however investment in innovation is turning heads. Emma Reinhold reports

Turning adversity into advantage is a skill many hair care manufacturers have had to learn fast. The recession has impacted both sales and consumer spending habits but for those who have adapted the opportunities can be very rewarding. Innovation and excitement are returning to the sector with some groundbreaking results.

According to Euromonitor International, the global hair care market was worth €45.21bn in 2009, a growth of 3.3% on the previous year. Estimated figures for 2009/2010 show a slowdown however, with growth pegged at just 1.5%. The analyst says this is a slowdown in growth rather than a real decline, and that volume growth has been sustained thanks to changing habits in developing markets.

Discounting, promotions and a trade down in more developed markets from premium priced salon hair care to less expensive brands and private label have also impacted sales growth with value playing a key role in attracting consumers.

“As consumers become more price conscious the tendency is to trade down to cheaper, more mass market options. Many customers are moving towards products with price integrity and perceived value for money,” says Mathieu Spies, international sales director, Melvita.

“Consumers are saying they would rather have better value for money than downscale on quality and we are seeing an uplift in the sale of 1 litre shampoo and conditioner formats,” adds Vincenzo Minore, brand general manager, Aveda UK.

Table 1: Global hair care market, 2009 (€m)
Categories2009±% 08/09±% 09/10*
Hair care total45214.03.31.5
2-in-1 products2096.73.2-0.6
Colourants8275.65.01.8
Conditioners9111.84.32.0
Perms & relaxants679.82.31.4
Salon hair care3353.4-3.8-1.4
Shampoos15307.55.02.6
Styling agents6389.30.2-0.1
*estimated figures, Source: Euromonitor International

Table 2: Hair care market by region, 2009 (€m)
Region2009±% 08/09±% 09/10*
Asia Pacific11675.14.03.4
Australasia548.62.71.5
Eastern Europe3015.04.71.1
Middle East & Africa2053.611.52.6
North America8255.7-3.2-0.8
Western Europe11397.60.70.3
*estimated figures, Source: Euromonitor International

Colour credentials

Conservative spending patterns have also affected the length of time consumers are leaving between salon visits, and this has created an opportunity for at home colour brands to pick up new consumers.

“Home colourants are rebounding as people are not visiting salons so much and colouring their hair at home,” says Vivienne Rudd, senior European beauty analyst, Mintel.

According to a recent survey by UK high street beauty retailer Superdrug, hair colourants came third in a list of ‘20 Beauty Items We Can’t Live Without’. In addition the supermarkets Tesco and Asda have seen considerable uplift in home colour kits with sales up 20% and 33% respectively.

Furthermore Mintel says almost two thirds of UK women claim to use a home hair colourant, although consumer research indicates that many more women, especially those that are greying, would like to colour their hair but lack the confidence to use home kits.

John Frieda is hoping to attract this consumer with the launch of Precision Foam Colour, a first to market permanent home hair colourant, which also marks the brand’s first entry into the sector.

The brand describes the product as “truly groundbreaking” and is the result of seven years’ work. It utilises a unique foam technology which is designed to be massaged into hair in a similar way as a shampoo product and is said to provide effortless cover, with virtually no dripping or mess. There are 20 shades for blondes, brunettes and redheads.

“There are plenty of things the industry can do to improve home colourants and I think John Frieda will really shake-up the market with its new product. I hope other categories will see it as inspiration,” says Rudd.

Precision Foam Colour from John Frieda illustrates a new wave of innovation coming into the hair care market

And with Henkel and L’Oréal slated to launch foam formats next year, the market is certainly not shying away from innovation.

Clairol has also seen considerable activity in this sector, reformulating its Nice’n natural shade palette to ensure more natural looking shades and an improved colour dimension. The formulation now includes a proprietary dye molecule that ensures blonde shades do not have a brassy tinge. It has also added five new shades to the range bringing the total to 50 shades. In addition the brand added five new shades to its Perfect 10 line, taking the colour palette to 22 shades.

Product development for colour has not been restricted to hair dyes. TRESemmé has reformulated its Colour Revitalise shampoo and conditioner to include an advanced colour lock technology, said to specifically address the problem of colour fade. The brand has also added a new treatment masque, said to provide a moisture soak for coloured hair, leaving it soft and shiny.

And Toni&Guy has developed a range of shade specific hair care products said to intensify the tone of coloured hair. Key to the formula of the Toni&Guy Colour products is Level One Dye Complex, which works by penetrating the hair cuticle and leaving a subtle infusion of semi-permanent pigment. With use colour intensity increases, according to the brand, and the collection includes products for brunette and blonde hair tones.

Segment to succeed

Manufacturers have also increasingly looked at diversifying their offer with new products tailored to very specific hair needs, as reported earlier this year by ECM and cosmeticsbusiness.com.

“If you are trying to win new consumers you have to offer something different,” says Rudd.“Brands need to address the consumer as an individual and this can be achieved better through segmentation.”

Moisturisation claims have been popular with many brands. According to Kantar Worldpanel hair care products with moisturising and repairing properties are proving popular with consumers. Indeed, according to Jenny Hearne, UK customer marketing at Alberto Culver, women are looking to keep their hair soft, smooth and shiny. “Preventing and protecting hair damage is very important too,” she tells SPC.

Ingredients such as argan oil have been proving popular with this trend. Moroccanoil uses the ingredient in all its products and launched a new moisturising shampoo and conditioner, while Charles Worthington’s new Moisture Seal range advocates the use of argan oil in its advertising communication. Moroccanoil is also launching a Light version of its hero oil treatment to cater for consumers with ultra fine and blonde hair.

Dove tapped into the repairing trend with the launch of Damage Therapy, a new everyday hair care line that promises to care for dry, damaged hair. The 18-sku line features two patented technologies which work inside and outside the hair shaft. Fibre Active Technology contains molecules that penetrate the hair fibre surface, while Micro Moisture Serum deposits beneficial ingredients onto each hair strand. The product line-up includes two Express Treatment Conditioners, said to offer nourishment after just one minute’s use.

Kérastase meanwhile launched Sublimateur Jour, a new leave-in cream conditioner for dry and sensitised hair. The product contains a blend of hydrolysed wheat protein to nourish, along with a UV filter and silicones which offer a smoothing effect. The result is de-frizzed, nourished hair, according to the company.

And Aveda introduced Instant Repair for Damaged Hair, a deeply conditioning leave-on treatment for dry hair. The product contains organically derived quinoa protein which is said to penetrate the hair shaft and deliver deep down moisture; wheat protein to help protect hair against thermal damage during heat styling; soy derived oil to help detangle; and certified organic essential oils of bergamot, mandarin and ylang ylang.

The conditioning properties of quinoa have also been tapped by Andrew Collinge in his new colourTherapy line, part of the Purity range. The shampoo and conditioner are said to protect the vibrancy and shine of colour treated hair and the addition of blue lotus root and perilla seed oil along with the organic quinoa protein is claimed to replenish essential nutrients lost during the colouring process.

Segmentation has also migrated into ethnic and ageing hair. Tricologist Philip Kingsley has launched a new shampoo and conditioner developed specifically for people who struggle with thick, Afro-Caribbean hair. Moisture Extreme is said to improve the appearance and feel of Afro hair.

Kingsley also believes the baby boomer generation represents untapped potential for manufacturers.

“Ageing hair needs more attention,” says Kingsley. “I am a strong advocate of daily shampooing and with grey hair even more so because it shows the dirt more and tends to be duller.”

With an increasingly ageing population in the UK – the Office of National Statistics says the population aged 65 and over increased by 1.7m between 1984 and 2009, and is projected to make up 23% of the population by 2034 – the potential for anti-ageing hair care products is considerable.

“Anti-ageing is a category that will undoubtedly grow,” says Aveda’s Minore. “It will be just as much about scalp care as hair care and this is an area we are looking at.”

The language used to describe product claims is evolving too with an emphasis on skin care and anti-ageing claims. “When it comes to claims hair care is taking on the attributes of skin care,” says Rudd. “Most brands now have a UV protection focus and we are seeing more formulas that promise to work with the hair fibre and scalp and include skin care ingredients such as collagen. This is where we will see more development.”

As skin sensitivity increases, the potential to grow product development into hair care has been recognised by hairdresser Charles Worthington who added a gentle cleansing range for sensitive scalps to his Results hair care range. The three-sku line contains extracts of aloe vera and cucumber to calm the scalp and help prevent any further aggravation.

And Head&Shoulders has launched a new variant addressing itchy scalps. The Itchy Scalp Care shampoo and conditioner contain eucalyptus to help relieve itching and leave hair soft and shiny.

Meanwhile Pantene has launched Pro-V Aqua Light, a new range that promises to combat the causes of heavy, lifeless, weighed down hair. The new line, which comprises a shampoo, conditioner, rinse-off treatment and leave-in treatment spray, contains Clean-Rinse technology which allows the formula to be rinsed off easily as well as eliminating excess residue.

Table 3: Top ten hair care brands, Western Europe, 2009
Brand nameCompany name
L’Oréal ParisL’Oréal Groupe
GarnierL’Oréal Groupe
SchwarzkopfHenkel AG & Co
PanteneProcter & Gamble
WellaProcter & Gamble
NiveaBeiersdorf AG
Head & ShouldersProcter & Gamble
ClairolProcter & Gamble
DoveUnilever Group
SunsilkUnilever Group
Source: Euromonitor International

Addressing thinning

Another area with great diversification potential is thinning hair and many brands are introducing anti-hair loss products into their offer.

“The percentage of women with thinning hair is underestimated,” says Kingsley. “Most women over the age of 40 experience reduced hair volume but it’s not only maturing women, it is younger women in their 20s and 30s and often in their teens that are concerned.”

Kingsley says that thinning hair in young women is still considered a taboo subject by many consumers yet it is a major concern. “An article I wrote on this subject for the Sunday Times Style magazine received more hits than any other I wrote for the magazine and I had been writing a column for nine years. It is a problem that has not yet been correctly addressed by any retailer and there is undoubtedly a huge demand for products that will help the situation.”

Salon brand Clynol has launched a two-phase anti-hair loss system which is claimed to reduce non-pathological premature hair loss, stimulating hair growth and thickness. The anti-hair loss shampoo and scalp tonic contain taurine and carnitine tartrate which increase the production of the hair’s growth factors.

And Phyto has introduced Phytolium4, a shampoo and treatment product said to be a natural alternative to chemical hair loss ingredients such as finasteride and minoxidil.

Natural evolution

The use of natural products has become a strong trend in hair care in recent years and although the recession has seen the natural movement slow down somewhat, hair care manufacturers are still investing in this area. This investment ranges from brands launching totally natural and organic lines or highlighting the natural ingredients used in the products.

One of the key challenges with natural and organic hair care is performance and the latest generation of hair products have focused on improving this issue.

“The issue is two-fold,” explains Bernard Chevilliat, founder of Melvita. “Firstly it’s the issue of ease of use as consumers have certain expectations around cleansing performance and foam. Consumers have come to expect shampoo to foam easily and plentifully with a thick, rich texture. The second issue is performance as consumers have become used to the silky feel of silicones that are often used in conventional formulas.”

Brands are highlighting the performance benefits of natural ingredients such as quinoa

Liz Earle has addressed the problem of foaming with the Botanical Shine hair care range. The line consists of one universal shampoo and three conditioners, tailored to specific hair types. The Botanical Shine Shampoo contains over 89% naturally derived ingredients and is free from SLS and SLES, instead using a new cleansing agent derived from coconut, which creates a creamy lather on contact with water. TRESemmé meanwhile has launched Naturals, a new line of low sulphate shampoos and silicone-free conditioners and styling products which contain a blend of natural and organic extracts.

And Schwarzkopf has launched Essensity a new professional natural colour, care and styling range, free from ammonia, parabens, artificial fragrances and colourants, formaldehyde and PEG derivatives, and paraffin and mineral oils, that has been formulated with enhanced performance in mind.

Elsewhere, Timotei has relaunched its entire product line with a stronger natural positioning. The reformulated products are said to contain natural ingredients from around the world. The Intense Repair line for instance includes 100% organic macademia nut and avocado oil.

Similarly John Frieda’s new Root Awakening range claims to include natural ingredients that nurture the scalp and hair root. The three-sku range includes eucalyptus and essential oils which are claimed to purify, feed, stimulate and nourish hair and scalp.

And Pantene has harnessed the protective qualities of the cassia flower for its new Nature Fusion range. The two collections – Moisture Balance and Smooth Vitality – address dry and frizzy hair respectively. Moisture Balance features a shampoo, conditioner and moisturising treatment containing cassia, aloe vera, ginger and calendula extracts, while Smooth Vitality, also featuring a shampoo, conditioner and treatment product, contains a blend of cassia, avocado oil, bamboo and grapeseed extracts.

Melvita has gone the organic route for the development of Capiforce, a five-sku line targeting dry, damaged and coloured hair. Products include a cream shampoo, detangling balm and split ends serum.

Skin Blossom has launched Organic Bloom Complete Care Shampoo and Conditioner. Certified by the Soil Association, the shampoo contains 73% organic ingredients including rosemary to condition, bergamot to strengthen, palmarosa to nourish and citrus to remove build-up. The conditioner also contains pracaxi seed oil to add shine and softness to the hair. Similarly Madara’s new organic hair care line has certification from Ecocert.

There are still challenges in this sector as Mathieu admits: “Many of the historical challenges posed to formulators have changed in recent years as formulation expertise has grown. But the organic hair care market still has a small impact on the wider market as there is a lack of organic and natural products in the colour and styling categories.”

There are challenges too for the wider hair care market. The recession does not mean a major disaster for hair care in the long-term, Euromonitor believes, but it means manufacturers will have to work that bit harder to sustain similar value sales. Value for money at the end of the day will be the overriding concern.

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