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Finding Your Niche in Salon Hair Care

Karen A. Newman

Consumers are pampering their hair as never before, and salon product manufacturers have responded with products and services aimed at very specific problems, special interests and aspirations. With sales of salon products expected to rise and new markets for salon services opening up around the world, opportunities abound.

Eco-friendly Aerosol

MOP (Modern Organic Products) has wanted to present a “chic brand of eco-friendly personal products” since the company was founded in 1998, and it introduced an environmentally friendly aerosol hair spray in February. C-system Firm Finish Strong Hold Hair Spray was designed for MOP’s environmentally conscious customers who prefer aerosol performance. The aerosol product is said to have zero environmental impact, due to a low alcohol content that evaporates on release, as well as the mandated absence of VOCs. What lands on the hair offers “firm yet flexible hold, antioxidant support, color preserving UV screens and wonderful natural scent,” according to the company.

“We’re proud to offer salon stylists and their clients an aerosol hair spray with a maximum performance level while offering a smart choice in terms of respecting the environment,” said Robin Olson, marketing director, MOP. “It’s MOP’s mission to continue to expand our product line in a way that promotes modern hairdressing with a hip twist on how to incorporate organics into everyday lifestyles.”

Small but Mighty

The science of small is on everyone’s mind lately, and nanotechnology, the relatively young science of making materials out of atoms, has been part of PureOlogy’s products since 2001. With the launch of its NanoWorks line, PureOlogy Serious Colour Care, creators of products for color-treated hair, has put the buzz words on the label. Using nanotechnology, PureOlogy reports it is able to enhance hair color vibrancy, strengthen, moisturize and dramatically improve the condition of hair as never before possible.

NanoWorks Shampoo and NanoWorks Condition contain antiaging ingredients–including green tea, sugar cane, vegetable proteins, and citrus and wine extracts—to “provide a youthful look and feel, increase hair strength more than three times, and enhance color radiance and shine,” according to the company. Further, anti-inflammatory mushrooms (shitake, mannentake and mucor miehei) care for the scalp while nourishing and repairing processed hair. Guar gum and shea butter offer conditioning, slip, shine and detangling. The allergen-free fragrance of jasmine, amber, vanilla and rose promotes a positive sense of well being—and also is excellent for sensitive scalp and skin.

Both products also contain PureOlogy’s exclusive AntiFade Complex of full-spectrum sunscreens, which the company guarantees will extend the life of the color by protecting the hair from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays as well as from the thermal damage caused by heat from styling tools. The 100% vegan products do not contain any harmful carcinogens, said the company, and its products are never tested on animals.

Heat Protection

From blow dryers to curling irons to flat irons, the tools of modern hair styling are tough on tendrils. With the salon “blowout” gaining popularity, heat protection for hair is increasingly important. The new Graham Webb Heat Response line includes a shampoo, conditioner, and soft and firm finishing sprays, and was developed in response to all the thermal styling going on in salons. “We felt that it is extremely important to have a regimen that caters to the amount of thermal styling we do in the salon,” said Diego Raviglione, Graham Webb International Signature Guest Artist. “Not only does the regimen work to protect and condition while thermal styling, it also enables us to customize the amplification, hold and texture that is achieved by thermal styling.”

Last fall, Aveda introduced its Damage RemedyTM Restructuring System that includes shampoo, conditioner and a treatment. When introducing the system, Sandy Zappia Collins, marketing manager for shampoos and conditioners, Aveda, said “Trends toward hair coloring and thermal styling, in addition to exposure to environmental aggressors, have created a strong demand for hair care regimens that help repair damage. More than 70% of women claim they have some level of damaged hair.”

Charitable Care and Tinseltown

The 22 products in Prive’s Formule Aux Herbes line contain herbal blends designed by celebrity stylist and Prive founder Laurent Dufourg. Intensive Mask for strengthening and nourishing and Curl Activating Crème for creating soft, touchable curls are recent additions to the line. The mask is formulated with jojoba and sesame herbal blend, providing strength and nourishment in an intensive cream. The curl cream includes an herbal blend with chamomile, lemongrass and evening primrose. It is said to deliver defined, separated, frizz-free curls in a moisturizing, curl-activating cream. Other products in the line include a foaming styler, weightless amplifier and shine serum. Products in the line were part of a promotion announced last April that joined with actor Tea Leoni to raise funds through the sale of the product for her favorite charity, Expedition Inspiration for Breast Cancer Research.

Aimed at the glitterati who worry about how their hair will look when the flashbulbs are going off, Matrix has introduced a hairspray that is said to strengthen, protect and reflect. In salons since January, Gloss & Guard Hairspray is the newest addition to the Matrix Protective Luminating System. The hairspray is said to give a high-gloss finish while securing shape and providing UV inhibitors for protection against color fading. The line includes shampoo, conditioner, intensive masque, nourishing shine cream and reflective shine spray.

Curl Power

Curly hair, whether permed or natural, has its own set of very specific needs and issues. According to Penny Vanemon, director of marketing, National Starch Personal Care, there is a significant opportunity to address the needs of curly haired consumers in the areas of curl definition, anti-frizz and volume reduction in salon products. Curl Science™, one of the company’s technology and formulating initiatives, looks to address the evolution of hair care products for the curly-haired consumer. According to Vanemon, as a group, consumers with curly hair spend more on hair care products than people with straight hair.

Ageless Luxury

Wendy Clark, founder of i-bella, has worked in the salon business throughout her entire career. She was a hairdresser, new to the business, when she witnessed the major shift that saw the beginning of the end of the salon “set” in favor of big, loose hairstyles that are still popular today. Clark made a shift of her own several years ago, and is now a supplier to the salon and spa industry, which is undergoing another big shift. Before she started to work on her own salon hair care brand, she heard customers asking “Why can’t you make products that are antiaging for my hair just like my skin.” Taking its cues from skin care, the latest generation of hair care products incorporates antiaging and sun protection ingredients. Clark said the products cater to a young generation of salon customers who understand that damaged hair can be prevented.

Building her niche brand in the luxury category, Clark’s strategy has been to present products that add value to the salon owner and to the salon clients’ experience. She said there is not a lot of competition in that category, whereas mature salon brands—all with “great national exposure and good stuff in the bottle”—are all going after the same customers. “We’re the next generation.”

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