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Road to Relevancy: Sensory and Tactile Routes

By: Abby Penning
Posted: June 7, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Additionally, the processing treatments many consumers in the ethnic hair care market use require targeted products to treat problems. “As many ethnic men and women use chemical processes to alter the style of their hair, actives that work to repair the damage caused by these processes are important,” says Charles Moses, applications and technical specialist, Croda Inc. Among the trends these active ingredients can address, according to Moses, are an increasing need for moisturization and frizz control. And yet another avenue the ethnic hair care market focuses on is scalp health.

Stephen Durham, founder and CEO of Urban Therapy, explains, “A healthy scalp is the base for great hair. A healthy scalp leads to better moisturization, which is very important if hair is colored as it will hold color better, and it can also help hair thinning at the scalp, to create a thicker, more lush feel.” Initially, it’s about creating healthy hair that is more pliable and easy to style for the diverse demands often put to it.

Of course, one of the longest-held treatments for ethnic hair has been relaxing it, but more and more, natural textures are also becoming popular among these consumers. “Texturizers are gaining momentum in the rapidly evolving ethnic hair care market, with style revival products being the mainstay,” Majeed notes. “Hair care products that are designed to repair and revitalize hair during each step of the styling process are in vogue and are gaining prominence, with the thrust being on natural products. There is an increased demand for proteins that moisturize and strengthen hair, and designing gels, protectant sprays, curl releasers, detanglers along with vitamin-enriched conditioners that add a natural healthy sheen to the hair are also popular.”

Because much of this market turns to various hair styles for self-expression, Tollerson notes the styles—and consequent issues—this market can see. “These women are doing a lot more experimenting with hair styles, really expressing themselves through their hair,” she says. “From curly waves to sharp lines to cute, short cuts, women emulate the styles they see in magazines and on celebrities and style icons, and even on their friends, and so we need to provide them with the products to do this with while maintaining healthy hair. This hair typically has a more curly structure, and that can result in the hair tending to be drier. It also has a tendency to be more fragile, so there’s a focus on products that can make hair healthy, pliable and shiny, and leave the consumer looking good.”

Other considerations for the development of products for the ethnic hair care market include hair texture, hair length and hair types, says Moses. “These factors will effect the efficacy of a product in regard to those parameters,” he explains.

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