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The basic hair colors—blonde, brunette, black and redhead—come from nature; this is biological fact. The basic chemistry behind the formulation of hair coloring products has not changed much in recent years, but delivery mechanisms, efficacy and product enhancements have created opportunities for growth.
According to Euromonitor, hair colorants grew by 7% in 2005, the most current data available, compared with the 8% growth in the total cosmetics and toiletries sector for the same time frame. The growth it did achieve came largely from the expansion of underdeveloped markets rather than from new products. In an article published in GCI magazine’s September 2006 issue, the research and consulting organization declared that innovation is the key to boosting sales in the category.
“One aspect of our industry that has influenced hair color formulations has been the wealth of ingredients and supporting technical information on how to better deliver color to hair fibers with reduced damage. Additionally, consumer demands, competitive market pressure and changing regulations are drivers which have and will continue to create fluctuations in hair color concepts,” according to Mabel Covey, CTO/VP, science and technology, and William Onyebuagu, director of science and technology for Hair Systems, Inc. Hair Systems has been in the color manufacturing business for over 15 years, performing R&D and contract manufacturing for all types of reactive hair care products.
In its report, Eurmonitor said that growth in mature segments such as hair care was coming from niche brands and products where the focus has been on “replacing artificial bleaches with gentler, natural ingredients.” International Hair and Beauty Systems’ Organic Color Systems, an ammonia free colorant, and Jots, a product that replaces ammonia and peroxide with burdock oil extract, are two examples.
An aging population and its graying hair, along with growing numbers of consumers who color their hair, has created a niche that answers the demand for color products to cover up root re-growth between salon visits. One such product combines color and developer for permanent color in a dual-chamber applicator that helps customers apply it to their roots. Launched in July 2006, The Mixer is among the latest products designed to help people who color their hair manage the roots and grow-out between salon sessions. The product doesn’t require pre-mixing, because that all happens in the patent-pending applicator.