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The New Hair Care Equation

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: August 7, 2007, from the August 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The Hair Equation on the Shelf

While the conversation regarding naturals, organics and ethical sourcing continues, new technologies are making a strong case for synergies in hair care, and consumers want choices—running the gamut from health food-based brands to high-tech products supported by hard science.

According to Euromonitor, the hair care category grew by 3.2% in 2006, with a wide variety of product launches impacting the above average growth. While customers spent more on hair care products, manufacturers tapped into the trend by introducing line extensions to existing brands that promised “better results at a tolerably higher price point.” Further growth was triggered by an increase in professional hair care products, which have a higher price point and are “believed by consumers to be of better quality,” according to Euromonitor. Hair care also experienced price increases as a result of premium mass product introductions and continued diversion. The global hair care market in 2006 was placed at close to $53 billion, and is forecast to reach $60 billion by 2011. In the U.S. alone, total hair care was valued at $10 billion. With styling, conditioning and coloring recurrent as strong revenue generating segments, and specialized line extensions adding appeal for consumers, the competitive landscape is dominated by brands whose success appears to be leveraged by positioning and specific result orientation.

Technological Drivers
Developments that enhance hair styling options in addition to fostering healthy, shiny hair are driving hair care product diversity.
“The healthy hair look is high on the list of consumer priorities,” said Kathy Maurer, hair care marketing manager, National Starch Personal Care. “The more new formulations can support the perception of healthy hair, the more likely it is that consumers will adopt them as part of their daily styling regimen. As an example, styling products with conditioning benefits built into the formulation are now widely accepted by millions of consumers around the world.

“One of the greatest challenges in formulating new products for healthy looking conditioned hair is the ongoing change in consumer lifestyles. People are working longer hours, taking on longer commutes and scheduling a larger number of activities in a day. For these reasons, new product formulations that address the 24-hour-a-day lifestyle trend will potentially be big winners in the marketplace going forward,” added Maurer.

“Technology for hair care products has evolved significantly over the past two decades, allowing the market to grow and offer a range of differentiated products designed for the distinctive hair structure and grooming techniques of various consumer groups,” said Beth Johnson, senior industry specialist and global hair care technology leader, Dow Corning. “Silicones have played a major role in product development, in part because of their ability to reduce wet or dry combing force, increase shine and provide soft feel, all without tackiness or residue.”