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Translating Trends for Hair Care Product Development

By: Feifei Lin and Kevin Murphy
Posted: February 11, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Among sensory preferences, “moisturizing” is one of the most popular attributes of today’s premium hair conditioners and shampoos. Moisturization is clearly associated with the desire to have healthy-looking hair, with the option for damage repair. Typical consumers with Caucasian hair perceive it to be moisturized when it shines, feels smooth and has a “nourished” appearance.

Health and well-being. Consumers are increasingly focused on hair products that help convey an attitude of vitality and healthy living. Because the hair condition is one of the first impressions a person can make, products that express well-being stand out among buyers. Lustrous hair communicates health, while dull, dry hair can signal poor habits and even malnutrition.

Shine is, perhaps, one of the most recognizable—and desirable—sensory effects of hair care products, and shine is often associated with healthy hair. Silicones can help meet the growing demand for hair care products that enhance hair luster and defy the dulling effect of age.

Aging population. Older consumers present their own challenges as their hair thins, loses volume, grays and dries due to less sebum production. Yet, the overall objective for consumers may remain the same. For example, while more people may be using colorants to hide gray hair, they still seek shine, excellent sensory effects, added volume, and the other characteristics that can help associate healthy-looking hair and well-being.

Volume also can be a key concern for aging consumers who may have thinning hair. At the same time, those who seek enhanced body and volume still expect a light feel that won’t weigh down hair. Where volume is concerned, the ideal conditioning and styling products add body, fullness and a perception of hair thickness—without contributing to buildup or drag while combing.

Rising prosperity. While per capita spending on hair care products is strong and steady in mature countries, developing economies will be the main engine for growth in the hair care segment as those countries experience a growing middle class that turns to sophisticated, luxurious products at higher price points.

For example, Euromonitor International says rising living standards and increasing disposable personal incomes are leading young consumers in China to increasingly opt for segmented and functional products rather than standard ones. The rising awareness of hair care also contributed to leading hair care companies expanding and diversifying their product portfolios. In fact, most of the leading hair care brands have launched new mid- to high-end hair care products targeting more sophisticated consumers.

Where Hair is Growing

More innovative products come to market each year, and differentiating for varying hair care needs and regional cultures remains the key to success. Silicones and other well-developed hair care and beauty ingredients continue to be essential ingredients in the hair care market. Why? Because their versatility provides product developers with options, and they help meet a wide range of consumer needs in terms of sensory effects and performance.

Feifei Lin and Kevin Murphy are market leaders at Dow Corning Corporation. The company offers a wide range of innovative, specialty silicone products under its Dow Corning brand and offers standard silicone products efficiently through its Xiameter brand and business model. Learn more about getting to the root of beautiful, more manageable hair.

Exploring the Frontiers of Research in Shampoo and Conditioner Science

Practical Modern Hair Science covers the pertinent issues related to surfactants and provides a detailed description of tests to substantiate claims. A sample of other areas covered in this book: Measuring color, color formulation, the effects of aging on hair, medical conditions affecting hair, and advances in hair styling written by an impressive list of hair science experts.

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