Consumer-driven Change—Supplier Insights

The hair care market has changed from one of pure function and cleanliness to addressing specific hair problems and concerns, and this is particularly evident in ethnic hair care. Victoria Royster, senior customer sales and support specialist for AkzoNobel Global Personal Care; Jena Kinneyand, marketing manager – hair care, Croda; and Jim Mish, senior vice president/general manger, personal care, ISP; add to the topics explored in Consumer-driven Change.

Royster: In the past, ethnic consumers were using products that often had very harsh ingredients (lye and ammonia), but were effective in achieving the style they wanted. Today, they are looking for products that will be easier on their hair and will help treat past damage. Natural and organic ingredients continue to be a big trend, driven by a focus on maintaining and restoring healthy hair. Consumers are also looking for products that will provide visibly healthy-looking hair even though it has been damaged in the past.

AkzoNobel has been doing a lot of development work to address this new need, and we do have a line of certified organic starches, Naviance, which has been commercially available for about two years. AkzoNobel has developed ‘green’ technology that will support the consumer trend of natural products. Our Naviance Kit supports the ethnic hair care market by providing natural ingredients that can assist with healthier hair alternatives. Several formulas in the kit contain naturally derived polymers and ingredients, such as our Celquat, Structure and Amaze polymers. While these polymers are not certified organic, they are more naturally derived than most of the polymers our competition would have to offer for the same application.

AkzoNobel has been working on a more natural approach to all ingredients, not just those for ethnic hair care, for at least the past several years. The Naviance line was launched about two years ago, and we have been diligently working on additional natural solutions since then. We have gathered salon data that can assist with the marketing of our natural products. Ethnic consumers rely heavily upon the recommendations of their stylists more than consumers from any other market group. Ethnic consumers also tend to be very loyal to the recommended products for a length of time.

Kinneyand: The market continues to seek products that will offer straightening that is milder to both the hair fiber and skin. As such, we continue to see a lot of interest in these trendy straightening systems, most recently the Brazilian or Keratin Therapy Straightening Systems. We do continue to see more consumer demand for these types of straightening systems. Customers are asking for systems that are not based on formaldehyde chemistry but that still offer straightening capabilities and leaving the hair feeling silky smooth.

In response to these needs, Croda has developed a Keratin Therapy Straightening Prototype kit, which is not based on formaldehyde. It offers excellent straightening and overall manageability that has been shown to last for over a month on some consumers.

In addition to this market area, Croda has and will always continue to offer products that fit the natural and organic claims. This is true for the ethnic market as well. We continue to seek new innovative technologies to fit these natural claims while offering functional solutions to consumer needs. Most of these types of chemistries are marketed in Croda's green and formulary guides where customers can make their product selections based on their individual formulation needs.

Mish: Ethnic hair care is broad based since it encompasses many different hair types. Yet products that address the need for healthy looking hair have application throughout this market segment. As a supplier to the hair care market, ISP offers a number of technologies that offer benefits targeted to the needs of many consumers. For example, in formulating products that address hair and scalp, ISP offers ProLipid 161, a vegetable-sourced hydrophobic alkyl quat in an optimized fatty alcohol blend that delivers superior wet and dry conditioning properties to hair. ProLipid 161 is substantive to hair and offers a pleasant, soft, silky, lubricious after-feel, which is neither greasy nor waxy. Based on a clinical evaluation, ProLipid 161 delivers moisturization to skin from rinse-off formulas; this attribute makes it a perfect addition for hair conditioners where it can deliver scalp moisturization.

The Vincience BiotHAIRapy range of bio-functional ingredients for hair is the latest introduction from ISP. Derived from nature, this product line goes across and beyond ethnic backgrounds and is targeted to deliver benefits to the hair follicle via leave-on products, such as daily hair and scalp treatments, hair serums, leave-in conditioners and styling gels. Three new products within the BiotHAIRapy line (Dynagen, Capauxein and Protectagen) are focused on a different area of hair wellness, but all are designed to help contribute to stronger and longer strands. These products have been shown to significantly boost marker expressions associated with hair strand revitalization and strength via ex vivo testing.

Dynagen, the yeast extract, was designed to boost structural strength while reinforcing and nourishing hair at the root. Capauxein, the corn extract, was designed for hair growth maintenance by targeting cell adhesion and communication. Protectagen, the rice extract, was designed to boost markers of adult hair follicle stem cells which may, in turn, promote hair regeneration; in addition, ex vivo studies have shown that it may help boost hair’s natural defense against UV damage as well.

When formulating hair systems that offer long-term benefits such as those from the BiotHAIRapy range, it is important for formulators to develop products that address both immediate, consumer-perceivable benefits in addition to the long-term benefits. ISP’s product range offers the ability to marry various polymers with these bio-functionals in order to protect and enhance both newly grown and existing hair. We believe formulating products with combinations of polymers and bio-functional ingredients offer marketers new, more dynamic options in support of the fast growing ethnic hair care market.

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