The Rise of Anti-aging Hair Care

  • As consumers continue to work to maintain healthy looks as they age, they are looking beyond skin and sun care to hair care as well.
  • Anti-aging hair care products address concerns such as thinning, coloring, breakage and drying, with emphasis on particular ingredients that target specific hair issues.
  • Although trends in anti-aging hair care is currently focused primarily in North America and Europe, hair care brands are seeing opportunities in other global markets, including emerging markets.

One of the latest trends in the global beauty industry is the proliferation of anti-aging hair products in the marketplace. Consequently, beauty product developers, ingredient suppliers, and brands large and small have been busy addressing the graying population in hopes of attracting the baby boomer marketplace.

With concerns over thinning, breakage, dryness and over-processing, consumers have been looking for the holy grail of hair restoration for years, and are finally getting some answers that won’t cost them the proverbial arm and a leg.

“The majority of women currently treating thinner hair are unsatisfied with their current regime and very interested in a natural alternative,” says Cindy Angerhofer, Aveda’s executive director of its Botanical Research Lab. “This significant gap in treatment inspired Aveda to enter the anti-thinning hair category to provide [consumers] with high-performing, botanically derived solutions, and capitalize on a considerable growth opportunity of the brand.”

Anti-aging hair concerns among consumers know no geographic boundary, she adds. “Forty-six percent of women globally are concerned with thinning hair, yet only a quarter of them act on it.”

Where the Market Is

The beauty market has shown strong growth in 2012, says Nicole Tyrimou, beauty and personal care analyst at Euromonitor International, improving upon its 2011 performance despite the deepening of the economic crisis in Europe and a slowdown in China’s economic growth.

“Consumers are now more willing to pay for convenience, with experience also becoming increasingly important in the value equation,” she wrote on the Euromonitor International website. And consumers’ desire to maintain healthy hair has steered ingredient suppliers and product developers toward creating a plethora of hair products for the over 40 age group.

Consumers want to look and feel as good as possible, as well as prolong the gap between salon visits, Tyrimou explains. “This has led to a growing consumer desire for products which can help them to nourish and care for their hair,” she says.

Angerhofer comments that Aveda’s anti-aging products are rooted in ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing tradition from India. Aveda’s plant- and flower-based Invati line, which is Sanskrit for invigorate, targets hair loss. “This system is comprised of 97% naturally derived [ingredients] that reduce hair loss,” she says. “Invati is powered by Densiplex, an invigorating complex of ayurvedic and traditional Chinese herbs, which help energize and rehabilitate the scalp around the follicles when massaged in.”

Building Stronger Hair

Another company that has addressed this market is Capsulent, which recently rolled out Kerabead, says Tycho Speaker, president of the company. “Kerabead describes our thin-film encapsulation technology, which wraps an ultra-thin layer of keratin(from natural wool) and alginate (from ocean plants) around droplets of active ingredients,” Speaker says. “The capsule wall integrates with damaged hair. As the product dries, the internal active ingredients (shea, argan oil, mango butter or silicone) are released, forming a protective layer that seals the patch.”

Capsulent developed its platform technology for numerous markets and industries, Speaker adds, and focus groups of varying ages helped them fine-tune the technology. “What really surprised us was the benefits we saw on mature hair,” he says. “As hair ages, there is a lot more accumulated damage. With regular use [of products with Kerabead], the hair became smoother. We saw older women able to grow their hair long again because they weren’t experiencing as much breakage.”

More mature consumers (40s and up) are typically faced with thinning hair, volume loss, graying, brittleness and dryness. Studies have shown that they still desire volume, shine and manageability and eschew products that weigh hair down.

What’s Available

The hair care market continues to be very competitive, with more than 10,000 products hitting the market in 2012. Generation Klean, launched in 2011 by JD Larson and Jasmine Abedi, competes by targeting the anti-aging hair care demographic with its aptly named Gray Disappear.

“As the baby boomer generation continues to age, they’ll need an easy solution to hair dyes,” says Abedi. Many hair dyes do not bind well to grays, she explains, and consumers are becoming more educated (and discriminating) about ingredients found in many products. As this awareness increases, consumers’ demand for products without certain ingredients will increase as well. “Generation Klean will be in a good position to fill this need with Gray Disappear and other products we’ll be launching,” Abedi says.

Another recently developed product, Revivogen Pro is a hair restoration line from Advanced Skin and Hair that was developed by dermatologist Alex Khadavi. “Revivogen Pro is part of our medical hair loss treatment,” says Jennifer Karp, director of sales and marketing for the company. The line was tested at salons, where they saw dramatic success. “The product treats hair to look thicker and fuller, and the line was expanded to include a scalp treatment, shampoo and conditioner,” Karp says. It also includes a volumizing hair mask that targets the over-30 market, and the entire collection is sold exclusively through Ulta.

“We’ve done multiple studies to show what the product does on a molecular level,” Karp notes. “We have before-and-after photos, and there have been no side effects.” Another Revivogen Pro treatment for the scalp exfoliates when applied, and it looks like a mousse, says Karp, but it’s a gel that is sprayed on before shampooing. “It bubbles and crackles when applied to the scalp,” Karp notes. “And the bubbling effect pulls out dead skin cells, dirt and sebum while lifting debris from the scalp surface. Everyone exfoliates their face and body, and don’t even think about their hair,” she says.

Silver Shampoo is another product for the over-40 population, produced by Van Tibolli Beauty’s GKHair. Missy Heckman, the brand’s marketing manager, explains its efficacy, saying, “Silver Shampoo was created to enhance luminosity for silver or gray hair, and creates a more brilliant hue,” she says. “It’s also good for natural or even color-treated hair.”

Effective Ingredients

Ingredient supplier Presperse also has products for this demographic. “We do a little bit of everything,” says Sarah Jindal, marketing manager for skin care with Presperse. “We offer pigment, powder and active ingredients and stay away from commodity-type products.”

The company also recently completed six months of research on Pellicer, aimed at repairing and reversing damage. “As we age, our hair tends to dry out, becoming brittle and frizzy, and we feel consumers can get a huge range of benefits using this new technology,” Jindal says.

SheaMoisture’s Yucca & Baobab collection includes seed pressings from the baobab tree found in South Africa. The seeds contain a rich, anti-aging and reparative oil used for generations by natives of the region, explains Denise Clark, director of training for the company. The oil is high in the amino acid lysine, omega fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, E and F. The oil, coveted for centuries in Africa, has demonstrated efficacy in boosting collagen production and elasticity. It’s also purported to rejuvenate and moisturize both hair and skin, Clark says.

The collection includes raw shea, good for dry hair; coconut and hibiscus for thick hair; and yucca and baobab oil for fine hair. “We focus on using natural and organic ingredients that contain the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that make up healthy hair and skin,” Clark says. The line has been a resounding success, she adds, partly due to the company’s use of Facebook surveys and feedback.

Noting the importance of quality ingredients, Chemsil’s Bob Griffith, vice president of sales and business development, spoke about the use of silicones in hair products. “The hair care market is very important to silicones in general, and the subject of age-defying hair care is something we’ve been focused on for quite some time,” he says. “We need to be addressing hair serums that add luster and shine that would also remove the yellow.”

“One product line [Chemsil offers] is Microsil HAF products that do not yellow due to UV degradation,” Griffith says. “Volume, thinning, gray hair, luster and shine—we’re constantly developing hair care serums that will be acceptable in today’s global regulatory environment, as well as providing the type of non-greasy feeling that will provide a nice shine.”

“Focusing on anti-aging hair care is a trend in North America and Europe. I think the baby boomer generation is enjoying a much longer life expectancy [than previous generations], and they want to maintain a healthier lifestyle,” Griffith adds. “They want to look their best, and we provide ingredients that will enhance color-treated hair. I think it’s a trend that’s here to stay for quite a while.”

Naomi Serviss is a freelance writer based in New York.

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