The mass-market hair care aisle is getting a makeover — thanks in large part to COVID-19, which accelerated the introduction of new trends over the last year.
Specifically, the always-changing industry is undergoing a metamorphosis where clean formulas are a must, sustainable packaging is on the rise, merchandising will be driven by texture, men will make a bigger impact and celebrities are entering the fray.
Additionally, the “skinification” of hair — where hair is treated more like skin with regimens starting with a healthy scalp — continues to gain steam.
Online sales of hair products skyrocketed during the pandemic — a pivot for a category that had previously skewed heavily in physical doors. “Last year was tough for every category except hair, which grew 7% in a market down 19%,” said Larissa Jensen of New York-based NPD Group. She acknowledged that homebound consumers washed their tresses less often, but they colored, styled, masked and experimented with hair at new highs.
The pandemic gave consumers more reason to experiment with their hair, a factor that helped many smaller companies gain traction at retail and online.
“Overall, COVID has had a positive effect on Mane ‘n Tail sales for 2020. When the lockdown hit America in mid-March, the Mane ‘n Tail brand experienced double-digit growth as people were doing more hair maintenance at home, as well as washing their own pets,” said Devon B. Katzev, president of Straight Arrow in Bethlehem, Pa. Mane ‘n Tail established a cult following for its formula, which was found to not only help manage horse’s manes, but humans, too.