Whether from stress, post-pregnancy, heat damage or genetics, American tresses are thinning. As a result, the quest for shiny and bouncy hair is being supplanted by the desire to fortify strands.
Eighty percent of men and about half of women experience some form of hair loss in their life, according to data from the Mayo Clinic. Compounding that, the pandemic resulted in a spike in people suffering from telogen effluvium, or TE, which is a sudden hair loss spurred by physical or emotional stress. Brands have reacted with shampoos, conditioners, scalp care and supplements to nurture hair health.
Retailers are clearing shelf space to accommodate contenders in scalp and hair-strengthening formulas. Mass merchants hope to claim the lion’s share of the therapeutic market despite buzzy competitors in specialty and direct channels such as Vegamour (Nicole Kidman just partnered with the hair wellness brand), Olaplex and Pureology.
Luxury is outpacing mass growth
It is a tall order: According to figures from The NPD Group, hair care is the fastest-growing category in the prestige beauty market, up 24% in the third quarter of 2022. “Premiumization is happening now in hair,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty advisor to NPD. Because shoppers are trading up, the average ticket is higher and people are not shopping on promotions, she said.
Conversely, IRI data shows mass market hair care across all segments is averaging only about a 3% gain in dollars so far in 2022. Leveraging success in skin care could be the mass market secret to boost hair sales.
“We have been watching the skinification of hair,” said Richie Rubin, executive vice president at Garcoa, a manufacturer of private and controlled personal care. “A number of brands and retailers are adding familiar skin care ingredients to conventional hair care items. This helps promote overall scalp health.”
The emphasis on higher-priced, skin care-influenced brands is a strategy retailers are adopting to attract shoppers. Ingredients endemic to skin care, such as keratin, biotin, coconut oil, black castor oil, manuka oil and collagen, among others, are appearing in hair formulas.
Dovetailing with that, consumers are also looking for formulas to address aging hair, Rubin said. “As boomers and millennials age, their hair will change. We are seeing products that help with thinning, graying, etc.”
Pura d’or recently shifted its focus to help retailers build productive therapeutic hair care planograms. The strategy highlights its shampoos and conditioners that address hair thinning and hair loss due to breakage, according to David Horwitz, vice president of retail sales at Vital’s International Group. Currently, therapeutic planograms focus on dandruff, but there is a “white space” for products that address hair health, Horwitz said.
“Pura d’or products are natural, made with lots of certified organic ingredients and address thinning and loss due to breakage — two very important areas of concern to women, and to a lesser extent to men,” Horwitz said. The brand zeros in on women, age 45-plus, who are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss because of breakage.
“Our products have been clean and free from everything that the world suddenly realized isn’t good for you since the company started in 2012,” Horwitz said. “In 2012, not many people cared about those things. So, I guess you can say we survived and now the consumers and many retailers have finally caught up with Pura d’or.”
The key products in Pura d’or’s arsenal include: Gold, Hair Thinning Therapy, Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick, Advanced Therapy and Professional Grade Biotin.
“One trend that we are seeing, and probably due to the high inflation rate, is interest in our 8-oz. sized shampoos and conditioners,” Horwitz noted. “In the past, our primary sales were in the 16 oz.”
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RangeMe Top Performers
Nutree Cosmetics Brazilian Hair Bottox Expert Thermal Mask
SRP: $69.99 (8.8 oz.)
Nutree’s Hair Bottox Thermal Mask is for all hair types and colors. The Brazilian Bottox Expert Thermal Mask is designed to enhance the smoothness, thickness and shine of hair, making it easily manageable. It also regenerates extremely damaged hair by daily aggression and is recommended for weak, dyed and chemically treated hair. The masks are available for hair of any color.
Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil
SRP: $11.99 (8 oz.)
Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a hair and skin care product that treats dry, damaged hair, strengthening it from root to tip, the company said. The Original JBCO formula has a medium consistency, light ashy aroma and high ash content, ideal for promoting healthy hair growth. The brand said the product enhances the appearance of eyebrows and eyelashes, and is an effective natural treatment for skin conditions such as psoriasis.
R+Co On a Cloud Baobab Oil Repair Masque
Retail price: $44
This protein-rich, creamy masque renews damaged hair by delivering nourishment, strength and elasticity to hair.
Methodology: The products selected are RangeMe Verified brands that received the highest positive buyer interaction scores within the hair care category — a score that represents a combination of buyer views, messages, saves, sample requests and purchases of the product. The RangeMe verification process confirms that brands and products meet certain standards and requirements that RangeMe’s retail partners look for before doing business with a brand.