For a long time, the hair products sector remained dominated by the large groups present either in pharmacies, in supermarkets or at hairdressers. But as with skincare, times are changing with new players who are shaking up codes and our habits. It is first of all the pros in the field, who reclaim the market and, scissors and hair dryer in hand, become the influencers of their own products.
New concepts and uses for hair products
At the head of prominent Parisian salons, Delphine Courteille and David Lucas have launched their own ranges, short (no more classifications by hair type), clean, sensory, beautifully designed and necessarily tested and approved in the salon. Consistent with everyone’s universe, they attract loyal customers such as those who do not have access to their services but want to offer a little of their know-how.
The hairdresser Olivier Lebrun, founder of the Olab Paris salon, has chosen to put back at the heart of the hair routine an object that has become obsolete, the brush, a tool to rediscover to air the roots, bring volume and natural shine to fiber and reduce the use of cosmetics. With its Care Brush, handmade in France and designed to last a lifetime, it is part of the minimalist-essentialist movement of “less is better“. An approach followed today by the young French brand La Bonne Brosse.
There are also many alternative houses that are arriving with amazing proposals, such as Yodi and its products without water, in powder or based on aloe vera juice. “We are seeing the arrival of new concepts, new gestures, which arouse great interest among young targets in search of “never seen, never felt“(“never seen, never felt”, editor’s note). If the eco-responsible dimension is added to it, it’s ideal”, notes Lucille Gauthier-Braud, beauty director at the forward-looking agency Peclers. This category also includes the solid cosmetic approach, with shampoos from Umaï, Unbottled, Les Petits Prödiges, Respire, and today from Dop, Garnier, Klorane and Clarins.
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Hair: a tendency to “skinification”
The common thread that links most of the launches is a new approach that requires special attention to the scalp, long neglected in favor of the desired benefit on the hair fiber. This is how we see companies take hold of the subject that we did not expect there: skincare specialists.
“The hair product takes on a new dimension: it goes from a functional role to a skincare expert role, with ingredients and promises borrowed from high-performance face ranges. It is therefore not surprising that cutting-edge high-end brands range are interested in. In general, consumers expect expertise on ingredients and formulas in the “technical” sense and no longer just in terms of “styling”, sums up Lucille Gauthier-Braud.
Sisley initiated the movement in 2018 with its Hair Rituel by Sisley range. Brands currently acclaimed for their scientific approach and the visible results they deliver on the skin, such as Augustinus Bader and Dr. Barbara Sturm, in turn put their in-depth knowledge of cutaneous mechanisms at the service of scalp health by offering cleansing products that are real treatments, and serums dedicated to the scalp that go beyond the problem of hair loss and speak of youth, regeneration, comfort.
The essential gestures to have beautiful hair
“The scalp is only an extension of the skin, it made sense for me to create products rich in active ingredients derived from science to promote a healthy, well-nourished scalp and, in this way, allow the growth of beautiful hair. We are too used to using harsh hair products that unbalance the scalp, create inflammation, tenderness and do not provide a good environment for the bulbs. My credo has always been to fight against inflammation, harmful to the skin but also to the hair. It has an impact on the life cycle of the hair and causes a shortening of the growth phase”, explains Dr. Barbara Sturm, whose products are silicone-free, microplastic-free, polyethylene glycol (PEG)-free and sulfate-free, these surfactants which make shampoos foam but which are today accused of unbalancing the microbiome.
Known for its mono-active concentrates that respond effectively and minimally to various skin problems, The Ordinary is also investing in the haircare sector with an ultra-short range – a hair and body cleanser, a conditioner, a scalp serum – and a speech fitting with the ambient “skinification”: “For years, the sector is dominated by products that provide express solutions for a quick visible result but not durable and where the scalp is neglected. We want, through simple products, to educate consumers to better understand the link between the health of the scalp and that of the hair”, explains Prudvi Kaka, scientific director Deciem.
Brushing your scalp, a key gesture for beautiful hair
Haircare, more upscale products
A consequence of this very “careful” approach is often soaring prices, with prices worthy of the best formulas for the face, as is the case with Guerlain and its Oil-in-Serum Youth Scalp and Hair which comes expanding the range with natural formulas and high-tech ingredients from the hive, Abeille Royale.
“Today, consumers who have the means are ready to pay the price, they have understood the value of investing in the health of their hair, as they have done for their skin for years. It’s our role to help them consume differently, also to get used to other sensorialities, with healthier, more ecological products. And to convince, you have to offer good formulas, which has a cost,” says David Lucas.
Moreover, using a good shampoo, perfectly adapted to the scalp and the fiber, makes it easy to do without styling products and to balance your budget in a different way. The pandemic has had the effect of reinforcing interest in well-being and self-care, with an increase in the consumption of high-end products for the body but also for the hair. In 2020, this sector saw a 27% increase in salesaccording to The NPD Group.
The Hair Rituel by Sisley range completely doubled its turnover during the Covid-19 period and its success is not falling. This fundamental movement not only serves newcomers, a historic brand like Kérastase is currently experiencing renewed growth thanks to more technological formulas and a clearly more luxury repositioning. “The hair products sector is very buoyant, it is becoming extremely sophisticated and it still has plenty of room for improvement ahead of it”, observes Lucille Gauthier-Braud. Asia, in particular, represents a booming market which should encourage brands to continue their momentum.
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