Blurred lines: the growing influence of cosmetics in haircare innovation

Blurred lines: the growing influence of cosmetics in haircare innovation

Valued at $54.3bn in 2013, haircare represents a dynamic space within the personal care market and is now moving towards innovations that are inspired by other categories within beauty. As the boundaries between these categories blur, products are now being inspired by areas such as make-up, driving more experimental and efficient consumption experiences within a largely functional market.

Cosmetics and haircare share an important attribute – they allow consumers to freely express their personalities and lifestyle by altering their appearance. Consumers today live in a very visual society and, according to Datamonitor Consumer’s 2014 global survey, 58% of consumers globally believe their looks and appearance to be important or very important. This has resulted in consumers experimenting and utilizing the aesthetics of every part of their appearance, from their face, nails, and skin through to the clothes they wear.

In terms of hair, the aesthetics of this particular asset have mainly been achieved through functional haircare such as maintaining a healthy appearance with products targeted for this outcome, or through hair colorants using traditional or “naturally” occurring color variations. Consumers are also seeking to utilize their hair to express their individuality, personality, and style, creating demand for bolder, more exciting color ranges with which to experiment and that mimic the range of choice available within the color cosmetics space.

As this bond between self-expression and haircare strengthens, and with 36% of consumers worldwide believing being fashionable to be important or very important (Datamonitor Consumer’s global survey, 2014), there is a growing need for haircare products to facilitate the use of the hair as a fashion accessory. This growing bond is most evident within the colorants space, where, alongside bolder color options, brands are now innovating into “super temporary” hair colorants to allow consumers to instantly change the appearance of their hair, day-to-day and hour-by-hour, depending on the occasion, their outfit, and their mood, to complement their overall appearance as they would using make-up. An example of this is L’Oreal Professionnel’s Hair Chalk, which is available in colors such as “Blue Ocean Cruise” and “First Date Violet” and features a water-based temporary formula in order to allow consumers to “play” with their appearance.

Consumer demand for efficacy and long-lasting results has also resulted in the creation of multi-step regimes within haircare, driven by familiar application processes in the cosmetics space. An example of this is R+Co’s One Prep Spray, launched in the US, which claims to act as a primer for the hair by evening out the porosity of the hair strands to ensure that product adheres evenly to the hair. Another innovation is Percy & Reed’s Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm, launched in the UK, which can act as both a leave-in primer and a base foundation when using hair-styling products.

Another important cosmetic innovation trend permeating the haircare category is the “alphabet craze.”

The success of all-in-one cosmetic solutions such as blemish balm (BB) and color correcting (CC) creams, which contain primer and foundation alongside numerous skincare benefits in a single formula, can be attributed to consumer demand for better value and convenience within their cosmetic and skincare regimes, while also offering a complex range of benefits to consumers. This concept is now being mimicked within haircare to create new and novel haircare applications that deliver on functionality as well as saving time and money. An example of this is Alterna’s Caviar CC Cream for the hair, which claims to provide 10 benefits in one, including anti-breakage, heat protection, and UV protection.

As consumers continue to search for more effective and novel ways of caring for their hair and nurture the bond between self-expression and harnessing their hair to do this, brands will continue to benefit from inspiring innovation from the cosmetics category to continue to engage consumers with consumption experiences that facilitate appearance experimentation and effective product application.

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