By Jeb Gleason-Allured, Global Cosmetic Industry
U.S. prestige hair product sales were up 47% year-over-year in 2021, totalling $2.6 billion, according to data from The NPD Group. Drivers included stylers and scalp care, but a broader look at the market unveils other key elements impacting the market in 2022 and beyond.
1. Inclusive Haircare
In 2021, Black-owned haircare company Mielle Organics received a minority investment from Berkshire Partners. This illustrates the growth potential for addressing textured hair with safe, healthy formulations.
Sephora’s 2022 Accelerate cohort points to ongoing interest in inclusive haircare. For instance, Carolina Contreras is the founder of Miss Rizos, which features an online educational platform for curly hair enthusiasts, two curly salons in New York City and the Dominican Republic, and products for curly hair.
Another cohort member, Scarlett Rocourt, is the founder of Wonder Curl, a “Black-owned, vegan haircare line that improves the texture of natural hair by keeping hair nourished and hydrated for days without rewetting or restyling.”
Chāmpo Haircare recently received $1.2 million in pre-series A funding from angel investors and an investment fund backed by the European Investment Bank. The funding highlights investors’ confidence in prestige, natural, Ayurveda-inspired haircare.
Similarly, Sephora’s 2022 Accelerate cohort includes Kiku Chaudhuri, co-founder, Shaz & Kiks, a brand that features haircare inspired by Ayurvedic raw materials.
In 2021, Olaplex launched its initial public offering, which valued the company at $15 billion. The enviable scale of the company is driven by its core technology, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, which builds bonds in and improves the look of hair subjected to colour/bleach treatments and heat styling. The success of Olaplex has driven growth in the bond-building category, including brands such as K18, Color Wow, Amika and IGK.
4. Prestige Haircare
As NPD’s sales data shows, prestige haircare is having a moment. It’s no surprise, then, that P&G entered the sector in 2021 with the acquisition of Ouai, the celebrity-stylist-founded prestige brand with a welcoming, non-perfectionist message similar to the no-makeup makeup trendsetters.
5. Next-level Skinification
In December 2021, Briogeo unveiled its professional-strength Don’t Despair, Repair MegaStrength+ Rice Water Protein + Moisture Strengthening Treatment ($42), powered by skincare-inspired ingredients like B vitamins, rosehip oil and, most notably, a rice protein complex featuring rice-derived water, hydrolyzed protein, ferment and oil to strengthen the hair cuticle with vital protein. The product is a common illustration of the ongoing crossover between the worlds of skin and haircare.
In response, skincare brands have gotten into the act in recent years, launching their own haircare ranges. Introductions include Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub, featuring an AHA/BHA acid.
The Inkey List got into the category with its Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment and Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, among other offerings. Finally, Augustinus Bader debuted in the sector with The Leave-In Hair Treatment, The Scalp Treatment, The Shampoo, The Conditioner and The Hair Oil, all powered by the brand’s TFCB complex, comprising 40 ingredients.
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