Trending in hair care: the rise of repair
Following an increased awareness of – and fascination with – hair health, demand has accelerated for products that strengthen and repair damage for next-level protection and hair that looks and feels healthy.
Thankfully, consumers will have more choice than ever, with brands adding bond building and damage-repair products to their portfolios at an increasingly growing rate. In EMEA, 26.9% of hair launches featured a damaged hair claim in 2022, up 8.6% from 2019 .
In this blog, I’ll explore the increased interest in repairing hair care solutions for damaged hair and the elements driving this trend, including social media and changing consumer routines and demands. I’ll also highlight some of our products and provide formulation inspiration.
What trend elements are driving repair claims in hair care?
• Social spotlight Rapid awareness of new repair technology, through channels such as TikTok
• Hair damage and hair health A greater focus on hair health and how this can influence hair aesthetics and feel
• Changing routines Hair routines have evolved and expanded thanks to the ‘skinification’ of hair care
• Salon and at-home solutions Consumers are seeking products that offer salon-grade results combined with convenience, ease of application and cost consideration
• Informed consumers People want to be confident in the products they’re using. They look for products with clear claims and more effective ingredients
Let’s look at these elements in a bit more detail…
Digital, online and device/app developments have changed the way people discover, interact with and buy products, including those for beauty and personal care. Consumers have an appetite for learning and are increasingly relying on digital channels for product recommendations, application tips and reviews.
Social media can be a great platform for brands to facilitate this education and spread the word about their latest innovations. An example of this is hair care brand K18. K18 built rapid awareness of its peptide powered leave-in hair treatment through the power of social media, specifically TikTok. The numbers are still growing but a case study showed that the brand amassed 27M video views, a growth of more than 20k followers and 73M video views on #K18 hair.
Through these hashtags and mega-trending ones like #hairtok, which contains more than 22billion videos, consumers have instant and easy access to a whole host of hair care content, influencing their purchases and hair routines. Read our recent blog ‘TikTok hair care and scalp care trends – how is it evolving the beauty landscape and influencing Generation Z?’ to find out more about TikTok hair trends and the impact this is having on the industry and consumers.
Hair damage and hair health
We know that daily life and consumer routines subject the hair to a variety of types of damage, such as mechanical from combing, thermal from straightening, chemical from hair dyes and environmental from UV radiation.
When hair gets damaged, the polypeptide chains (keratin chains) that make up the inner structure of hair strands become weakened and break. When these are damaged, hair’s core structure becomes compromised and, as a result, it loses its strength, elasticity, resiliency, and shine.
The growing aspiration for healthy hair and the consequent expansion of the haircare ritual is also driving scientific innovations in the haircare field. WGSN predict that pioneering biomimicry technology will lead the way heading into 2024.
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Changing hair routines
The next trend area to highlight is the change in consumer hair routines. Before the pandemic, hair care routines were often shaped by our daily activities, such as sports or socialising. Now, consumers are increasingly considering other aspects including hair health, self-care and targeted results. In fact, 78% of consumers upgraded their beauty routine since the lockdown.
The ‘skinification’ of hair care has had a big impact on this, with the market taking inspiration from skincare. Hair care innovation and products are making use of tried and tested skincare ingredients to address individual needs and target specific problems and areas such as damaged hair. Routines such as overnight repair, which combine results and self-care, are possessing great opportunities for brands.
The scalp is one of the focus areas in routines, with consumers recognising the importance of caring for it to achieve healthy hair that also looks amazing. They understand that a healthy scalp contributes to overall hair health, promotes stronger hair growth and minimises hair loss and functional issues. In fact, according to Euromonitor, 23% of consumers are now seeking a healthy scalp. We’ve already seen brands tap into this, with the number of launched products featuring scalp care claims up 41% in EMEA.
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Multi-step routines and incorporating wellness also forms part of the change. Multi-step routines were born from a desire to look good, but they have since been adopted to help consumers relax and unwind too. Products are therefore increasingly including wellness related messaging on pack. Consumers across EMEA were most influenced by the impact a product had on health and wellbeing when making a purchase decision on beauty or grooming products, with 67% stating this in Europe and 68% in MEA.
Salon and at-home solutions
Although at-home hair care routines aren’t expected to replace salon appointments, consumers are seeking products that offer salon-grade results combined with convenience, ease of application and cost-saving consideration.
The global pandemic gave consumers the chance to focus on hair health and strength over styling, and they now prioritise this on a regular basis. Formats such as hair treatments, masks and serums/oils in particular benefited from a boost in usage amongst women in the UK. Products such as hair masks are moving away from being just a self-care, indulgent treat to a solution-led product that targets specific concerns. Science-backed and inclusive formulations are key.
Consumers have greater confidence in using these at-home solutions to treat and repair the hair as well as helping it to look and feel good.
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The Covid-19 pandemic also accelerated the conscious consumer movement, with transparency at the forefront. Consumers are paying attention to what’s in their products and have put greater focus on functional, results-driven products. They want to be confident in what they’re using and they link efficacy with ingredients. It is therefore no surprise that now 60% of women read beauty product labels before purchasing.
Brands such as The Ordinary have achieved success demystifying ingredients and using them within the product name. However, it is important to remember that not all consumers are experts on what each ingredient does, and care needs to be taken to ensure factual information is provided. Brands need to build consumers’ trust by proving claims and building awareness of the ingredients/technology, especially as ingredient substantiation and product claims are increasingly investigated and dissected by consumers.
As mentioned earlier, digital and social platforms such as TikTok can be a great way to provide these explanations and information. They help to build awareness and understanding of the products, including what they do and contain, but in an accessible format that resonates with consumers.
Confidence in claims
To help with hair claims at Croda, we put our ingredients through a series of tests. For hair strength claims, we use the single hair fiber tensile test. We test hair strength because it correlates with healthy hair. As mentioned earlier, we know that when the hair is damaged, strands become weaker and are more prone to breakage.
The behaviour of a hair fiber undergoing this test is depicted by a typical stress-strain curve as shown below. From the stress-strain curve, 3 parameters, namely Elastic Modulus, Break Stress and Total Work, are measured to assess the overall tensile strength performance of the hair treated with the product vs. different benchmark treatments.
Inside the lab: focus on tensile test
Other related videos
Consumers have a growing interest in hair care that provides repair benefits, following an increased focus on hair health and how this can influence hair aesthetics. The rising trend is supported by the awareness and interest generated from new repair technologies such as K-18 and bond-building treatments.
Consumers have expanded their hair routines and look for products that offer salon-grade results whilst still considering convenience, ease of application and cost. They want to be confident in the products they’re using and look for clear claims and more effective ingredients.
To help you meet this consumer trend, we have a wide range of product suggestions offering benefits including intelligent repair, hair loss prevention and cuticle smoothing. We also have an extensive range of guide formulations to get inspiration for your next project. Explore some examples below or reach out to us to discuss in more detail here.
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