In fact, US salon service revenues soared 23% in 2021, as the market recovered from pandemic-related closures, according to market research firm Kline & Company.
“From baby braids and bubble braids to pigtails, braiding became the fastest-growing salon service in the US in 2021,” noted Paula Gottdiner, project manager of consumer products, Kline, and author of the report “Braids, Beards and Bronzing Boost the Comeback of Salons.”
The trend likely began when salon trips were non-existent and difficult-to-manage hair needed attention: a braid can help hide split ends and grown-out color, while taming locks that are longer than ever. As salons re-opened, the demand for braids migrated to stylists’ chairs: the number of braiding services surged 72% last year, translating to a revenue increase of 105%. Confirming this trend is the rise of social media posts mentioning braids or braiding.
Meanwhile, 2021 saw the rise of the scruffy man, observed Gottdiner of Kline. Staying at home gave men the opportunity to grow beards. A lot of guys had the attitude that, since no one was seeing them in person, real care wasn’t needed. As such, beard services were one of the few categories that posted modest declines in the US and Canada. The latter half of the year, however, did show an increase in the number of beard services performed, perhaps indicating that men realized that if they were going to keep their newly grown facial hair, it was important to keep it well-groomed with a professional’s help. For example, Reuzel’s Beard Balm saw US sales increase 58%, according to Kline.
Pampering and care efforts included hair, too. In-salon hair treatments increased in both demand and revenue by 26%. The trend that has become known as the “skinification” of hair continued in 2021 through the rise in clarifying, conditioning and scalp-care treatments, according to Kline. Clients extended the salon experience by purchasing conditioner and treatment products for at-home use. Items formulated for repair/conditioning saw a 65% bump in sales. K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask was a newcomer this year and became one of the top 25 best-selling treatment items, according to Kline. Scalp-care treatment sales were up 27%, with Hair and Scalp Intensive Treatment Masque from J Beverly Hills leading the way.
The elevated demand for hair care products isn’t subsiding. In fact, more than 90% of US consumers continue to show strong purchase interest for hair-related products and are even taking their routines to another level, noted market research firm The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY. This category is expected to grow through 2024, averaging 15% gains in the US during the next two years.
Compared to the previous six months, more consumers plan to purchase more targeted hair-related products, including hair and scalp treatments, relaxers, chemical straighteners, hair gummies and vitamins, according to the latest “Future of Hair” report from NPD.
The heightened demand for hair care, coupled with consumer allegiances to products with high efficacy, are factors contributing to the category’s continued success. Just over half of hair product consumers say that when they find something that works for them, they stick with it and, in fact, 49% are willing to pay more for it, according to NPD.
Of course, hair health and strength are needs that will never subside with salon consumers.
According to Michael Duenas, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Veluer Creative, Los Angeles, rebuilding hair from the inside out is the leading trend.
“Everything is about hair health, starting on the inside,” he told Happi. “Even styling products are concerned about hair health. It is more about having healthy hair to style, than to make unhealthy hair simply appear healthy. Mirror-like finishes are very important: the matte look is out and high shine is in. Shiny hair equates to healthy hair.”
There was a time when oil was seen as something only to be removed from the skin and hair. It most definitely was not considered an acceptable product ingredient from the consumer’s viewpoint. But, according to hair expert Philip Pelusi of Tela Beauty Organics and frequent contributor to Happi’s Expert Opinion column online, although not all oils are created equal, consumers seek beneficial and often never-heard-of organic oils in salon products.
“Overall, these untapped wonders all act as scalp and hair hydrators, help in heat protection, and create lustrous shine. We choose oils that are shampoo soluble so there is no buildup on the hair or scalp,” noted Pelusi about salon hair care. “Surprisingly, they work well on mostly all textures.
Pelusi prefers the gold standard cold-pressed oils, meaning they retain their nutritional value during processing.
“Through the high-tech process of Micro Emulsion Technology, we perfect their molecular size for quicker and deeper penetration into the hair fiber and scalp surface. But their benefits go far deeper,” he added.
Pongamia glabra (karanja) seed oil is one of the stars in Pelusi’s latest launches, Tela Beauty Organics Magic Hair Transformer. According to Pelusi, this oil is derived from the seeds of the Millettia Pinnata tree native to South and Southeast Asia. It contains nine fatty acids that nourish, moisturize and act as antiaging, slip and heat protection agents. Pongamia glabra seed oil also has natural antimicrobial, soothing and antioxidant benefits, helping protect hair’s strength and hair color from fading. Shine and some UV filtration properties benefit as well. Plus, the oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to calm and heal skin issues, so it helps the scalp, too.
Pelusi noted that consumer views have changed greatly when it comes to natural and organic ingredients coexisting with science, where “past perceptions meant never the twain shall meet.”
“But, we have always taken a nature improved by science approach to product creation at Philip Pelusi. Very timely, in that one of today’s consumer demands is product innovation coupled with a desire for organic and sustainable ingredients,” he told Happi. “For us, the real transparency starts with our stylists who are the true link between the consumer and the product. They make the product come alive to the guest through education.”
Garren, celebrity stylist and co-founder of R+Co and R+Co Bleu salon hair care, New York, told Happi that hair loss is another concern for beauty consumers today.
“Coming out of the pandemic, R+Co and R+Co Bleu have been on top of their game, creating wonderful products that heal stressed hair and make hair feel more luxurious,” Garren said. “A lot of men and women experienced hair loss due to the pandemic and the stress that came along with Covid.”
He explained that all R+Co Bleu formulas are made specifically to infuse hair with nutrients and help strengthen the hair follicle. The R+Co Bleu De Luxe Reparative Collection and Ingenious Thickening Collection help those with thin, limp and brittle hair.
“We recently came out with the Sleep Masque Night Repair Serum that is a game changer and all of my clients who have included this in their regimen, say that it completely healed their hair,” said Garren. “It’s formulated to provide repair overnight and mend damaged cuticles.”
Innovation is occurring throughout the professional hair care space. He surmised the surge may be due to everyone staying home during the early days of the pandemic. While they were hibernating, consumers may have damaged their hair by trying to do things at home when salons were closed.
“Now is the time to heal any damage that’s been done,” he asserted.
Another big trend is shiny hair.
“We’ve gotten past the dull look and now clients want healthy hair that’s beautiful and shines,” he told Happi. “The R+Co Bleu Reflective Shine Hairspray is amazing for this. I tell my clients to flip their hair upside down and spray it all over; it gives the hair a lot of lightweight shine and isn’t heavy or sticky like an oil. It’s also perfect for sticking in a purse, since it’s so small. It really brings hair to the next level and is great because any hair type can use it and see the effects.”
Also, new at R+Co this season is Ring Tone: Ultra Defining Gel Crème. Infused with agave nectar, the formula—with notes of Sicilian lemon, tangerine, eucalyptus, green tea, tree moss and amber—helps keep frizz at bay while providing a strong hold without dryness or crunch when applied to towel-dried hair, said the hair care company. Chia seed extract conditions hair and boosts shine while prickly pear oil improves softness and elasticity. Styling polymers add touchable definition and lasting hold.
Celeste Figueroa, global marketing director, Biotop Professional, Houston, TX, observed that the salon client of 2022 is all about instant gratification.
“Consumers demand instant gratification, with benefits that they can see and feel immediately. As a result, the importance of fast, in-salon treatments that create instant results, delighting clients and encouraging purchase to continue the results between salon visits continues to grow,” she told Happi.
Biotop Professional 911 Quinoa Rinseable Oil Treatment and single-dose Treatment Ampoules are pH-balancing, deep-conditioning and revitalizing rinseable oil treatments formulated to rejuvenate all hair types, especially dry, dull or damaged hair in under 10 minutes. The treatment helps strengthen the hair, seal the cuticle and lock in moisture for added shine. Available in a 30ml bottle or a box of single treatment ampoules, this rejuvenating hair oil features Biotop Professional’s signature quinoa extract, a complete protein powered by nine amino acids that most closely resemble those found in human hair.
Many men and women choose to cover gray hair, but it can be difficult to find the time to make endless trips to the salon to keep up with the newest, hottest colors. Now, with Redken’s new Color Gels Lacquers 10 Minute, stylists can color hair and cover grays in just 10 minutes, according to the company. Redken’s CGL10 helps stylists achieve fast coverage with full control, while providing up to 100% coverage on up to 100% white hair. Color Gels Lacquers 10 Minute is ideal for fast root touch-ups, walk-in appointments and add-on services. The line is available at Ulta salons across the US.
L’Oréal’s professional Kérastase hair care brand is expanding. Kérastase Chroma Absolu Bain Chroma Respect is a new shampoo meant for fine to medium hair that respects and protects color from stripping or fading. It already has a line for combination hair, as reported in Happi. Made with a lightweight formula, this hydrating shampoo includes amino acids and Centella Asiatica (otherwise known as gotu kola) to gently cleanse and hydrate hair while respecting the fiber to protect color from stripping away. The intense hydration soothes fibers with reduced porosity to give hair the hydration it needs without weighing it down, said the professional hair care company. Other products in the line include a conditioner, masque and gloss treatment.
Furthering its mission toward a more sustainable future, Kérastase recently launched 100% recycled and recyclable aluminum bottles. They can be refilled with Kérastase’s new, lightweight Eco Pouches using 82% less plastic, according to the company. The bottles can even be personalized with engraving, making them a showerscape fixture.
Shampoo eco pouches are available for purchase in all of Kérastase’s top-selling washes: Genesis Bain Hydra-Fortifiant, Genesis Bain Nutri-Fortifiant, Blond Absolu Bain Lumiere, Nutritive Bain Satin 2, Resistance Force Architecte and the new Chroma Absolu Bain Riche Chroma Respect mentioned above. (For more on sustainable packaging, see p. 66 in this issue).
In other news, Kérastase expanded its bestselling Genesis collection to include men. Especially formulated for guys with weakened hair prone to thinning, all products are infused with creatine and ginger root for increased thickness, volume and strength.
The new Matrix Instacure collection is formulated to repair damaged hair. According to Matrix the anti-breakage system is infused with liquid proteins to repair and strengthen damaged, dry and brittle hair, while visibly reducing the appearance of split ends. The collection includes shampoo, conditioner, porosity spray and scalp treatment. All are formulated to repair damage and different types of breakage including split ends, root pull and scalp tension caused by chemical processing, mechanical heating devices and styling, according to the brand.
Matrix Artistic Director Nick Stenson, Chicago, predicts Porosity Spray will be a top-selling product in the Matrix portfolio.
“The Porosity Spray is a true hero, infused with liquid proteins and vitamin B5. It fills porous strands, reduces the appearance of split ends, controls static and frizz, balances pH and more,” he told Happi. “Consumers can get up to 60% less breakage and see results just after one use!”
Making waves in the professional hair care sector right now is a new personalized hair care line suited for professionals and consumers’ individual needs called Urban Alchemy sold exclusively at Sally Beauty with Cosmo Prof serving as the exclusive professional distributor. The brand’s hero collection, Prescription Care, is a 100% customizable hair care line consisting of three bases, seven additives and additional specialty products. Consumers can tap into their needs for added shine, hair growth, repair, volume, moisture, scalp care or color lock and create personalized products catered to their unique hair needs and desired results.
Urban Alchemy’s Prescription Care shampoo, conditioner and hair mask are customizable bases formulated with Omni Signature Complex, which has antioxidants and nutrients such as rosehip oil, biotin, calcium pantothenate, corn oil, vitamin E and horse chestnut to cleanse and moisturize the scalp.
The Prescription Care Alchemies include: Repair, Scalp Care, Hair Density, Color Lock, Moisture, Shine and Volume. Additional Urban Alchemy Hair Care Solutions include Blonde Toning Drops, Urban Alchemy Salt Scrub Cleansing Shampoo, and Urban Alchemy Hydrating and Soothing Conditioner.
“Consumers crave personalization, especially when it comes to hair care. With the full line of Urban Alchemy available exclusively at Sally Beauty, we’re further expanding our breadth of professional quality products so consumers can craft a solution tailored to their specific needs and achieve their hair goals, no matter the hair type,” said Maryann Herskowitz, group vice president of merchandising, Sally Beauty.
Urban Alchemy’s customization enables alchemists to create their client’s personal formula in the salon that best suits each client’s needs. From there, clients can purchase their customized hair care mixture to achieve salon-tailored hair care at home.
Catering to the textured hair care market is imperative when it comes to expanding professional hair care brands. For example, popular curly collection Ouidad is amping up its Advanced Climate Control product line with three solutions to protect textured hair types from frizz.
Powered by Ouidad’s high-performance Anti-Frizz Nano Technology, the Frizz-Fighting Hydrating Mask, Featherlight Touch-Up Gel Cream and Frizz-Fighting Touch-Up Balm work to seal hair’s cuticle to lock moisture in and keep humidity out. The result is curls that are silky-soft, shiny and have frizz-free definition. The line’s key ingredient, sericin, adds moisture, repairs damage, restores elasticity and protects hair from UV rays.
New for Spring 2022 is CHI Naturals with Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid Collection.
The line consists of both body and hair care, and includes a hydrating shampoo, hydrating conditioner, hydrating hair gel, aloe serum, hydrating body wash and hydrating lotion. Formulated with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, CHI Naturals with Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid provides an explosion of hydration and nourishment to lock in moisture and increase shine and softness in hair and skin.
The line helps to minimize frizz and breakage for radiant, healthy-looking hair and keeps skin smooth, soft and glowing. Formulas contain natural ingredients to promote and restore the water balance in hair and moisturize skin for optimal hydration.
CHI Naturals with Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid also features sustainably manufactured packaging which encourages a circular economy for consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle.
From volumizing sprays and shampoos to in-salon color treatments, there is something for everyone in the professional hair care sector.
“I see a huge uprising in volume styles of the 1990s and I’m here for it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see root boost products coming back to the top or trends,” noted Presley Poe, CosmoProf North America artistic team member and professional hair stylist based in Portland. “Next year is going to be an era of anything goes! We are seeing natural tones come back with a bang but also a major upswing in funky colors and beyond. With that in mind I think we will all be looking to products for well-rounded clientele, with focus on hair health and color care.”
Garren told Happi that when salons were closed during the pandemic, a lot of consumers tried to color their hair at home and “really messed it up.”
“I think next year, more people will want to get back to the salon to do color again. They will start getting corrective color or want to change up their look,” he said.
Duenas of Veluer Creative predicts that clean beauty will permeate the professional hair care category when it comes to formulating products.
“Almost all pro lines are considered ‘dirty’—clean options are on the rise and hitting pros quickly. The consumer wants a clean alternative in the salon and at home as health consciousness is on the rise. But clean products need to perform and that is a work in progress,” he said.
Stenson of Matrix sees sustainability as the “next big thing” in salon hair care.
“Twenty-twenty-three will be the year that we see brands commit to using less water in their product formulas. For us, this could mean more concentrated formulas that require us to use less at a time,” he told Happi. “That means smart formulas focused on utilizing the latest smart technology; thus, a continuation of simplifying the products we use.”
As in other categories of beauty, wellness will also be on the rise when it comes to salon hair care products. According to Figueroa of Biotop Professional, it’s all about the treatment experience.
“It’s no longer enough to offer an effective product. Today, consumers demand products that create an effective and memorable experience in the salon and at home. In this way, hair and scalp care are following what clients have already loved about skin care—consumers want a multi-step treatment ritual similar to how they receive in the salon and practice their skin care at home … after all, hair care and scalp care are self-care.”