Straight hair is not the norm...

After years of trying to straighten natural curls, consumers have finally found the right products and routine to let their curls live their best lives.

In hair care, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Our routines are personal, unique to our needs and based on our own style and the natural texture and growth of our hair type. Still, few consumers today know how to categorize their hair type, which is key information when choosing the right products to maintain their tresses, whether curly or straight.

Hair types can be classified into different categories, as represented by the illustration in Figure 1 showing their variety.

- Hair type 1 is straight hair
- Hair type II is wavy
- Hair type III is curly
- Hair type IV is coily

According to research from Mintel [1], the majority of adults in the U.S. have non-straight (types 2/3/4) hair types. Hair texture is also important to understand, ranging from fine to medium or coarse, which will also impact the choice of haircare products. When speaking about hair type and texture, porosity is another term that has become relevant in haircare searches. Hair porosity is the ability of the hair to absorb and retain moisture.

According to Spate [2], consumers’ online searches for “low porosity hair” have grown +38.8% year-over-year and this information trend is expected to continue to grow in the next 12 months. Certain hair types, like curly hair, may be impacted by porosity more than others due to a lack of moisture. Consumers struggle to understand the issues behind frizz, and many are not aware of the impact that porosity (high or low) can have on their hair and on product absorption, types of ingredients, etc. Brands can target products to consumers who better understand porosity and what their hair needs, says Mintel [3].

There is a desire from consumers to be informed and to educate themselves on their hair types and texture to understand and better choose their haircare products.

They are monitoring their hair health more, and this is leading them to try natural hairstyles and seek relevant products (Mintel [4]).

Figure 1: Categories by hair type

Figure 1: Categories by hair type

Diversity in hair care, expanding the offering

First seen in skin care, there is now a need to extend the haircare offering to target all hair types and textures. Every type of hair requires a different haircare solution, which will impact the formula of the product and the format: from a nourishing oil to a light milk for instance. Keeping all that in mind, there is a gap in the market for textured hair products and an opportunity for brands to diversify their ranges.

In the UK, 32% of adults agree that there are not enough mainstream haircare brands for people with textured hair, according to data compiled by Mintel [5]. Beyond the products themselves, there is an opportunity for brands to educate and explain why certain formulas are specifically designed for certain types of hair, and to communicate the special benefits of their ingredients.

Ingredient selection is the key to meeting consumer expectations and needs. Our global Brand Development Team understands that extending a hair care line and developing new products for different hair types can be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with those hair types, their needs and the specialty ingredients available. It’s important to first understand the needs of each hair type, such as moisturization, curl definition and manageability, which will impact the ingredients selected for their performance to help achieve results.

In EMEA, Mintel [6] reports that eco/natural claims are above average and rising. In the Americas, eco-consciousness and naturalness is a must, inspiring solid, concentrated and minimal ingredients for new product development. Using familiar ingredients that promote long-term hair health such as avocado oil, coconut oil, argan oil or tea tree oil is a way to leverage this shift in focus , as well as encourage consumer trial.

At Univar Solutions, we can support you in formulating your next hair care product line. Discover our latest ingredient solutions for hair cleansing and our high-performing and bio-based hair conditioners for all hair types and textures.