Haircare brands need to make 2021 the year they step up and meet the untapped needs of those with non-straight textured hair. According to Mintel, the majority (56%) of US adults do not have straight hair texture, and when it comes to products available for consumers with wavy, curly, or coily textured hair, options are limited.

Hair diversity needs to be a key focus for haircare brands in 2021. Despite the presence of Black-owned haircare brands targeting those with coily or curly hair, bigger brands have been slow to create products for this market and face difficulties with authenticity perceptions. Just as in skincare and color cosmetics, consumers are demanding a wider variety of haircare products for different hair textures,” said Andrew McDougall, Global Beauty & Personal Care Analyst at Mintel.

Consumers lack of confidence and expertise

Consumers have even stronger expectations as they do not feel confident with their hair skills. Most of them think they lack the advanced skills needed to recreate certain hair styles as well as a professional stylist. For instance, 68% of Black Americans describe their skill level at using hair products as “basic” or “intermediate”. This compares to less than half (46%) who feel confident about their skills.

According to Mintel, there is an opportunity for brands to help bridge the gap between skill and confidence when it comes to creating the right look.

For many, hair is more than just a style statement, it is a key part of their identity. Brands need to recognize the specific needs of consumers with, for example, curly or Afro-textured hair and validate the motivation behind the look. In turn, they will become a trusted source to help consumers achieve their desired look,” continued Andrew McDougall.

Consumers going au naturel

During the pandemic, increased interest in overall wellbeing has led many consumers paying closer attention to their hair health as they opt for natural hairstyles and the products that support them. Indeed, one in three (34%) Brazilian women describe their current hairstyle as “natural,” i.e. without coloring or treatment, while almost nine in 10 (88%) Black American women think health is the ultimate beauty accessory. But more needs to be done here; curly- and coily-textured hair is very fragile and 58% of Black American women agree that not everyone can wear natural hairstyles as a result.

One opportunity brands can act on now to help those with wavy or curly hair embrace a natural look is to stop the narrative that curly hair presents a problem. There are still issues around the stereotype that curly textures are ‘difficult.’ And while some brands are beginning to challenge this, more needs to be done to relieve the pressure women feel to constantly control their hair,” concluded Andrew McDougall.