Function vs Fragrance in Global Hair Care

In 2010, 941,000 tonnes of ingredients were used in global hair care. Unsurprisingly, surfactants accounted for 11% of this total, thanks to the dominance of shampoos. However, as the hair care market increases its focus on functionality, there will be good prospects for value-add ingredients such as conditioning agents as they are formulated into a diverse range of hair care products. This added functionality will also have a direct impact on fragrance ingredients. Euromonitor International investigates both function and fragrance in hair care and highlights the opportunities for ingredient players.

A focus on function

Within hair care, there is a growing trend towards individualised, ‘for me’ products that either care for or repair hair. New product launches and extensions now cater to a wide array of consumer needs: sun protection, sensitive, anti-ageing, dandruff, hair loss, strengthening, moisturising and anti-frizz. Consequently, more specialised ingredients are being incorporated into hair care formulations. For example, UV filters are becoming more prevalent in shampoos and conditioners to help protect the hair from the damaging effects of the sun – a trend that first surfaced in skin care. As a result, sunscreen volumes within hair care will reach 186 tonnes in 2015. Conditioning agents such as dialkyl quats, monoalkyl quats and silicones are also gaining ground in hair care as consumers seek more conditioning products outside traditional conditioners, including shampoos with conditioning benefits.

As a result, fragrances have become secondary to functionality within many premium and mass market hair care lines. Instead, they are being utilised to help position a product around specific functions such as nourishment. Specific aromas are helping to cue performance and, in some cases, mask the strong scent of functional ingredients. Garnier recently launched its latest anti-dandruff line in the US with a mint aroma as US consumers associate mint with cleanliness and efficacy. However, there are also many instances in which manufacturers opt not to market their products’ scents and instead focus wholly on function.

Still opportunities for fragrances

Though the focus will be on function, there will still be opportunities for growth and innovation for fragrances within hair care. In fact, fragrances within both shampoos and colourants are expected to grow by 1% in volume terms between 2010 and 2015 as these categories develop globally. Fragrance ingredient volumes within salon hair care will also see good growth in a number of markets. Between 2010 and 2015, fragrance ingredients within salon hair care will grow by 2% in Asia Pacific and Australia, 3% in North America and 6% in Eastern Europe, in volume terms. And because consumers willing to spend on premium hair care lines are also typically more open to new and unique fragrances, this category will provide the ideal space for fragrance players to test novel, exotic scents that could then trickle down into mass market ranges.

Of course, as consumers continue to demand more from their hair care products, ingredients suppliers and manufacturers will need to find the right balance between function and fragrance and, more importantly, ensure that their products provide the added benefits that are claimed on the label.