NEW YORK — Beset by a soft economy that’s cooling the entire hair care category, Herbal Essences, the category’s number two brand and one of the chief victims, appears to be fighting back with a brand restage and a new conditioning technology.

According to Information Resources, overall shampoo volume is down 1.6 percent, conditioner volume is down 2 percent, hair color volume is down 3 percent and styling unit sales are down 1 percent, for the 52-week period ending April 20, excluding Wal-Mart. But unit sales of Herbal Essences could be pulling the average down.

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