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Custom Hair Care Brand The Hair Lab by Strands Launches at Walmart

Launching exclusively at Walmart, The Hair Lab seeks to bring the curated approach to personalized hair care of its prestige parent brand, Strands Hair Care, to the mass market.

The personalized hair care canon has a new addition. 

The category rose to cultural prominence in the 2010s with a cadre of players including Function of Beauty, Form Beauty and Prose fueling its ascent. 

Now The Hair Lab by Strands is the latest seeking to drive home the message that hair care isn’t one size fits all.  

“There are a lot of players now in the customization space, but what we viewed was that they weren’t actually completely addressing the true needs of the consumer,” said Eric Delapenha, who founded prestige custom hair care brand Strands Hair Care Inc. in 2018 and also spearheaded the genesis of The Hair Lab, the brand’s mass market arm.

Launching exclusively at Walmart Inc., The Hair Lab analyzes the hair texture, scalp type and environment of a consumer in order to pair them with suitable 11-oz. shampoo and conditioner bases, with options including moisturizing, revitalizing and clarifying shampoos, and lightweight, well-balanced and deep conditioners. 

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To further cater to each consumer’s specific hair needs, those who embark on the brand’s Strands Test (which can be taken online now, or in-store at 2,500 Walmart locations nationwide starting Sept. 1) are also matched with three targeted “doses,” which are 0.2 oz. each and can be added to one’s shampoo and conditioner bases.

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Among the 10 doses consumers can be paired with are shine-boosting, moisture-boosting, rebuilding and antifrizz doses, which can be purchased for $2.94 for a set of two of the same kind, while the brand’s conditioner and shampoo bottles cost $8.94 each. 

“The problem that we saw in hair care is that so much of this industry, and so much of how the consumer selects their products and assesses their hair is really a guessing game,” said Delapenha. “That guessing game leads to people wasting copious amounts of time and money searching for the right products.”

The Hair Lab’s hair analysis process is an accelerated version of that of its parent company, Strands. What is a seven- to 10-day process with Strands involving physical test shipments to consumers’ homes has now been amended to a roughly two-minute procedure — without compromising accuracy or data integrity — that consumers can undergo in-store using a handheld Strands Smart Scanner, or via a quiz on the Walmart website. 

“This online diagnostic analyzes [a consumer’s] hair, and from there, they get to learn more about their hair biology things like their precise texture, scalp sebum level, some of their environmental impacts and then they ultimately end up with five product recommendations,” Delapenha said. 

The analysis seeks to leverage a consumer’s perception of their own hair (i.e. frizziness) with the environmental and biological factors that could be causing their hair to appear and feel as such, in order to ascertain appropriate product recommendations. 

“We’re able to analyze certain factors, like your cuticle condition, and say, ‘OK, your cuticle is highly damaged,’ and so you’re going to need a coating agent to prevent water from getting in, which then has an antifrizz effect, versus if you have a humid environment, which is then a very different thing affecting your hair,” said Delapenha.

While The Hair Lab is coming to market with a focus on shampoo and conditioners, building a full, personalized hair care regimen for consumers is a goal of the brand, which noted its customization strategy can eventually be applied to other verticals, such as body care, as well.

Delapenha did not comment on sales, but industry sources estimate The Hair Lab by Strands could do upward of $15 million in its first year on the market. 

​​”This [Walmart] partnership really sets us on a path to scaling very, very quickly,” said Delapenha, who aims to expand to international markets in the future.

“Not all quizzes or diagnostics are created equally. It’s important that we stay true to our roots and our brand in delivering high-integrity data for our consumers, and empowering them with their own data to make educated decisions for their hair care routine,” he concluded.