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Mass Hair Gets a Boost From Prestige Skin-care Trends

From exotic ingredients to antipollution claims, mass and professional brands like L'Oréal Paris, Nexxus and Carol's Daughter are launching products inspired by the year's buzzy skin-care trends.

Hair care lately is looking a lot more like skin care.

Some of the new year’s first launches from mass and professional hair brands are decidedly more deluxe than what the market, often criticized for being oversaturated and too commoditized, typically has to offer. In early 2017, brands such as L’Oréal Paris and Nexxus are set to fancify the drugstore shampoo aisles with a slew of launches inspired by prestige skin-care trends, including treatments, masks and exotic ingredients.

In January, L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert is set to launch a range of clay-based hair care. The four-item Extraordinary Clay collection is meant to purify roots and hydrate ends for up to 48 hours, utilizing a combination of three different clays.

“It’s the same concept and idea taken from skin-care and products that address the T-zone — you get dry in some areas and oily in others, and your hair reacts the same way [as skin does],” said Said Dabbagh, assistant vice president of marketing for hair care and styling at L’Oréal Paris in the U.S.

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Research conducted by L’Oréal Paris found that one in three women complained of hair that had oily roots and dry ends. “It really takes care of this duality that we’re seeing,” said Dabbagh.

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Hair and how to care for it, noted NPD global beauty industry analyst Karen Grant, is an area of which consumers are growing more aware.

“Hair is doing quite well,” said Grant. “A lot of that is the infusion of dry shampoo really going along with the lifestyle trend of not overdrying and overprocessing the hair, working to be healthy.”

Grant noted that “all categories except conditioner are growing in the double-digits,” in the prestige market. Shampoo sales, she noted, were up 17 percent year-over-year in December, mainly driven by the pervasive popularity of dry shampoos and treatments.

The L’Oréal-owned Carol’s Daughter this month is bowing its own Rhassoul Clay hair-care collection, like L’Oréal Paris nabbing the popular ingredient straight from prestige-skin-care and adapting it for hair. The line is formulated with Moroccan Rhassoul Clay, aloe juice and cactus flower to purify hair from residue while adding in moisture. The collection includes a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask, and is launching in drugstores and at Target.

Also in early 2017, Unilever-owned Nexxus will introduce its City Shield range, a direct take on the antipollution trend that seemed to pervade every big prestige skin-care launch in 2016, from Elizabeth Arden to La Mer to Clarins. The City Shield shampoo, conditioner and antifrizz DD crème — it stands for damage defense — contain a phyto protein complex with wheat protein and Indian lotus to shield hair from environmental aggressors.

Hair care is ripe for disruption, noted Grant. And in 2017, on the heels of Unilever’s announcement this month that it would acquire Living Proof, attention towards the sophisticating category will be heightened.

“The type of products, the formats the products are coming in — it doesn’t have to be the traditional way,” said Grant. “Categories can be reinvigorated and approached differently.”