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What to Watch 2019: Mass Hair Care No Longer a Commodity Category

Key players are rolling out shampoo alternatives, customized conditioners and natural ingredients in January.

Mass hair care was once considered a commoditized category, but that sentiment is no longer relevant, especially if one is judging by this year’s crop of product launches. Modern consumers are shifting habits when it comes to hair, opting to view caring for the scalp and strands as part of an overall wellness routine. Lather, rinse repeat is a thing of the past, and a new wave of innovative shampoo alternatives and customized conditioners are being ushered into the market.

At the end of 2018, shampoo and conditioner sales were up 6 percent and 4 percent respectively, according to IRI data tracking the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27. In both categories, market share leaders that focused on natural, food-based ingredients had the edge — Johnson & Johnson’s OGX and Maui Moisture and L’Oréal’s Garnier Whole Blends pulled in strong sales gains for their parent companies. The multicultural consumer is driving much of the growth in hair, with brands such as Cantu Shea Butter and Unilever’s SheaMoisture posting double-digit sales gains. Below, January’s hair launches from the key players are reflective of the changing mass hair landscape.

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Dove Between Washes and UltraCare Conditioners

Dove Between Washes Collection
Dove Between Washes Collection Courtesy Photo

Two key franchises — Between Washes and UltraCare Conditioners — address the shifting ways in which consumers are caring for hair. Between Washes speaks directly to consumers who are washing their hair less frequently. Priced from $4.99 to $5.99, the six-stockkeeping unit range consists of products designed to refresh, restyle and rehydrate hair between washes, including four dry shampoos — Foam, Invisible, Ultra Clean and Volume and Fullness — targeted at different hair needs, a rehydrating mist and restyling milk. A next-gen set of conditioners is also rolling out in January. Dove’s UltraCare Conditioner line is a customization play, aimed at giving consumers new format options designed for different hair types and levels of hair damage, from fine and flat to thick and extremely damaged. UltraCare consists of six conditioners in three formats — foam, milk gel and crème — retailing for $4.99 each.

TRESemmé Thermal Creations

TRESemmé Thermal Creations
TRESemmé Thermal Creations Courtesy Photo

After an exclusive launch with Walmart in November, TRESemmé is rolling out to the rest of the mass market its first foray into hot tools, a category that has not seen much action in the past few years, but is heating up thanks to some buzzy launches in late 2018, including celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess’ line of hair tools for Target. The Thermal Creations range consists of an ultra lightweight hair dryer, 1-inch ceramic curling iron and ceramic flat iron, each retailing for $14.88 at Walmart, and a corresponding series of heat styling products, priced at $4.99. Thermal Creations is just one in a series of launches under TRESemmé — the brand is also rolling out its first-to-mass Anti-Frizz sheets, its first sulfate-free color care line under the Botanique franchise, and a continuation of Dove’s Between Washes franchise with its own Between Products.


Garnier Fructis Sleek Shot

Garnier Fructis Sleek Shot
Garnier Fructis Sleek Shot Courtesy Photo

Garnier’s shampoo and conditioners business, fueled by its booming Whole Blends brand and a recently relaunched Fructis, is strong — and now the brand is moving on to stylers. Fructis Sleek Shot In-Shower Styler, $4.49, is the key launch for 2019 — infused with argan oil and a proprietary “sleeking technology,” the product is designed to smooth hair in the shower enough to cut styling time in half. Other styling launches include Fructis Style Curl Treats — treatments for curly hair, $6.99 each — and Men’s Liquid Stylers, a three-sku range consisting of a putty, pomade and cream also priced at $6.99 each.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Rapid Revivers

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Rapid Reviver
L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Rapid Reviver Courtesy Photo

L’Oréal Paris is getting deeper into treatments with its Rapid Reviver deep conditioners. Internal research showed that traditional wash-and-rinse conditioners aren’t cutting it for the modern woman who is heat styling and color processing hair — not to mention the variety of hair textures in the U.S. market. Thus was born Rapid Revivers, a range of three conditioners designed to double the strengthening and repair work promised by leave-in conditioners in the format of a traditional wash-and-rinse.


Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots

Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shot
Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shot Courtesy Photo

While Pantene’s overall business has yet to fully make a comeback, its conditioners are on fire — the brand’s sales in the category were up 133 percent by year’s end, according to IRI. Enter Intense Rescue Shots, rolling out in January. Priced between $1.99 to $2.99 for one tube and $4.99 to $5.99 for three, the single-use shots are targeted treatments designed to repair extremely damaged hair.

Herbal Essences Sulfate-Free Collection

Herbal Essences Sulfate Free Collection
Herbal Essences Sulfate-Free Collection Courtesy Photo

2018 was the year Herbal Essences got its groove back. After a relaunch two years ago that was slow to catch on, sales finally improved on the reformulated line — up 40 percent in conditioners and 37 percent in shampoos by year’s end, according to IRI. The brand is rolling out its sulfate-free collection with two shampoo and conditioner sets, priced at $5.99 each — Birch Bark and Honey and Vitamin B. Both varieties are the first products under Herbal Essences to be developed as part of Procter & Gamble’s partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden, which was announced in May.


Aveeno Hair Collection

Aveeno Hair Collection
Aveeno Hair Collection

Johnson & Johnson’s 2016 acquisition of OGX parent Vogue International has been nothing but a sales boon for the pharma giant’s personal care division. For 2019, J&J is hoping some of Vogue’s prowess will rub off on Aveeno’s hair business, which has been moved into the Vogue portfolio of brands. A totally relaunched Aveeno Hair Collection is set to hit mass market shelves in January. The revamped line consists of shampoos, conditioners and some styling and dry shampoo products under six ranges, or “blends” using the brand’s signature oat ingredient as a base — Oat Milk, Fresh Greens, Blackberry Quinoa, Apple Cider Vinegar, Almond Oil and Rosewater and Chamomile. Products are priced at $8.99 each.

OGX Green Tea Fitness 

OGX Green Tea Fitness
OGX Green Tea Fitness Courtesy Photo

Per usual, OGX is entering the year with a slew of new trend-driven products inspired by wellness, a standout being the brand’s Green Tea Fitness franchise, targeted at the gym-going consumer. There is also the Purifying Plus Charcoal Detox conditioner set, hyaluronic-acid infused Replenishing Plus Water Treatments collection, and the Smoothing Plus Liquid Pearl range, designed to smooth and boost radiance with pearl extract. Prices range from $7.99 to $8.99.

Maui Moisture

Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration Plus Hibiscus Water Shampoo
Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration Plus Hibiscus Water Shampoo Courtesy Photo

Two years after its launch, the sister brand to OGX is proving a formidable player in mass market hair. Sales are consistently up year-over-year — shampoo sales were up 60 percent, conditioner sales up 52 percent, per IRI — and the juice-inspired brand continues to churn out relevant launches steeped in natural ingredients. On deck for January are the Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water collection for lightweight hydration and the Detoxifying Plus Volcanic Ash collection, designed to detox strands. Each product is priced at $8.99. The brand is also expanding into body care.