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Hair straightening no longer a one-size-fits-all category

By Andrew McDougall+

26-Sep-2014

Innovative technologies and products have revolutionised the hair straightening category and made it one of the most dynamic hair care categories, driven by demand for hair control and lifestyle changes. 

According to research from Diagonal Reports, the number of consumers styling their hair in order to control it has increased dramatically in recent years.

“Innovative solutions, which offer flexibility and choice in the type of straightening/smoothing, now meet a wider range of women's demands,” says the research firm.

“These technologies and brands are being successfully rolled out globally to consumers in Latin America, Africa, North America, Asia and Europe – all populations with totally different hair types.”

Top 3 beauty markets

Looking more closely hair care, and specifically control, is a key category in the top three global beauty markets.

According to Diagonal, in the US new hair straightening and smoothing treatments have become mainstream because they offer styling versatility to every type of - African American, Caucasian, Hispanic - hair.

In Brazil, hair straightening remains the largest market in the world, while China makes up the top three, as Diagonal explains that Chinese women are ‘intensive users of hair control technologies'

Revolution

“Straightening, in little more than a decade, has undergone a total reversal of fortunes. Up till recently, it was a mono product category: the chemical relaxer,” continues the Diagonal report..

“Sales were mainly restricted to ethnic consumer segments and few alternatives were available. Then, new methods and technologies emerged in Asia and Latin America, they were enthusiastically adopted by frustrated consumers and won significant market share in their countries of origin.”

Within a few years, these multiple technologies had been rolled out worldwide and this widened the consumer base globally all the while.

This has meant that one size no longer fits all, as the straightening category has fragmented into and across many new technologies - the chemical, the chemical-free, and tools.

Diagonal says these categories have entered a virtuous growth cycle: more consumers and publicity, sales increasing all the time. In contrast, chemical relaxing has not benefited from this demand and sales are stagnant.

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