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Is there a future in probiotic and microbiome scalp care?

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Is there a future in probiotic and microbiome scalp care?
At next month’s in-cosmetics Latin America, Andrew McDougall, global analyst at Mintel, will be giving a presentation that touches on the growing market for probiotic- and microbiome-based hair and scalp care products.

The fact that the Brazil market has one of the highest consumer spends on hair care points to a potentially captive audience for the presentation, which will highlight formulation and ingredient technologies, as well as the type of products and marketing claims.

Andrew’s presentation is partly focused on ingredients that have the potential to enhance scalp health, and will have a particular focus on the role probiotic and microbiome formulations are playing in this niche area.

Titled ‘Skincare for hair: how drawing inspiration from skincare trends can boost scalp care', the presentation takes place at 12:30 on September 19th​, as part of the marketing trends presentation at the 2018 in-cosmetics Latin America event​, in Sao Paulo.

Ahead of the presentation, Cosmetics Design had a conversation with Andrew to find out more.

What good is a probiotic hair care product?

amcdougall
Andrew McDougall, Global Analyst - Beauty, Mintel

The probiotic and microbiome skin care trend has really taken the industry by storm this year, but it seems to have largely eclipsed the hair care category, unless we look at scalp care, where this type of active ingredient does seem to have the potential to make a difference. 

Like your gut, healthy skin has its own microflora with an abundance of “good bacteria” to help guard against the growth of harmful bacteria; and we have seen a lot more launches in the skincare space that look to help balance a healthy skin microbiome,” ​said Andrew.

“The hair may seem less obvious, but the same principles that apply to skin also apply to the scalp, and daily use of harsh shampoos and residue-building products may throw off the balance of the scalp’s bacteria microbiome, which can lead to dull, slow-growing hair prone to breakage and split ends.”

Healthier scalp microflora equals better hair 

The Mintel team has been tracking product launches in this space since the microbiome trend kicked off, noting that hair care products that incorporate probiotic formulations target an enhanced scalp microbiome, that in turn enhances the microflora in the scalp.

Ultimately, this is leading a number of brands to make the claim that a balanced scalp bacteria microbiome will lead to a healthier scalp and an optimal environment for hair growth, Andrew explained. 

Considering that the focus of these products is on scalp care, the other remaining question is what type of hair care products are making these claims and how do they work.

Shampoos, conditioners and treatments

“We are seeing probiotic ingredients appearing more visibly in shampoo, conditioners and treatments,” said Andrew.

“We have seen types of probiotic and fermented ingredients used in many different forms  in hair care for a number of years, it is just being marketed more so now, particularly as the link with microbiome is giving it more biological reasoning.”

The microbiome trend is very much a global one, but with the huge market for hair care in Latin America, probiotic and fermented scalp care treatments could have significant potential if manufacturers can manage to connect with consumers’ needs in the right way.  

It also ties in with ‘Clean’ beauty and wellness trends, which is why the Mintel team believes that microbiome and probiotic scalp treatments will resonate with consumers wanting to make healthier choices that reflect positively on their appearance.

“The positive health message with probiotics is that it creates new story lines for scalp care and can serve to expand the overall hair care routine for consumers,”​ said Andrew.

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