By Natallia Bambiza, Director, Beauty Category Analyst, Circana
My hair is straight, but I have a few wavy strands around my face that turn into curls when the weather is humid. I must admit I like the wave; if only I had a full head of it. While curly is my hair style of choice when going out, on a day-to-day basis I stick with my natural texture and straighten the unruly strands. It’s not too big of an effort, so I still end up styling my hair after every wash.
Apparently, I am not alone. According to Circana’s June Omnibus study, just over half of women in the U.S. style their hair every time they wash it. Like makeup, styling is tied to social occasions, and with more of these events taking place, the hair styling segment is outperforming the overall market for hair products. In the prestige beauty market, hair styling units sold grew by 12% in the first half of 2023, or twice the rate of the total hair category.
The heightened need for styling products didn’t go unnoticed by the industry. In the first half of 2023, the prestige hair styling market experienced growth in new launches, with units sold more than doubling and dollar sales nearly tripling, versus the same period last year. Consumers’ need for styling products is also evident in their openness to splurging on them. While hair styling carries a lower average price compared to other prestige hair products like masks and shampoos, it was the only area of the market to experience a drop in the share of units sold on promotion during the first half, according to Circana’s Price & Discount Trends tool, indicating that consumers are more willing to pay full price. In line with this, prestige styling outperformed mass — yet another similarity between hair styling and makeup dynamics.
Consumers may be turning to makeup and hair styling to create a certain look, but their product choices are driven by more than just the immediate results. And herein lies another similarity between makeup and hair styling. The “skinification” of makeup, which has been trending for the past few years, shows that consumers are looking for makeup products that also provide skincare benefits. Lately, this trend toward hybrid or multi-benefit products is also happening in hair.
Styling products with benefits such as hair strengthening and restoration grew four times faster, based on units sold, compared to the styling segment as a whole. Consumers are also increasingly relying on styling products that provide multiple benefits in one, perhaps as a means to streamline their beauty routines.
As we approach a changing of the seasons, the hair styling products on my vanity will be experiencing a change, too. Summer or fall, what will remain constant is my desire to ensure that while these products are taming my unruly strands, they are also catering to my hair’s health.