Cosmetics Business reveals the top 5 hair care trends of 2023 in new report

By Jo Allen | Published: 3-Oct-2023

It's hair care's time in the spotlight as sales outstrip skin care, and consumers zero in on their hair and scalp health

This article was originally published in the Hair Care Trend Report. Receive your copy here

From serums to slugging, ceramides to cycling, many of the trends that are peppering hair care, whether it’s ingredients, formats or regimes, stem directly from skin care.

Yet the hair care sector is also stepping out of the shadow of its sister category, and finding its own stride.

While skin care sales growth slowed as consumers found less time for extensive routines, hair care’s momentum has remained strong.

“Globally, hair care outgrew the broader beauty and personal care industry in 2022, recording value growth of 8%,” says Connor Spicer, Senior Research Beauty Analyst at Euromonitor International, stating that this is because “consumers have taken a stronger interest in their hair health and out-of-home activities increased.”

Consumers are also continuing to spend on premium hair care, with Circana noting that this trend has held strong since before the pandemic.

“Prestige hair care has been in double digit growth for three years now,” says Mathilde Lion, Executive Director, Global Client Development at Circana.

The latest Circana data, for the 12 months ending June 2023, reveals that sales of prestige hair care products soared by 26% in Europe, and while high inflation was a contributing factor, the trend to indulge in more premium products has persisted.

Spicer explains: “As inflation impacted product pricing and consumer confidence, the way consumers purchase hair care products is evolving.

“In countries such as the US and the UK, they have become more selective, opting for fewer but higher quality items.”

The demand for premium hair care has resulted in strong growth for players such as Gisou, a luxury brand of products infused with its proprietary Mirsalehi honey, and Virtue Labs, a range of keratin-based treatments designed to improve the health of all hair types.

According to Spicer, the growth of premium products can partly be attributed to the increased penetration of hair treatments, such as scalp care and hair loss products, which often come at a higher price point: “These have become key products in some consumers’ routines,” he says.

The interest that consumers have been taking with their hair and scalp health has been supported by a sharp rise in innovation.

Here, Cosmetics Business gives a taster of the latest hair care trends that are shaping the industry and providing opportunities for brands.

Trends will be revealed in detail throughout October exclusively to subscribers, so don't miss out and subscribe

Trend 1: Anti-dandruff care just got sexy

Meet the new guard of anti-dandruff care.

Out goes a category that follows prescriptive standards in everything from the ingredients to the packaging, where remedies start and end with clinical functionality.

Brands are turning dandruff care into a more approachable and normalised space, with a fresh array of alluring and elevated products designed to change the experiences that consumers can have when treating this common condition.

Innovations still focus on efficacy and results but with branding and products that are more aligned with beauty and skin care, touting attributes such as enticing scents and chic packaging.

This trend uncovers four ways that brands are upgrading the anti-dandruff segment.

Trend 2: Brands are backing overnight scalp serums as the next hair care trend

Trends in night time beauty have seen the viral ‘slugging’ routine move from skin care to hair care, a technique that uses oil to lock in moisture overnight.

But hair care brands are now backing another bedtime trend: overnight scalp serums.

While oils sometimes need to be washed off in the morning to avoid strands from feeling greasy and limp, and prevent product build-up, Aveda’s Principal Scientist Alison Pawlus, PhD, says that this isn’t an issue with serums.

“Overnight serums for hair have an upper hand because they are lightweight formulas with new technologies and powerful actives, as in our case with Botanical Repair Strengthening Overnight Serum.”

This trend explores how serums can work effectively on the scalp when used overnight, a benefit that brands are likely to capitalise on further.

Trend 3: Hair waters: the 'miracle' treatments consumers have been waiting for

When a product is hailed a ‘miracle in a bottle’, it usually refers to a skin care product, often a new age-defying serum. But hair care now has its own answer: hair waters.

These are treatments that work in seconds, are easy to use and deliver a mirror-like shine. They also avoid weighing hair down and reduce breakage, while leaving it feeling smooth.

And a sharp rise in the level of innovation of these products shows that brands have hit upon a format that is as promising as it is appealing.

Trend 4: The brands riding high on TikTok's rosemary oil obsession

Rosemary oil has gone viral over the past year for its use as a hair growth treatment, with  #rosemaryoil racking up over 2 billion views on TikTok.

For the hair care industry, the benefits of rosemary oil have been recognised and utilised for decades, but the recent surge in attention for the traditional ingredient has been game-changing for brands that have been using it in their products – in some cases for decades.

In this trend article, Cosmetics Business finds out which brands have experienced skyrocketing sales on the back of one of 2023's biggest #HairTok trends.

Trend 5: Hair cycling: An opportunity to educate on hair and scalp health

What happens when you ask a hair care expert about 'hair cycling' – the trend which refers to rotating different hair care products to improve the health of the hair and scalp as needs change?

“We’ve been doing this forever,” Hollywood’s renowned hair care expert and formulator Philip B tells Cosmetics Business. Yet he adds: “While the concept of cycling is nothing new, the name is, so I guess giving it a new name gives it a whole new existence.

“And for young people who are on TikTok, it means that it gets introduced it to a whole new audience.”

This is where ‘hair cycling’, as a trend, becomes interesting: young consumers are craving education about hair care to the point that time-tested practices are being repackaged and introduced afresh on social media – and then going viral.

For brands, this translates to an opportunity they can use to educate young consumers on their hair and scalp health.

A subscription offering unlimited access to all Cosmetics Business print and digital content is available from our subscription website.

You may also like