Why hair 'skinification' is having a huge beauty moment

In recent times, the ‘skinification’ of hair has reached brand new heights.

According to an article by Glossy, more and more hair care brands have moved beyond the basic scalp scrub to debut the likes of scalp serums and lotions, while also adding more skincare-like ingredients such as caffeine, salicylic acid, CBD and probiotics into product formulas.

Brands like De Lorenzo and Nu Skin® were ahead of their time with the launch of hair serums, while Wella Professionals boasts a whole host of unique hair treatments and lotions. Most recently, Andalou launched an age-defying scalp intensive treatment that helps to stimulate cell renewal to encourage growth for thinning hair by fortifying, amplifying and strengthening the hair.

Meanwhile, LUSH, sebamed and Head & Shoulders all offer products formulated with caffeine, while L'Oréal Professionnel and Kérastase Paris have debuted products containing salicylic acid. R+Co also launched a CBD shampoo and conditioner back in April, which has proven immensely popular overseas. With the help of these products, the global hair care market is expected to increase at a growth rate of over three per cent to $211 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research

“Over the years, people started spending lots of money on skincare, but were still washing their hair with [the equivalent of] dish soap,” R+Co co-founder, Howard McLaren, said. “Millennials have become more transparent with brands about what they want and have dug deeper into the ingredients in their hair care and skincare. It has simply been a progress of education.”

CBD helps address hair cuticle inflammation and a dry scalp, McLaren said. The brand saw its sales exceed expectations for the first month by 150% when its CBD product launched earlier this year. Virtue also released a scalp supplement in June, which has become the brand’s number nine (out of 50) best-selling product. Clearly, consumer enthusiasm for these products shows an appetite for new, innovative formulas and products when it comes to the scalp. 

According to NPD data, customers have prioritised skincare and hair care above all other beauty categories during the pandemic, with hair treatments and hair masks seeing a 30% growth in sales in the second quarter, ending June 30. Products such as at-home hair dye have also enjoyed renewed attention, with L’Oréal launching a hair colour concierge just last week. Meanwhile, fears over COVID-19 stress-related hair loss have increased sales of hair growth brands. 

Virtue founder and CEO, Melisse Shaban, said that from her point of view, the ‘skinification’ of hair has accelerated as hair has come to represent not only style, but also health and wellness.
“The better the ingredients are, the more likely [a better] outcome appears, and the better the hair looks,” Shaban said. “You’re going to continue to see this happen more with brands like ours, which use ceramides and peptides.”

And while hair skinification may currently be all the rage, it’s important to remember that consumer attitudes can quickly shift. For example, concerns around over-exfoliation of skin were reportedly contributing factors to the decline of a number of skincare brands.

A 2017 survey of 3,000 women by the retailer SkinStore found the average woman applies 16 products to her face before leaving the house. But considering this includes both skincare and makeup, it is tricky to determine how many products one can use on the scalp before it becomes too much. This is why, according to Shaban, hair care brands should be mindful about offering too many options.