Turning into the Volume Trend

March 5, 2007 | Contact Author | By: Katie Schaefer
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One of the hottest trends in the hair care market today is volumizing. Consumers seek out the gravity defying, age defying, healthy and gorgeous benefits of volume through a number of commercially available volume-enhancing products. A recent Omnibus survey of 1,000 people in the United States revealed that 80% of the respondents who said volume is important also have a strong interest in increasing the volume of their hair. This information has helped to cast some light on the needs of consumers today and the kinds of products consumers may be willing to use in the future to achieve volume efficiently.


Consumers in the United States place a heavy emphasis on shampoo to obtain volume-enhancing effects. Volumizing shampoo products have been available for years, which suggests that there is a reasonably high level of satisfaction among volumizing shampoo consumers. Periodically, people question whether improvements can be made in the area of volumizing.

American consumers certainly have a number of options when it comes time to turn up the volume. American women have been shown to consider mousse the best option to achieve volume from a styling aid, while American men tend to utilize hair gel for volume-enhancing effects. This data can be used to find out who wanted volumzing effects from shampoo, styling aids and other products (Table 1).

Table 1: Product preferences in the USA

Chart of Product Preference

Consumers are Open to the Idea of a Complete Volumizing Regimen
One of the most important ‘take aways’ from the Omnibus study was not found in any one answer but rather all of the data combined. It was inferred that different consumers appear to be open to using a variety of products to achieve a desired level of volume. If consumers are using more than one product to achieve superior volume today, then there may be significant potential to market a complete volumizing regimen that is more efficient as a system of products.

National Starch Personal Care set out to test the theory with a polymer technology incorporated into a system of formulated prototypes. Consumer panels were conducted to determine the efficacy of the prototypes. The prototypes, known as The Art of Volume, demonstrated that hair care product companies have a number of options for commercializing new products that consumers will use.

A System Approach Based on Polyquaternium-4/Hydroxypropyl Starch Copolymer
A series of prototype products included polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer as the primary volumizing agent. Polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer is a co-processed combination of starch and cationic cellulose, useful in mousse and other systems where ease of combing, feel, anti-static and high humidity curl retention are important. Four formulas were assembled with polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer:
1) Volumizing Shampoo, formulated with 1% polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer
2) A volumizing conditioner with 1% polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer
3) A volumizing mouse containing 2% polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer
4) A volumizing gel containing 1% polyquaternium-4

These prototypes were tested as a system in studies that asked participants to use both the shampoo and the conditioner and choose a styling product based on their normal hair care regimen. (Caption 1) The studies showed that the volumization achieved with the system surpassed the volume produced by the participants’ current volumizing regimen. All four product formulas showed comparable or superior volumizing when compared to commercial benchmarks. With the shadow test method, the volumizing shampoo built more than six times the volume of leading commercial benchmarks. The volumizing mousse formula, also tested according to the shadow method, generated almost double the volume enhancement compared to leading commercial benchmarks.

Caption 1: Pump it up volumizing mousse hair tresses

Hair Tresses

What Panelists Said About a Regimen of Volumizing Formulas
It was found in this study that volume is important for consumers, and that they will use a variety of products to get it. Equally as important, it was found that consumers are willing to change their products to achieve the benefits of volume. The mousse volumizing system was preferred by 63% of panelists over their current regimen, and 61% of panelists preferred the gel volumizing system over their current volumizing regimen. A majority of panelists also agreed that the volumizing mousse and gel formulas distributed evenly through hair, holding the style in place while providing volume.

The Art Of Volume Kit
National Starch Personal Care offers the Art of Volume prototype formulas (and kit) to formulators of hair care products interested in a new approach to volumizing. For more details about the Art of Volume prototypes, and to look at the comprehenive consumer research, download the PowerPoint presentation at http://www.personalcarepolymers.com/presentations/presentations.asp 

- Kathy Maurer
National Starch Personal Care 

To order the free Art of Volume sample kit, contact personal care connection in Bridgewater, N.J., USA, at 1-800-331-6212, or by e-mail at personalcare.usa@nstarch.com.