African consumers worldwide (sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas and Europe) share a strongly held conviction that they have not been well served by the mainstream hair care industry, according to a new report from Diagonal Reports. They (i.e., people with African type hair) feel they have been ignored—and thus underserved—by an industry developed to meet Caucasian hair care needs. This matters because their numbers are growing, including the many millions of first generation consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, people of African descent and the multicultural populations in the Americas and Europe.
Necessity being the mother of invention, dissatisfaction has created many believers in, and formulators of, traditional and homemade hair care products. For example, leading ethnic hair care experts in Canada argue that, in terms of innovation at least, corporations now lag behind consumers. The kitchen is proving more creative than the company laboratory. A number of these mixes now provides the inspiration for own brand and product lines for specialist supply stores and salons, the springboard to the wider market.
Consumer behaviour is also undergoing changes. The rise of the natural in African hair care is having a profound impact on a market traditionally dominated by chemicals. This development is here to stay because it is underpinned by a deep worldwide consumer shift away from chemicals in personal care, combined with the rejection of long-established chemical relaxers. The era of the chemophobe consumer has arrived.
This piece is an excerpt from GCI magazine, Cosmetics & Toiletries' sister publication for beauty business and marketing. Read the full report.