Luxury Haircare… So, is there really anything new?

In a world that is constantly changing, and sadly, under the current circumstances, not always for the best, we constantly see and hear of new luxury haircare cosmetic brands entering the market that will make you look and feel incredible, but is there really that much difference between one brand and the next?

The luxury haircare sector has definitely grown over recent years and was estimated to be worth USD 19.95 billion in 2019 with a compound annual growth rate of 5.9% from 2020 to 2027, so it would seem that there is a lot of potential for new luxury haircare brands.  Well established cosmetic brands have managed to enter into this sector utilising the marketing technique of ‘brand extension,’ capitalising on an established name and position within the cosmetic market to launch, on the back of their other successes, into this growing luxury haircare sector. With all this interest from the larger, well-established luxury brands, this has still not stopped a constant influx of new, unknown, luxury haircare brands all vying to gain part of this ever-growing sector… But in all this, what is there that is genuinely new for the consumer?

What constitutes being new?

The demand for natural ingredients, in so many aspects of our life, is a continuing trend, and seen as an almost non-negotiable requisite from the most discerning customers looking for luxury. This has been evident in the luxury haircare market too, leading to a plethora of brands, large and small, established and new, launching products that have nature-inspired ingredients, such as plant-inspired and premium botanical ingredients as their claim to be different as a brand. The introduction of revolutionary new natural active ingredients for this sector is limited to the pace at which scientific research can discover and develop them. It is rare that any haircare brand specifically develops those all-important natural active ingredients for themselves. Therefore, often their brand claim, which they believe sets them apart, is often relative or time-limited, as most active ingredients are a commodity available to the industry as a whole. That being said, we still have to look to those new brands who embrace ‘natural’ as it is surely better for us as consumers.

Lately, some luxury haircare brands are focusing their brand differential on an aspect of life which everyday seems that more important, and that is the social and environmental impact that their brand can have on the world. A worthy cause given the damage we, as a society, have played in harming our wonderful planet. Fortunately, some brands are saying that are trying hard to take a genuine look at ensuring that what they produce has a greater social and environment impact through brand responsibility. Apart from looking after the planet in the obvious terms of recycling, biodegradability or attempts at new sustainable packaging, there are other issues like Fairtrade practises, and not forgetting the need to embrace plant-based alternatives to traditional silicones, especially as these alternatives are kinder to the environment, yet so many brands still use silicone. Sadly, as is often the case, there are those brands that bundle this important message of ‘responsibility’ along with the rest of their marketing jargon, rather than actually putting it in practice. Maybe because it is felt that it is not that easy to be substantiated by others, and more importantly the consumer. Let me remind you, today’s consumer is far savvier and well-informed than many brands truly give them credit for. Conscious haircare brands understand the honest importance of social and environmental responsibility, not only as words, but in real actions.

An aspect of life that never in generations has been so important is that of our wellbeing. Like it or not, we are constantly bombarded with daily stress, through our lifestyle, our work, our financial situation, and despite being mostly a joy, even from our own families and friends. But imagine now if you add into our day-to-day the constant uncertainty and worry that a global pandemic can have on our stress levels! Luxury haircare brands that understand this reality of increasing a wellbeing effect within its products, incorporating within their formulas, stress reducing, or stress rebalancing active ingredients have to be seen as genuine frontrunners as a preferred luxury haircare brand. It is common to see the list of ‘undesirable ingredients’ mentioned within claims from many luxury brands that are not being included, but that is only a small step to holistic wellbeing. Luxury haircare brands need to seriously move out of the ‘standard norm’ of just putting sulphate and paraben free claims, as these should be a given in any luxury haircare brand. That is simply not enough to claim wellbeing as a differentiator for any haircare brands.

Can a new luxury haircare brand genuinely bring something different?

So, if we look at what a possible luxury haircare brand should represent in terms of its values, ethos and promises to the customer, in order for it to be truly different, there are many factors to consider other than just the brand name. From what we have learnt, it should obviously be luxurious in every aspect, give the consumer those desired highly efficient end results, it should be a natural lead brand, a brand that has an honest social and environmental responsibility actively in place, and it should be able to offer the consumer a genuine wellbeing factor when using the product.

Recently I was introduced to a new luxury natural haircare brand, which carries the name of a renowned Spanish stylist with unquestionably vast professional experience, Victor Toro. The brand, VICTOR TORO is an elegant, gender-neutral brand that takes advantage of being the latest serious player on the block. It has indisputably managed to incorporate all of the now required important factors highlighted to make a luxury haircare brand different from others. As a luxury natural haircare brand, they have developed their products and treatments based on plant and botanical active ingredients and used plant-based alternatives to silicones. However, what really makes this brand standout from the crowd is the fact that they are the first haircare brand to incorporate throughout the entire product range, a natural active ingredient that can resynchronise the cells controlled by the body’s circadian rhythm. Cells that are constantly being affected by the stresses of daily life; a concept inspired by the 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Like skin, the scalp and hair follow a 24h rhythmic programme, during the day hydrating and at night repairing, but the constant daily life’s stresses affect the circadian rhythm knocking this rhythm out of sync. This revolutionary active ingredient helps to resynchronise the cells biological clock, establishing that perfect balance for both hair and scalp microbiota, therefore offering the consumer a more holistic wellbeing. Victor Toro does not just stop there either, it has made concerted efforts to ensure Fairtrade practices, biodegradable and single-material recycling in their primary and secondary packaging, as well as being vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, taking genuinely positive steps towards its social and environmental responsibilities.

Can a new luxury haircare brand offer a tangible difference?

There are new brand names and many new brands claiming they are the ones with something new for you… but is that really true, or is it much of the same? In the times we live in now it is vitally important to remember that the consumer is fully aware, informed and only interested in brands that genuinely and honestly offers them a difference. Just being labelled luxury, in nice expensive looking packaging, is no longer sufficient for today’s intelligent consumer to switch brands and develop a continued loyalty to just any luxury haircare brand. Fortunately, there are a few new brands on the market willing to push the boundaries in order to offer a tangible difference.

Images: (Real Purity / Horder Healthcare / Incendo / TJK Salon / Victor Toro / Mitonia)