Defining Style: Healthy Hair Care Packaging Trends

Vibrant colors differentiate the products of the extensive salon line of ColorProof Evolved Color Care.

Bold colors, large closures, innovative decorating processes, and sustainability initiatives—such as light weighting and recycled materials—differentiate today’s hair care products.

As options for hair care continue to expand in salon, mass-market, and prestige segments, package design has the power to elevate a product’s positioning more so than ever. Brands are relying on vibrant hues, large closures, and advanced decorating processes, along with sustainability initiatives like light weighting and recycled materials, to define their products and core values.

Clean Is In

Many customers are opting for stock packaging, and not necessarily because of a cost or time factor, explains Rebecca Holland, marketing director, at Kaufman Container Company.“Recently we’re finding that our hair care clients want a sleek, simple and modern appearance with clean lines.In the past, we saw a demand for really unique and shapely containers, sometimes ones that were hard to find or required a custom mold.Today we’ve seen our clients almost go back to the basics with simple shapes and less fuss, asking for a lot of cylinders, ovals and bullets with very symmetrical lines,” she says.

Larger sized closures, in which the cap is either flush with or very close to the same size as the bottle, are also popular.The packaging is often simple, and the embellishments come into play on the decorating end.“Many of our hair care clients have opted for multiple decorating techniques at one time–screen printing, hot stamping, and labeling all on one container–or more high-end decorating techniques like shrink labels, which allow for intense graphic appeal,” Holland adds.

Taking Control

Strong and bold colors are being used in hair care packaging to make a statement, explains Doreen Becker, Americhem’s color trends expert and market development manager for packaging. “We are really seeing an influence in color from the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is a very young influence of color, which is somewhat militaristic and urban,” she says.

The colors and pattern employ camo colors or blood splattered patterns, and are combined with elements related to the military, such as russet, brass and steel colors, along with a vibrant red shade of navy blue. “These colors are coming along with colors like asphalt. They feel very powerful and strong yet are still gender-neutral or a little more masculine. These are not the traditional pastel or pearly white colors that we would normally see in hair care,” Becker says.

The trend reflects individual accountability. “It is about people really taking control and that also works for hair, too. Rather than going to a salon and looking for the answer, people want to buy things off the shelf and really take control of who they are,” she adds.

Sustainable Styling

Consumers and brands are also taking into consideration accountability when it comes to sustainable packaging. The demand for natural and organic products continues to rise with more hair care companies pushing the envelope when it comes to green packaging components.“In the past, our hair care clients were happy with a container with much lower levels of PCR content—say 25% or so,” explains Holland. “Today, more and more product and packaging testing are being done to increase these levels, in some cases all the way up to 100% PCR content.While doing this can sometimes slightly compromise the appearance of the container, many hair care brands find the trade-off worth it for the integrity of their brand and product.”

Americhem’s Becker notes more clients are using additives to lightweight packaging. “We see this especially in the shampoo area. Bottles are usually 8- or 12 ounces with a lot of water, so it is a heavy package. We have been doing a number of hair care launches using our nCore additives that reduce the weight of the bottle by about 20%. This saves plastic and it reduces the overall weight of the product as well,” she explains.

nCore is available in pellet or powdered forms, for use in injection molding, extrusion and calendaring. The line includes options for exothermic, endothermic or blended products. It can be formulated to fit a customer’s resin, compound and/or manufacturing processes, as well as used with a wide variety of polymers across multiple markets.

PureOlogy’s Color Stylist Control Twist High Hold Liquid Wax for color treated hair features a large chocolate brown cap and a luxurious yet serious package to convey its brand positioning.
Styled for the Salon

Salon hair care products are projected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2010 to $2.6 billion by 2015, at a 2.3% CAGR, according to a report from Kline & Co. market research.The strongest growth will come from hair straightening and perming products, sales of which are expected to increase by 5% annually. Well-promoted innovative products with less harmful ingredients will have a positive impact on growth. But take-home sales will be stifled by mass-market and prestige products, which have wider availability and more attractive price points, Kline predicts.

The extensive and brightly colored line of ColorProof Evolved Color Care recently debuted in salons. Creator Jim Markham, founder and CEO, notes that hair care products can’t just be new, they must be unique and fill an unmet consumer need. “Brands must create a better product with better packaging and it must be a multi-tasker that offers something special,” Markham explains.

He notes that when he created PureOlogy Serious Color Care, it was the first premium line of products exclusively for color-treated hair. He sold the brand to L’Oréal in 2007, and PureOlogy continues to go strong. Color Stylist Control Twist High Hold Liquid Wax for color treated hair just debuted.The high hold liquid wax can be used to style damp or dry hair. The package features a large chocolate brown cap and a luxurious yet serious look to convey its brand positioning.

Keratin Craze

ION Professional’s Smooth Solutions Keratin Smoothing products feature bottles with a combination of screen printing and hot stamping, supplied by Kaufman Container Company.
Straight hair style trends have caused quite a stir in salons over the last year. While straight is still popular, concern and regulation over the formaldehyde ingredients in hair straightening has spurred growth in “natural” keratin hair care products. One product has incorporated the word “safe” into its name. KeraLuxe Safe Keratin Treatment contains vitamins and natural ingredients that weaken the hydrogen and salt bonds of the hair. This results in a three-month change of the hair structure. The line—including shampoo, serum, and extender spray—is packaged in a deep brown-and-gold color scheme with labeling that emphasizes safety and non-toxic ingredients.

Replicine Functional Keratin employs a shiny pure white bottle with blue writing that pops. It is topped with a sleek silver color and a white pump for salon use.
Another contender in the category is Hair Rescue with Replicine Functional Keratin Technology from Keraplast. Hair Rescue contains a keratin protein closer to the hair’s own keratin than anything else previously produced, explains Dr. Rob Kelly, chief scientific officer at Keraplast Technologies, LLC. Replicine Functional Keratin features a pure white bottle with blue writing that pops. It is topped with a sleek silver collar and a white pump for salon use. The brand will soon release a new range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products.

Kaufman Container recently worked with ION Professional Products to launch its Smooth Solutions Keratin Smoothing products. “This brand new line extension was an addition to the current Ion line, aimed at providing a luxury product with an affordable price for their target consumer,” says Kaufman Container’s Holland.

For consistency’s sake, the Keratin line was housed in the same containers that the main Ion line utilizes, but a custom amber color was used to differentiate it from the rest of the Ion Smooth Solutions products. A combination of screen printing and hot stamping was used, but with gold foil instead of the silver used on the standard Ion bottles. “The decorating process was rather seamless for the Keratin line because of the experience we had printing on the numerous SKUs for the Ion line in the past,” she says. Kaufman Container did, however, have to do color testing to see how the inks would work on the custom-colored amber bottles.“A five-page booklet label with usage instructions was applied on the back of the bottles, adding yet another decorating process in the mix,” she adds.

Going Dry

To meet the demand for another hair care trend—dry shampoo dispensing—Kaufman Container created a custom 4-oz. (for liquid, approximately 2.4-oz. of powder) MDPE Round Powder Bottle with a 31mm special neck finish to accompany a Roto Powder dispensing cap.“The size was determined based on discussions with a number of our hair care clients to find something that would be universally desired across the industry.With a twist-open closure, consumers squeeze the bottle to allow powder or liquid to be dispensed.This unique bottle-closure combination allows for ease of use, more directional dispensing of product, and also frees up the users’ hands during application,” Holland explains.The MDPE material was chosen for maximum squeezability and it is stock available in white, with custom colorization as an option.

“Since the development of this bottle, we have had a number of hair care clients utilize this package.It’s the perfect size and shape to work into so many different hair care lines and has ample room for decoration.Some customers have even decorated the cap of the closure with usage instructions,” she says.

Headblade’s newly repackaged male-centric head care products come in a 5-oz. bright yellow bottle with a sports bottle look.
The Male Perspective

The men’s grooming products industry generated $964 million in U.S. department store sales in 2011, an increase of 11%, compared to 2010, according to The NPD Group.“Men have become increasingly conscious of the perks associated with looking good,” explains Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group—and a member of Beauty Packaging’s Board of Advisors. “They have a heightened awareness that looking good may provide them an advantage in the workplace as well as in their personal lives.”

Men’s hair care is no exception with many new lines being created for males. For example, this month HeadBlade introduced its head shaving razor called the ATX All Terrain at online outlets. It debuts in stores in early 2013. The HB4 Cartridge and newly repackaged 5-oz. bright yellow head care products—HeadShed (exfoliator), HeadSlick (shave cream) and HeadLube (moisturizer with SPF 30)—are also launching. The line features sports bottle-like squeeze closures and a coordinating color scheme for various products. Additionally, the Holiday S4 Eclipse Executive Kit is fashioned in cardboard to resemble a leather attaché case.

Modern package design coupled with natural and robust hair trends show this market will remain healthy for the future.

China Goes Natural

Eighty-one percent of urban Chinese hair care consumers prefer to purchase all-natural products, and 10% rate the presence of natural ingredients as their most important purchase influence, according to a new research study from Mintel. The high profile of product safety scandals in China continues to affect consumers’ confidence and loyalty in the hair care realm, as the market is often associated with chemical ingredients that are found to be toxic or carcinogenic, say analysts.

As a result, consumers are becoming more cautious, and going natural. In 2011, almost 64% of new hair care products released in China touted a “natural” claim, while in the global market, products with the same claim accounted for 50% of launch activity. “The heightened level of awareness that has arisen from several high-profile safety scares in recent years has taken its toll on the rate of product development in several hair care categories, but hair colorants and styling agents were hit especially hard,” explains Jiang Xinyi, research analyst at Mintel. “The industry has responded with an increase in all-natural products. Now that China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine requires the cosmetics industry to adopt a practice of full ingredient labeling, bringing China toward being in line with international practice, hair care consumers can enjoy increased product transparency and feel better about the safety of the products they use in their hair.”

Mintel research also uncovered a gap between Chinese consumer attitudes toward premium goods and their ideas about hair care products. It indicates that most respondents have not yet recognized that advanced hair care brands deliver on a premium, and are therefore unlikely to trade up in this category at present, according to Xinyi.