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Hair Care Ingredients: Flexible Formulations for Evolving Consumer Preferences

July 2018

This report explores emerging global trends in hair care ingredients that are linked to the impact of lifestyle, environmental and cultural identity factors on consumer preferences. Plant-derived and food-related ingredients and mild synthetics are progressively used to substitute harsh chemicals, while there is an increase in demand for anti-pollution and sunscreen ingredients and skin care-inspired compounds. Key areas of innovation with examples of products and ingredients are also presented.

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Ingredients under scrutiny

Consumers are paying increased attention to the labels of products as they search for specific ingredients. There is growing demand for natural and healthy ingredients such as vitamins and botanicals, while certain ingredients perceived as more “artificial”, such as parabens, triclosan, sulphates and silicones, are under the spotlight due to health and safety concerns.

Natural, a purchase driver

With growing consumer focus on health and wellness as well as sustainability, going natural is a growing trend. The palette of natural ingredients that are considered as healthy and safe is widening, and manufacturers are increasingly using ingredients such as aloe, avocado, almond and coconut oil in hair care formulations.

All you can eat

Brands looking to meet consumer demands are marketing products that look delicious enough to eat, containing recognisable ingredients such as avocado or honey, as part of the daily hair care routine.

Clean beauty

Clean label is moving beyond food products into the cosmetics and personal care market. Consumers are not able to fully understand complex ingredient names on product labels, and the more complex an ingredient name, the less healthy and safe it sounds. The use of fewer and more familiar ingredients that are easily recognised by consumers is becoming a key selling point within the healthy beauty trend.

Protection, the new anti-ageing

Skin care-related claims including, anti-pollution, scalp care, nourishing and moisturising are increasingly landing in the hair care segment, resonating strongly with consumers worldwide.

One world, multicultural consumers

The increasing purchasing power of multi-cultural consumers is driving demand for products and ingredients that address specific needs. Given the complexity of hair types and the varying needs and preferences of different ethnic groups, it is important to extend the range of existing products in order to meet demand.


Key findings
SWOT: Ingredients in hair care
Asia Pacific leads the global hair care market
Latin America set to see revival
Hair care market by product

Evolving Trends Shaping Formulations

Health awareness influences the formulation of beauty products
Natural ingredients with desired nourishing properties in demand
Environmental awareness and ethical consumption
Pollution in urban areas and relation with UV radiation
Diverse consumer base: Cultural identity and dietary choices

Industry Response to Changing Demands

Ingredients trend map
Silicones and triclosan under pressure
Shampoos driving the free-from trend
Anionic surfactants increasingly removed from hair care products
Milder surfactants are increasingly used in hair care products
Milder preservatives in demand
Plant-based ingredients a top global trend
Food-inspired ingredients for hair on the rise
Anti-pollution ingredients entering the hair care market
Regional use of anti-pollution ingredients
Hair sun protection is in demand
Skin care inspired solutions: Anti-ageing and nourishing ingredients
Hair care ingredients affected by consumer cultural identity

Latest Innovations and Recommendations

Scalp-care emerges as a trend in hair care
Probiotics a future trend in hair care?
Innovation required for water efficient products
Innovation: Products
Innovation: Ingredients
Key recommendations


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