Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ageless Hair

With the first wave of baby boomers turning 65, maintaining an active lifestyle is high on their priority list—as is maintaining a more youthful appearance. A recent report projects the anti-aging products market to reach $291 billion worldwide by 2015. Moreover, this market may be more recession-proof than others, as this population continues to seek the fountain of youth and shows no sign of abatement. There’s no better time than now to capitalize on this trend and provide them with care –free hair styles and targeted hair care products solutions specific to their needs. 

According to the results of a recent poll one-third of baby boomers report they regularly color their hair to cover up the gray. However, gray or white color is only one sign of aging hair; other signs include a change in surface texture, diminished density, dullness, increased dryness due to lack of sebum and breakage. Some of these changes are due to the environment—years of coloring, blow-drying, straightening, ironing and in correct brushing take their toll—while other effects are simply due to the physiological changes of getting older. These aging transformations occur gradually over time:

  • 20s: Hair is at the peek of thickness and strength, with ample sebum and shine.
  • 30s: The external damage incurred during one's 20s becomes visible, and s slight decline in sebum can cause hair to lose its natural luster.
  • 40s: The diameter of the hair shaft begins to shrink, leading hair to become thinner and more fragile; a decline in melanin levels can begin to lead to gray hair.
  • 50's: Most men and women are 50% gray by the age of fifty due to a steep decline in melanin; follicles continue to shrink and leave hair thinner and the hair often changes its natural characteristics _ becoming straighter, curly or wavy.
  • Nearly 40% of both men and women will have experienced some degree of hair loss by age sixty, mostly around the hairline and crown; hair often appears thin and lackluster.

Clearly there is a need for Anti-aging hair care products that leave hair shiny to make up for the loss in natural sebum—but without a greasy look. Because hair becomes thinner, more brittle and less glossy with age, products that create volume, strengthen and provide shine are essential. It’s a tall order but with today’s advancement in cosmetic formulations and refined ingredients it can be broken down into four key segments. 

1.      Anti-aging shampoo and conditioner for example must be gentle and provide excellent cleansing and conditioning benefits, moisturize the hair as it cleans, and leave the hair feeling soft, smooth and free from buildup. The hair must also be strengthened from the inside out. 

2.      Because healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, deep conditioners not only treat and condition hair—they start with the scalp as well. There are available ingredients with compositions very similar to the natural carbohydrate fraction found in the stratum corneum of human skin; as a result, they are highly substantive to the skin and bind moisture like a water magnet. This soothes and hydrates an irritated scalp. These can be added to hair masks also known as deep conditioners, provide intense, targeted moisture that restores hair’s natural shine and strengthen it against future breakage. By nourishing hair and scalp regularly—usually on a weekly basis—texture, body and manageability can improve greatly. 

3.      Replacing the outdated hair sprays with an effective soft-shine spray can pack a powerful punch—smoothing, holding and protecting hair will be the go-to styling product for ageless looking hair. However, it still must function like a great traditional hair spray, keeping styles in place without feeling sticky on hair. In fact, calling the product a “shine spray” rather than the outdated term hair spray may be to a brand’s benefit as well. Even if the two products work in a similar manner, today’s consumer wants something that sounds more youthful and trendy.

4.      Sun, wind and heat can take a major toll on hair in the course of a lifetime, causing it to become brittle and prone to split ends. A great leave-in treatment like a styling cream can help restore hair to its natural shine, moisture and body while smoothing and controlling unbecoming frizz.

Salon products designed for mature hair are on the way but can only mean success when they include the right product mix and the high quality ingredients. The boomers will quickly see through products that overpromise and underdeliver; as always, product effectiveness is key to a line that will keep mature consumers coming back for more. Ageless hair care products____ a trend to watch.

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