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Haircare brands need to make 2021 the year they step up and meet the untapped needs of those with non-straight textured hair.

The majority (56%) of US adults do not have straight hair texture, according to Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why. And when it comes to products available for consumers with wavy, curly, or coily textured hair, options are limited.

Andrew McDougall, Global Beauty & Personal Care Analyst, Mintel said:

“Hair diversity needs to be a key focus for haircare brands in 2021. Despite the presence of Black-owned haircare brands targeting those with coily or curly hair, bigger brands have been slow to create products for this market and face difficulties with authenticity perceptions. Just as in skincare and color cosmetics, consumers are demanding a wider variety of haircare products for different hair textures.”

Brands should instill confidence in consumers’ hair skills

Mintel research shows that consumers do not always have the advanced skills needed to recreate certain hair styles as well as a professional stylist. With 68% of Black Americans describing their skill level at using hair products as basic or intermediate, there is an opportunity for brands to help bridge the gap between skill and confidence when it comes to creating the right look. This compares to less than half (46%) who feel confident about their skills.

“For many, hair is more than just a style statement, it is a key part of their identity. Brands need to recognize the specific needs of consumers with, for example, curly or Afro-textured hair and validate the motivation behind the look. In turn, they will become a trusted source to help consumers achieve their desired look,” continued McDougall.

Consumers Going au naturel

Increased interest in overall wellbeing has many consumers paying closer attention to their hair health as they opt for natural hairstyles and the products that support them. Indeed, one in three (34%) Brazilian women describe their current hairstyle as ‘natural,’ ie without coloring or treatment, while almost nine in 10 (88%) Black American women think health is the ultimate beauty accessory. But more needs to be done here; curly- and coily-textured hair is very fragile and 58% of Black American women agree that not everyone can wear natural hairstyles as a result.

“One opportunity brands can act on now to help those with wavy or curly hair embrace a natural look is to stop the narrative that curly hair presents a problem. There are still issues around the stereotype that curly textures are ‘difficult.’ And while some brands are beginning to challenge this, more needs to be done to relieve the pressure women feel to constantly control their hair,” concluded McDougall.