OPPORTUNITIES IN THE PROSPERING SEGMENT OF ETHNIC BEAUTY
In emerging markets in Latin America and Africa the inclined consumer is willing to invest in products that target their specific needs. For example 30% of all Brazilian consumers would pay more for a hair product that offers protection against UV induced damage.
There are new formulation concepts entering the ethnic beauty market which have been extremely successful like “low poo” hair products, which are a kind of co-washing formulations with a very low amount of surfactants. Therefore formulators and marketing specialists are very keen to receive more inspiration for this growing segment to reach all new consumers which are inclined to buy and have enough spending power.
As we live in a time of globalization with people moving around the world, the differentiation of skin and hair type moves more and more toward endless variations. Therefore ethnic beauty is one of the most promising vectors of growth in the expanding personal care market. Certainly, this market is not new. But in recent years, the demand for multicultural beauty products has grown as a result of expanding middle classes in emerging markets. Driven by higher women’s education in a lot of these markets, the consumption class is increasing – but the flat world of communications helps, too, showing global fashion and beauty trends to everyone.
Perhaps the biggest battleground when it comes to ethnic beauty is research and development. Catering to a much broader range of hair and skin types, with different characteristics, requires many more versions of a formulation than just one that is supposed to suit all. Darker skin types are better adapted to the sun, but when exposed to a cold, dry climate the skin loses its protective hydrolipidic film and its natural radiance, often becoming dull and grayish. Special care for the particularly sensitive skin is necessary, including moisturizing, sebum-controlling, and smoothing products.
Especially when hair is regularly straightened, tightly braided or put into dreadlocks, it can become fragile and break very easily. There is a trend in favor of natural hair that gained strength requiring anti-frizz, anti-shrinkage, and edge control products. With this growing group of ethnic population unique needs perethnicity are coming up. Therefore we see an expansion of product offerings which leads to intensified competition. Of course this causes increased marketing activity usually resulting in anenhanced consumption. For example in North America: the number of ethnic personal care products launched, raises from year toyear. By 2050, the ethnic population in the US is set to increase to 53% of the total, divided into 28% Hispanics, 17% Afro-Americans and 8% Asians. But Afro-Americans drive the multicultural personal care market the most.
But there is also significant growth in Africa’s hair care market, e.g. conditioners by 11%, encouraged by the rise of internet, cable TV-usage and a growing middle-class. South Africa representsthe biggest beauty market (3.72 billion US$) in the sub-Saharan region with a growth of 5.3% in 2016. Hair care was between 2010 and 2015 the fastest growing category of products sold in South Africa, with sales climbing 38%.
While in the US the natural hair movement accounted already for a 19% drop in relaxer sales (2013–2015), relaxers still make up the majority of the sector in South Africa. But, both early adopters and big brands in South Africa are seeing a swing towards natural hair and are moving quickly to fill the services and product gaps that currently exist.
Myrica Fruit Wax fits perfectly into the ethnic beauty concept as it boosts the performance of low poo products and gives edge control formulations the ideal hardness. Used in oil control formulations it supports a dry and velvet feel and a silky matte effect. Myrica Fruit Wax comes to us from lofty heights: the small Myrica Pubescens tree grows at an altitude of over 1,800 meters in the Colombian Andes. Myrica Fruit Wax is a peel wax and covers the small, grayish berries to protect them against moistureloss and environmental stress. It is a unique wax because it has no double bonds with a low melting point of 45–55 °C but extraordinary hardness. This combination of properties gives Myrica Fruit Wax exceptionally good spreadability in cosmetic formulations. It reduces stickiness of emulsions and cream gels, gives hair styling products excellent holding properties, and usedin hair conditioners eases combing.
Usually ethnic hair is very difficult to style or hold in shape. A very common issue is a phenomenon called shrinkage, which refers to the hair getting shorter after drying. The anti-shrinkage performance of Myrica Fruit Wax has been tested on type 5 hairtresses. Hair types have traditionally been classified by Nos. 1–4. Types with a lower number are straight and the higher the number the more tightly coiled the hair. Recently, kinkier textures ofhair were assigned to Nos. 5–8 in which type 5 represents chemical treated, African (mainly) hair. Unfortunately there are only type 5 hairs in tresses for testing purposes available which have first been chemically relaxed and then permed again. For this purpose untreated hair tresses have been rinsed with a SLES solution (15%). After washing the hair, strands with a thickness of 3x4cm were divided. The products used were a low poo conditioner with 5% and an edge cream with 7% of Myrica Fruit Wax. As reference, an untreated hair strand was taken. Following this, the above-mentioned products were applied on the different wet strands. Shortly after application the strands were measured with a ruler to determine their length in centimeter. Additionally, the diameter was determined by using a string. The hair was left to air-dry. After 24 hours the measurements were repeated. Results show that the edge cream with 7% of 6279L leads to the lowest shrinkage effect.
In fact, given that three-quarters of the global population are ethnic, multicultural beauty is not only the fastest growing market for cosmetics companies, but will become, inevitably, it’s largest. The movement of mainstream companies into the multicultural space will be beneficial for consumers as they will be provided with a wider array of products targeting their needs. Smaller multicultural companies will also need to innovate in order to gain sales and create a niche for themselves or position themselves fora potential acquisition. In addition, the competition coming from the general market also blurs the lines and has a challenging impacton the multicultural marketers. New ethnic beauty products launched are following trends such as alphabet creams, blurring and brightening products and natural formulations. Especially the movement towards natural hair contributes to the growth of this segment supported by the global trend of chemical free consumers as well as an increase in consciousness ideas amongst millennials.