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How the women’s hair care industry is shifting towards heatless and sustainable alternatives

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

In 2021, the women’s hair and scalp care industry was valued at almost $81 billion, and is projected to surpass $130 billion by 2028; the market is expected to grow at an average of 6.6% each year from 2021 to 2028. This could be attributed to many reasons; the growing demand for commodities such as the Dyson Airwrap, a product that broke the internet in 2020 due to their viral curling airwrap technology, which allows for nearly effortless curls with virtually no heat damage; it could be due to the growing emphasis influencers and social media gurus have placed on scalp care products which claim to help enhance the growth of strong, thick hair; or it could be because women are, as always, feeling more and more pressure to conform to societal norms revolving around the beauty standard of “anti-aging” due to the rise of technology and more efficiently engineered products, which has now deepened its reach into the haircare industry by further equating longer, thicker hair with more youthful appearances. It is likely that the industry’s projected growth and that of recent years is due to some combination of these factors. 

It’s also worth noting that around the world, especially after the pandemic, people are riddled with anxiety and stress, which manifests in many ways across or inside one’s body, including as hair loss and brittleness. The elderly population is increasing worldwide, and more women are purchasing products to fight back against lowering levels of keratin and white or gray hairs. The general population is becoming more aware of the environmental effects that cause adverse reactions in one’s hair, whether that be the hardness of one’s water, one’s preference of how hot one’s shower water is, high pollution levels, UV rays, sulfates, or heat damage from styling products (which is a huge marketing tactic for the Dyson Airwrap, as aforementioned). 

To account for this huge desire and influx of demand for sustainable, healthy haircare products and practices, companies such as Shark have used the same technology as Dyson to manufacture a cheaper $300 alternative to the nearly $600 Airwrap; more influencers are citing products for curl retention that don’t require heat, such as the viral “leggings curls” method or purchasing heatless overnight curlers and reviving Velcro rollers; even practices such as shampooing one’s hair twice in the shower or replacing conditioner with hair masks (both of which account for more spending than the former) have jumped in prevalence, especially among college-aged and slightly older women. 

The staggering influx of importance placed on haircare begs the question of whether women are actually moving away from societal norms and expectations for feminine hair presentation and prioritizing healthy hair growth and care (as seen by the pushes for less damaging practices such as using products that require heat), or whether the importance of these societal opinions and anti-aging sentiments are only increasing and heatless is moving into the spotlight because of its sheer efficiency and effectiveness. 

Source: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/hair-care-market 

Bucknell University class of 2023