The internet — social media in particular — has made the beauty industry more democratic than ever before. Premium products and treatments are no longer reserved for ladies who lunch or the mega wealthy; brands like ColourPop and The Ordinary have made cutting-edge makeup and skin care an easily-accessible staple. And now, high-quality hair care is no longer simply categorized into luxury vs. what you can actually afford. In 2018, the beauty lines are blurred, and you can get high-end products at every price range — not just at upscale salons.
One brand that's been way ahead of the curve is Nexxus, which has been delivering luxury hair products to the mass market for almost four decades. With products ranging from $3.99 (for a single-use hair mask) to $21.99 (for a heavy-duty reconstructive treatment), Nexxus earned its cult status thanks to a philosophy that puts protein at the center of the quest for healthy hair. It was one of the first brands to take stylist-approved products from the salon chair to the drugstore. But how has the company managed its seamless transition from professional-only use to available to everyone?
"Nexxus is committed to preserving the integrity of the brand under the guidance and co-creation of innovative formulas in the laboratory and in the salon, working with some of the best hair-care scientists and hairstylists in the industry," Nexxus Global Creative Director Kevin Mancuso tells us. "This allows us to study hair on a molecular level and determine the specific proteins for specific damages that will be included in our ranges. High-quality active ingredients are used in our salon-professional formulations and, with the backing of [parent company] Unilever, we’re able to make them available at retail stores."
The brand cites the internet and digital media as instrumental in the globalization of haircare, too: "It has brought consumers and professionals together, creating access to a level of knowledge and transparency," Mancuso explains. "Everyone has access to information about what works and what doesn't, what’s fake and what’s real. YouTubers can demo products on their hair the day they hit the market — sometimes even before to create buzz. For me, I get contacted by followers through my social media all the time to ask about Nexxus products. We’ll talk over direct message, they can send me videos or images of their hair, and I can prescribe the perfect regimen. It has allowed for interaction unlike ever before."
Alongside social-media communication, the brand offers an online diagnostic tool to help you find the right products for your hair type, bringing the tailored treatment of a salon to your home — another way in which haircare has become democratized. Find Your Formula uses brand studies of hair DNA to target a customer's specific issue, from repair to hydration, before recommending a range to suit everything from dehydration to thinning.
It's not just the demand for personalized products aimed at individual needs that has opened up luxury hair care to the masses. When we're all living at a faster pace, time-saving beauty is more important than ever. "Women have the desire to get professional results themselves, and to experience salon-inspired ingredients and products within the realms of their own home," says Tresemmé Brand Manager Grace Buck. "We are living in a world of constant time-saving solutions, where the demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives. As such, hair care brands are innovating formulas and creating products that deliver professional results from salon to shelf, reaching this consumer through the [mass-market] touchpoint."
Tresemmé's latest launch focuses on biotin, a B vitamin and ingredient once reserved for salon use. Using insight from a consumer panel, the brand created a range rich in the hair-nourishing vitamin, topping it off with a proprietary technology called Pro Bond Complex, which is said to help restore broken bonds caused by damage and reinforce the protein structure of each hair strand — in a process that Buck describes as "helping repair hair from the inside out." At $4.99, the Biotin + Repair 7 Instant Recovery Mask is far cheaper than many of its mass-market counterparts — and delivers better, too, repairing dull, damaged hair without a salon booking in sight.
Now more than ever, it looks like beauty brands are listening to the customer, whether through in-salon feedback, conversations on social media, or online product reviews, and are addressing our main concerns in their new launches, from no-time-for-an-appointment speed and ease to affordable industry-quality products to use at home. As Peter Bailey, Unilever's European R&D Manager, says, "Now, the critical thing is being able to link real consumer insight with the appropriate technology. This allows us to give our consumers professional quality results at home — putting pro performance in their hands every day."