The “Plex” Movement Revolutionizes the Global Salon Hair Care Industry

Hair Coloring in Salons
Hair Coloring in Salons

The global market for hair coloring services in salons increases every year, driven by the aging population paired with the desire to look younger, as well as the increasing consumer base and spending in developing markets. According to Salon Hair Care Global Series, the segment grew by a healthy 2.5% in 2014, increasing above the overall salon hair industry’s growth. This continued upward trend has not only incited sales in the colorants category, but has also boosted sales of hair treatments that target colored hair. Between 2009 and 2014, the hair treatments category has globally increased at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of almost 6.5%.

Global Sales of Professional Hair Treatments, 2009 to 2014
Global Sales of Professional Hair Treatments,
2009 to 2014

SOURCE: Kline’s Salon Hair Care Global Series.

While growth has been stable for hair coloring and treatments, the industry is missing a true innovation that can push sales to a whole different level. Recently, the largest wave-creating innovation in the professional hair care market has been Olaplex, which is a two-step hair repair system that seems to have as much potential as Moroccanoil and INOA combined. The remarkable part about this system is that it claims to penetrate into the hair structure and re-build hair bonds. The products, although they can be used on their own, are mostly used during hair coloring treatments in salons. Effects are mainly visible during bleaching and on very damaged hair.

The brand has taken the professional hair care markets around the world by storm. During its launch year in North America in 2014, Olaplex racked up sales of about $10 million, and initial results for 2015 indicate its sales have more than tripled. On top of that, Olaplex’s international expansion in 2015 has been impressive, as the brand now has official distribution in more than 60 countries. The biggest promotion for the miracles that Olaplex claims to do to hair has been Kim Kardashian’s makeover, which turned her previously dark hair to blonde without any visible damage.

Kim Kardashian and Olaplex
Kim Kardashian and Olaplex

As with any major innovation, Olaplex quickly generated followers and copycats in the industry. Within months, several players launched their own version of bond repair products, one of which is ColorpHlex, Olaplex’s largest competitor. The brand claims to be the global leader in hair strengthening products. The system works similarly to Olaplex as a two-step process used during hair coloring services, but its positioning is geared more towards the natural-inspired products segment as its products are centered around the fact that they contain naturally-derived protein molecules.

ColorpHlex
ColorpHlex

Another example of a product with similar claims is Brazilian Blowouts Bond Builder, which is a one-step system that gets mixed into a hair coloring product. There are also several copycats with similar names to Olaplex and its design, such as Beplex, Snaplex, and Cureplex.

Beplex, Snaplex, and Cureplex
Beplex, Snaplex, and Cureplex

One thing is sure—Olaplex has started a completely new category of products! We are capturing this trend, as well as sizing the market of bond multipliers, in all 21 markets analyzed in detail in the upcoming 2015 edition of Salon Hair Care Global Series.

Written by Agnieszka Saintemarie, Project Manager, Consumer Products Practice