The scalp like any part of the skin is subject to dryness, scaling, itching, acne, and irritation from heat, friction from combing, or product application. The scalp deserves its own tender loving care.

Start with making the scalp happy!

Reduce irritation with the following:

Decoding scalp care trends

Of all scalp care launches for the 2 years leading up to December 2023, Botanical/Herbal continue to hold the highest position for 5 years running amongst launches. The claim for Ethical for Animals has risen substantially by 20% to hold the second position. Although paraben-free holds the 3rd position, it is notable that it has dropped as has Moisturizing/Hydrating to the 3rd and 4th positions with a steady decline year-over-year.  Although the majority of the top claims are mostly positioning and informative to the consumer, it is important to understand that consumers are looking for efficacy in scalp care products because the number one concern is the price range at which scalp care products fall.

Here are moisturizing ingredients with proven benefits to entice customers:

  • PatcH20 like a tall glass of water to quench your thirsty strands. Provides immediate and lasting (~5 days) hydration.
  • Rambuvital is an extract from the rambutan seeds that improves hair vitality and scalp hydration. Scalp becomes ± 31% more hydrated within a month of use.
  • Cetiol C5 is a silicone alternative extremely versatile in hair application and approved by natural certifications worldwide.
  • Dermalcare® LIA MB virtually odorless, more sustainable, and thus fit for use in modern hair care applications.
  • L22 a patented botanically sourced skin lipid mimetic that helps support the skin’s natural barrier function and long-term skin hydration
  • PeptAIde 4.0 helps with dry skin & discomfort while soothing sensitive scalp prone to flaking

Consumers are increasingly prioritizing scalp care, investing more significantly in products tailored specifically for their scalp health. What was once a casual “let me try it out” mentality has transformed into a deliberate and purposeful purchase decision. Companies are launching products in the mass to masstige category to entice consumers however the largest amount of launches falling between $15 and $40 with the sweet spot being $30 are actually falling within prestige. Again, we can not stress the efficacy and tailored solution approach.

The diversity of scalp care

Brands can do a better job positioning for those consumers who wear braids, wigs, hair extensions, head coverings or have an exposed scalp, going beyond the basic dry scalp claims found on most treatment products today. Express ingredient benefits to alleviate tightness, tenderness, discomfort, oiliness, and acne. Consider formats that focus on ease of use, are fast acting and long lasting and either combination sets or multi-functional products.

Incorporate ingredients to reduce sebum, limit irritation, eliminate odor, and provide sun protection. Such as these:

  • Scalp Cleansing Oil
  • Clear Calming Scalp Lotion Formula
  • Scalposine – promotes a healthy scalp through microbial diversity, reducing sebum production, preventing oily scalp and reducing itching and flakes. 
  • BixActiv – Obtained form Bixa orellana seeds, this active helps to control oiliness of the skin to prevent discomfort and greasy looks.
  • Asebiol LS 9853 – a synergistic sebo-regulating complex especially developed to rebalance the amount of sebum on the scalp, proven to visibly reduce the appearance of the oiliness and imperfections of the skin.
  • Verdessence RiceTouch™️ – a plant-based sensory powder with small particle size that helps with shine control and oil absorption.

As we know the scalp is skin, garnering inspiration from what we see in the skin care market is only wise. Skin has set to focus on restorative and balancing qualities, many could say a surface detox, and the same applies for the scalp. Ingredients that focus on the balance of bacteria found on the scalp as well as those that deliver vitamins and minerals and soothe the stressed scalp help bring a combined sense of comfort and wellness. Currently scalp products are mainly launched within the category of hair products, they are found within the hair treatments category and focus more so on gentleness and free-from claims, there is room for a dry oil/serum or overnight/long-term treatments such as masks for skin and scalp. Consider incorporating Marine ingredients which have been making waves in the mask category.

Scalp acne products

  • Scalposine™ – contains a naturally occurring amino acid able to reset the scalp microbial ecosystem.
  • BioToLife –helps to limit the proliferation of microorganisms involved in scalp scaling and irritation and may support the scalp’s barrier function.
  • Mirasoft SL L60 – multi-functional lactonic-rich high active biosurfactant that helps with sebum regulation, malodor control, and supporting a balanced microbiome.
  • Mirasoft SL A60 – an ultra-mild acidic-rich high active sophorolipid that helps with sebum regulation, malodor control, and supporting a balanced microbiome.

Scalp care products in the skin care category allow opportunity to breakout into products for those who are bald. 

Why incorporate skin care ingredients for the scalp?

It allows the opportunity to break out into products for those who are bald and address the skin treatments needed for exposed skin, such as acne and sun care, whether because of short hairstyles or no hair at all.

Don’t forget about the Male population and address products that can treat both the scalp and the beard area, as the hair on the face and the top of the head is generally coarser for men of color, attention to coarseness, sensitivity, and oil build-up is key. Expect to see high interest in novel formats such as powders, sticks, solid serums, and foams.

Starting the Day off with Stimulants for the Scalp!

There is nothing like some caffeine in the morning! Invigorate the mind and the senses by incorporating caffeine into your product, or trying warming  ingredients specifically encapsulated ingredients to enhance the user experience.

  • Cetpro VBE

Where dryness is an issue, pivot to in shower treatment for your concept and incorporate products that exfoliate. Ingredients that promote better circulation help to bring invigorating claims. Get in all the stimulation your customer needs for scalp, mind and morning.