Personal care for textured hair
BASF launches new concept to address the curly, coily and wavy hair community.
BY ANNA SPIEWAK
The hair-care market has shifted in more ways than one. Gone are the days when women spent hours straightening their manes into submission to fit in at the workplace. Another thing of the past? The beauty industry overlooking textured hair – a key demographic of the market – which includes wavy, curly and coily hair. Today, there is a natural-hair movement taking place, and BASF Care Creations is making curly, coily and wavy hair solutions a priority by continuing to focus on individual textured hair needs.
“It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Andrew Miller, North American Marketing Manager, Hair Care, BASF Care Creations. “People are now embracing their natural curl patterns and realizing that by relaxing their hair, they were potentially causing damage.”
As this acknowledgment made its way to the personal-care industry, other aspects have shifted – mainly the language used for marketing hair products. What was once targeted toward specific ethnic groups on store shelves is now a strategy simply promoting hair-care benefits to a wider population. Textured hair transcends a specific ethnicity: an estimated 65% of the U.S. population has curly, coily or wavy hair, according to a 2018 TextureTrends Report from NaturallyCurly.
“What we’ve seen is a clear shift to conversations around hair texture,” Miller added. “But we don’t want to forget that there’s a cultural element to textured hair as well. For many people, tricks and tips have been passed down from generation to generation, along with the idea of using common ingredients found in the kitchen pantry to alleviate issues such as dryness and frizz.”
To further underline this movement, The CROWN Act (S.3167 – “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” Act) was passed in California in January 2019. This is the first legislation at state level in the United States to prohibit discrimination against employees and students over wearing their natural hairstyles at the workplace or school. It has since become law in six states, filed or pre-filed in 19 additional states, and in December 2019 introduced to U.S. Congress, paving the way for federal protections.
Textured hair often requires more products for maintenance and styling than straight hair does, and the hunt for the perfect combination fuels spending. As consumers become more informed and savvier about ingredients and their impact on hair, BASF has been paying attention to the current shift in the market and has responded with the concept launch called Exclusively HerCare: Tailored Hair Care for Her Curls and Coils.
“Textured hair is a fast-growing market that has seen a lot of recent innovation,” said Miller. “We are focusing on solutions that help formulators offer personalized products for maintaining both the health and look of the hair, along with testing and method development to ensure efficacy of our ingredients on relevant hair types.”
The BASF Care Creations team worked with different types of textured-hair swatches and hair models for this study, and followed the Andre Walker Hair Typing System to identify curl patterns. (Walker is an Emmy-award-winning hairstylist who’s worked with Oprah Winfrey for 25 years and gave Halle Berry her signature pixie-cut look). The system categorizes hair into four types: 1. straight, 2. wavy, 3. curly, and 4. coily. Hair types 2, 3, and 4 belong to the textured-hair category. There are also sub-classifications lettered A through C, which are characterized by spacing between each curve and diameter of the curl. Recognizing the diversity of textured hair types in Americans, it should come as no surprise that 71% of textured-hair women prefer to buy products specifically for their hair type rather than their ethnicity (Source: Textured Media, 2017).
“For years we’ve been looking at different hair types, and we find that in North America specifically – a true melting pot – you have a lot of different ethnicities, demographics, each with unique challenges and needs,” said Miller.
Due to lack of testing of textured hair types in the past, products were introduced with assumptions that they would work, without actual data to back up claims. There was a lot of DIY cocktailing of products, where a brand would offer one solution, but not the whole answer for textured hair, according to Miller.
“Claim substantiation techniques have never been fully established to study textured hair,” said Mythili Nori, BASF’s Senior Scientist, Performance & Claims, North America. “Developing test methods to evaluate naturally curly and coily hair was essential to be able to screen ingredients and offer product solutions to address the needs specific for these hair textures.”
The BASF product performance team set out to develop test methods using naturally textured hair to support claims substantiation specific to textured hair care product ingredients. They created a combing method technique that measures the force required to comb and detangle coily hair in wet state. Wet combing and sensory methods were used to differentiate the benefits of various BASF emollients and conditioning polymers. In addition, BASF’s proteins were used to determine if they can help strengthen and reduce hair breakage.
“Emollients help with conditioning, giving that ‘more moisturized’ look and feel to the hair, and also help with the detangling and combing,” said Gina Guiliano, BASF’s Application Chemist III, Hair & Body, North America.
BASF Care Creations leveraged ingredients specifically geared toward curly and coily hair to create two styling products, two rinse-off hair masks and a leave-in conditioner:
The team continues to create more targeted solutions for the textured-hair segment. “As we develop more methods, we’re understanding much more about hair-care needs in the textured-hair space and we’re able to then offer the correct products,” Miller concluded. “We’ve made some great progress and headway and acknowledge it’s a continuous journey for BASF.”
BASF Care Creations launched its new concept to the public – Exclusively HerCare - Tailored Hair Care for Her Curls and Coils – on May 28, 2020.