Talking Shop with… Gina Boswell

The executive vice president, personal care, for Unilever North America discusses the revolution happening in the hair care category—starting at the scalp.

Grocery Headquarters: What innovations and products are grabbing consumer attention and driving sales in the hair care category?

Gina Boswell: Hair care is a $6-billion industry in the U.S. Unilever brands represent a significant piece of that pie and we are looking for ways to grow our presence. The acquisition of Alberto Culver made Unilever the world’s leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in styling.

The sector is dynamic, but there are trends that are affecting business in North America:

Salon results at home. Women are looking for affordable, do-it-yourself treatments that can help them recreate the looks they see in the media.

Personal satisfaction. Unilever aims to help people feel good, look good and get more out of life—and hair care products are an accessible way to do that.

Post-wash treatments. Consumer consumption and interest in hair products are going beyond traditional cleansing, conditioning and styling. More women are looking for ways to repair and protect hair from damage caused by styling.

Tell us what is unique about Unilever’s new Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy.

Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy is new to North America, but it is currently sold in more than 40 countries.  Launched in North America in May 2012, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy includes nourishing shampoos and conditioners that were specifically formulated to meet the needs of the local consumer. The line is designed to feed the scalp—not just the ends—and gives users stronger, more beautiful hair in just seven days.

The Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy line is unique because it treats both hair and scalp. Seventy million Americans say they have scalp issues including dryness, itchiness and/or dandruff, but only half are currently treating the problem.

We saw this as an opportunity to help consumers rethink hair care—to understand that not only do the ends of hair need care, the scalp does too. Ninety-nine percent of hair’s natural strength and beauty comes from the scalp.

The three product ranges are formulated to meet the needs of women and men in the North America:

  • Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy is formulated with Nutrium 10, a rich blend of vitamins and nutrients that deeply nourishes the scalp to work where it matters most and creates the right foundation for strong, beautiful hair.
  • Clear Men Scalp Therapy includes Bio-Nutrium 10, a blend of 10 nutrients and botanical actives, including ginseng, tea tree and natural mint, to deeply nourish the scalp. The line breaks the “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating dandruff and is a lasting solution to one of the most common scalp issues for men—dandruff.
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Ultra Shea includes Nutrium 10 Moisture Lock, a rich blend of shea butter, vitamins and natural oils, and locks in moisture to quench scalp and hair dryness. The Ultra Shea line offers a customized range of hair care products formulated to meet the needs of African American women.

Where is the hair care category headed?

One idea that we see resonating with women is adoption of hair care regimens that parallel the multi-step care traditionally given to skin. Going beyond nourishing shampoos and conditioners, more women are looking to treatments like masks and serums to fortify their hair. It is in some ways an extension of the desire to achieve salon-quality results at home.

We will continue to provide exciting products that are on trend and meet consumers’ unaddressed needs, just as we have done with the launch of Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy.

We saw an opportunity to introduce a new line of nourishing shampoos and conditioners focused on the scalp that will change the way people care for their hair. As the first new national brand to hit shelves in several years, the launch of Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy is bound to shake up the category.

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