MODERN SALON Media sent a team of six editors—Maggie Mulhern, Stacey Soble, Alison Shipley, Lauren Salapatek, Jan Hillenmeyer and myself—to PBA Beauty Week this past weekend, plus a camera crew and photographer to interview industry icons and cover major events. We covered Cosmoprof and events like NAHA, Beacon, PBA Symposium and City of Hope for MODERN SALON, SALON TODAY, FIRST CHAIR, modernsalon.com, Modern Salon TV, posting stories that span the lifecycle and lifestyle of beauty professionals.
For Associate Editor Lauren Salapatek, who oversees product sections The Goods, Spotlight, Products We Love (online), as well as Style Watch, Ask the Experts and other key departments for MODERN, SALON TODAY and FIRST CHAIR, it was her first time at the show, and she was, quote: “blown away by the scope of it. I saw so many new things and met so many great people and industry experts.”
Yes, Beauty Week can create a “kid in a candy shop” effect for beauty editors and others, with a plethora of brands, sources, launches and events to experience. (And if you stopped by TIGI’s party or booth to check out the company’s latest styling launch, you actually WERE in a candy shop.) For those of us on the team who have logged “a few more” annual Vegas trips in July than Lauren, we too were impressed by the connections we made and the innovation and activity we saw on the showfloor and beyond.
After we returned to our home bases in Chicago, NYC and California late Tuesday evening, then spent the better part of Wednesday dealing with email and deadlines, we dedicated our weekly editorial meeting to a “deep dive” on what we saw as major or emerging trends at the show. Below are highlights of what we discussed. More coverage of individual events will post online and in the September and October issues of MODERN. If you were there, watch our Facebook page for updated photo albums. (Our photographer and our team took LOTS of party pics.)
• THIN(ning) IS IN:
Everything from vitamin supplements to promote healthy hair and scalp, to new hair care product launches and updates of the category leading line Nioxin, to spray-on fibers, hair thinning products are hot. Important drivers are demand from women concerned about thinning hair, as well as celebrity interest in and testimonials about supplements.
• TEXTURE MANAGEMENT
While philosophies range from “curl is queen” to “the smoother the better,” taking care of texture will continue to be a major story line going into 2012, with keratin still being a dominant key word. Leaders at American Culture predict that in 2-3 years texture management services could equal hair color in salon revenues. In the meantime, look for launches and expansions in both hair care/styling and in chemical service. Zotos, for instance, is about to launch a texture/smoothing treatment they have been working on based on the company’s long history in the perm business. Speaking of perms, that service hero of the ‘80s is one texture segment that has yet, alas, to stage a major comeback. But who knows? For now, however, most of the curl “processing” trend is being driven by heat appliances like no-clip, spiral irons and styling products to enhance natural curl.
• KERATIN COUNCIL:
Executives from Keratin Complex updated MODERN on The Keratin Council, a coalition of keratin companies that are forming a united cause in educating legislative groups about keratin straightening products. They say the council has 55 members, and noted that many companies are dropping the word “Brazilian” from their labels.
• PACKAGING PEAK:
Walking around the floor, product packaging and delivery systems of all kinds seems to be at a higher level of sophistication and innovation. Lots of interesting skin care products in swirls and bead formulations. Bright colors and graphics are noteworthy in hair care (check out KMS relaunch in jewel tone, soft touch bottles). Sustainable packaging trends also notable. “Less” packaging also a positioning statement, in terms of environment and cost-savings.
• BUSINESS OPTIMISM:
While Congress and the President dealt with the debt crisis, the mood on the showfloor and in scores of meetings was positive, albeit cautiously so. One executive told me that one silver lining of recent years’ economic challenges has been that salon owners and professionals realize “since appointment stretching has become the new reality,” they MUST focus on offering innovation in new products and service offerings to clients to build average tickets and capture new business.
• NAHA—LOTS TO CELEBRATE:
Our industry still loves a big party, especially to recognize artistry in hairdressing. More than 2,000 people packed the ballroom at Mandalay Bay for the 22nd annual North American Hairstyling Awards, and an assortment of long-time and first-time sponsors were on board to support. Reviews were a bit mixed on some of the new formatting, including video “commercials” to intro the sponsors before they came on stage to present one of the 13 award categories, but overall the night was a success and the winners and finalists were buoyant. Reality TV stars Tabatha Coffey and Holly Madison were on hand, the former to emcee and the latter to receive PBA’s Humanitarian Award. Distribution veteran and leader Stan Klet was inducted into NAHA’s Hall of Leaders and Michael O’Rourke honored with the NAHA for Lifetime Achievement.
• STUDENT BUZZ:
FIRST CHAIR Editor Alison Shipley and Beauty Director Maggie Mulhern presented a class on “building your professional profile” to students participating in the Beacon session for future professionals, and noted that “they were the most wonderful, respectful and excited audience.” If this is an indicator of the future, added Maggie, we are in great shape. Many companies are expanding their focus on the student and school market.
• GETTING SOCIAL:
Most brands spoke of dedicating more time and resources to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. KMS just launched a new Facebook page in support of their relaunch, and are integrating a customizable digital magazine into their support materials for salons. Amber Soletti, new director of marketing for Rusk, mentioned BeautyVT.com, which is a light speed player that hairdressers and consumers can record 15 seconds of themselves (kind of like a video Twitter).
• NATURAL BEAUTY:
Natural formulations, ingredients and organic positioning of products in all segments—hair and skin—was prevalent throughout the show floor.
General sense is that salons and stylists are embracing technology tools and resources at a faster pace, and that the mobile/smart phone platform is the most important playing field for this market.
• OMBRE UPDATE:
Beauty Director Maggie Mulhern reports that most colorists she interviewed told her that while ombre is still a trend NOW, they are looking for the next generation, or a new creative hair color service trend that can cross over to commercial mainstream and help drive new color business through the holidays and spring 2012. (Watch our fall issues of MODERN for reports on alternatives.) For the short-term, Alterna Global Creative Director Michael Shaun Corby says “neon ombre” will make a splash, possibly influenced by recent trends in color tipping and “tie dye” effects.
Observation—love ‘em or hate ‘em, they were everywhere at the show, not just in the Beacon classroom for new professionals. Permanent and temporary. Staying with the overall trend of the beauty industry looking to expand its offerings in enhancement and adornment services, some companies are offering products that can help clients care for, enhance or camouflage their body art.
Conventional extensions business continues to be forecast as strong, especially going into the holiday season, and demand for additional length, volume and texture will continue, driven by celebrity trends and access to professional education and options. Nicholas French, who represents SHE extensions says he sees an emerging opportunity with women over the age of 50, and that he is helping launch a collection on gray hair extensions. For the younger set, bright colors will continue to be a hit. Also, in another blurring of two trends, at Simplicity, Vivienne Mackinder showed MODERN an entire portfolio of models/clients whose fine and thinning hair has been transformed with extensions.
• BLING & FEATHERS:
Who knew 2011 would be the year of flying feathers? Feather extensions have been a major trend, with consumers and professionals searching, searching, searching for suppliers (just ask our SEO and Google search experts). The interest has spawned many spin-offs, especially in alternatives like synthetic feathers, clip-in color strands (you can buy your favorite college or professional sport teams, bling (even Swarovoski crystals and rhinestones) and more.
• “-FREE” PRODUCTS:
Formaldehyde-free, ammonia-free, fragrance-free. Lots of love for the “-free” trend.
• CONTESTS & GIVEAWAYS:
Contest-driven marketing and giveaways are being integrated to many companies marketing plans, as they explore ways to integrate social media and online sharing of photos, videos, etc. Lee Rizzuto of Rusk reported success with a recent Anti-Curl technique contest, and has others in the works.
• HOT BUTTONS:
The demand for flat irons that reach 450 degrees (for keratin straightening treatments) is, according to Izunami President Mike Kim, creating hesitation about purchasing irons that only go to 400 degrees, the max he recommends for conventional straightening. They have an iron that “jumps” directly to 450, but is concerned about the higher temp irons being misused by clients who want to purchase professional level irons.
• HOT OILS:
This category, originally catapulted by Moroccan Oil (remember the first time you saw the wave of blue bags at a trade show?) continues to generate business, interest and variations beyond the argan oil main ingredient. Most players in the category have expanded to include shampoo, conditioner, styling and even tools under their oil-based brands. Many, like Macademia Oil, leverage their formulations' unique benefits and natural positioning. Most hair color companies discourage the trend that has evolved of colorists "cocktailing" color formulas by adding separate oil into the color bowl or bottle, citing that it changes color processing and can alter color results. But one wonders if brand-specific and tested oil additives for color might become one of next year's trends.
• MAN POWER:
The niche that us half the population is getting greater attention, from new breeds of men-only salons and continued success of franchises like American Male (upscale) and SportClips (value). Lots of activity in the space with new men's line launches pending and renewed focus on existing brands. Men's color opportunities and thinning hair also factors. See September SALON TODAY for a special cover story on the men's mega-niche.
• SAVE TIME:
From color accelerators to faster drying time (both hair and nails)and more, speed definitely matters. Also a subject matter being discussed more in SALON TODAY September and MODERN SALON's special Holiday issue.
• PROFESSIONAL PRIDE:
This was evident throughout the weekend, but stood out at the City of Hope Spirit of Life dinner honoring Sara Jones, VP and general manager of Joico.“I didn’t have a college degree,” she said in her acceptance speech. “The best thing I had was a cosmetology license, but as it turns out, that’s not a bad thing to have.” We couldn’t agree more.
We want to hear your insight about the newest trends and what you saw on the show floor! Contact us!