Not everyone can have Cher hair.
But for people with finicky hair follicles that need a jolt, researchers have been busy in their laboratories teasing hair follicles to grow into luscious locks.
As a result of their work, hair is getting a new kind of buzz, thanks to caffeine-containing shampoos and other products that are showing promise in making heads of hair thicker and fuller.
A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that caffeine has a potent effect in growing hair in laboratory conditions and with certain concentrations of caffeine.
Looking to extend their product lines, companies that produce hair care products are eager to establish this niche market. Newly developed products are hitting retail shelves to help men and women combat androgenetic alopecia. The condition causes hair to thin and grow shorter and finer as testosterone shrinks the hair follicle’s growth cycle.
The $20 billion US hair care services industry, which, according to First Research, includes about 80,000 establishments, stands to benefit big by stocking products marketed to mostly male clients. Spurred in part by the Movember movement, men are a growing consumer group among salons and barber shops for both service and product revenue.
Companies like Unilever and Ultrax Developments Corp. have launched caffeine-containing hair care items in the US under the Dove Men+Care and Hair Surge brand names, respectively. Germany’s Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. is also looking to flex its muscle in the US. The company plans to market a pair of Alpecin-brand hair care products nationwide later this year, targeting postmenopausal women and men beyond puberty.
As with any caffeine consumption or use, researchers found that moderation is key. Small concentrations of caffeine applied to hair follicles stimulated hair growth and prolonged the time the follicles remained in the growth phase. Earlier research shows that higher concentrations of caffeine actually suppressed hair growth.
Industry Impact — Hair salons and barber shops, in particular, should consider stocking and marketing new hair care products that contain caffeine and show promise in creating thicker and fuller hair for their clients. Focusing on this growing product niche in social media is sure to create buzz for their businesses.
Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Catherine Colbert is an industry researcher, writer, and blogger. Previously, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.