Textured hair: Unprecedented highlighting in France

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The haircare sector in France is booming, the offer is becoming more specialized, highlighting departments and products that have long remained in the shadows. The textured hair segment is the perfect example! Between the skyrocketing rise in naturalness and the demanding momentum of the main stakeholders, an entire sector is being organized to serve a – finally – uninhibited loop!
Plus 565% growth in 2022 for Les Secrets de Loly, four openings in less than four years for Baraboucle, the last of which is imminent in Lille, brands from the United States or the United Kingdom, such as Carol’s Daughter or Bouclème: the French market: natural care for textured hair is booming!

The term “textured hair” is actually quite recent. It includes all types of hair that are not straight, including wavy, curly, frizzy and frizzy hair. “Not so long ago, we were talking about ethnic hair. We’ve come a long way! We entered Carrefour in the 2000s with a so-called “tropical” operation and we remained in the “world” section for a long time before joining the hair section much later,” recalls Jean-Claude Cheffre, director of the Activilong brand of the Labomai group (Miss Antilles International Laboratories) created in 1953 by her mother, Yannick Cheffre [1].

“For a long time, in mainland France, we have seen an almost total exclusion of textured hair on store shelves and even among hairdressers, who do not know how to style this type of hair,” underlines Camille Scouarnec, product manager at Énergie Fruit.

From straightening to Michael Jackson’s Jheri curl to uninhibited curls

From the mid-1970s, there was a major movement towards the metropolis of French people from the French Overseas Territories. It was at this time that we saw the emergence of the first specialized trade fairs. Unlike those that are available today, the techniques in vogue at that time were the modification of texture with the essential straightening, artificial curls from the United States and popularized by Michael Jackson, and chemical coloring. .

“Distorting looks that we find everywhere: on television, in the beauty pages of magazines, and which are gradually becoming established in mentalities. Result: when we leave our hair natural or we braid it, it’s as if we’re not doing our hair,” says Josiane Ologbi, founder of the minimalist brand Iwalewa. “In the United States and then in Europe, we are now gradually moving away from these preconceived ideas and it’s fantastic! It’s still hard for certain African countries, like Senegal where I go very regularly. It’s difficult to break away from beauty standards that have been ingrained for decades, but it’s happening,” she smiles.

In addition to the pressure linked to aesthetic – even social – standards opposed to the nature of the hair, the practices of straightening and other modifications of texture prove to be very aggressive and raise health questions: burned, broken, ultra-sensitized hair. An American study recently conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) even showed a link between the use of hair straightening products and the development of uterine cancer.

An initially rather discreet rise in power

“When I created Les Secrets de Loly in 2009, the offer in France for textured hair was quite marginal, but there was already a movement against products full of silicone and therefore an urgent need for care with the components. natural,” says Kelly Massol, founder of the Les Secret de Loly brand, a product of which is sold every eight seconds today in France!

As for Michele Scott-Lynch, founder of the English brand Bouclème, which has been gradually arriving on the French market since the beginning of the year, she explains that it was when her daughter asked her to straighten her hair that she it clicked. “I had spent my entire teens and twenties fighting with my hair, trying to change its appearance and straighten it and, as a result, damage it. There was no question of history repeating itself.” This is how she launched, in 2014, a brand to take care of each type of curl by offering routines adapted to clean, revitalize and define them.

“What you need to understand is that the curlier the hair, the drier the lengths and the more hydration they need,” emphasizes Camille Scouarnec. In fact, sebum accumulates at the roots, slowed down in its course by the relief, leaving the lengths and ends devoid of hydration. “At Énergie Fruit, our leitmotif is to offer products for everyone with a clean and transparent composition without compromising on pleasure and effectiveness. Since the creation of the brand in 2012, we have offered a shampoo and a mask for curly hair under the name “Coco Curl”. By interacting with our community of Internet users, we realized that the routine was not complete. This is why this year we released a styling gel, a sublimating, anti-split and anti-breakage oil. In addition, we also launched the Nutri-Intense range with three products: a shampoo, a mask and a styling milk, for curly to frizzy hair,” explains Camille Scouarnec.

Social networks, confinements, natural boom: the snowball effect

“With the multiplication of the offer, distributors are now very interested in the textured hair segment,” smiles Jean-Claude Cheffre. Until then, French people with curly and frizzy hair did not have many other solutions than to order products from the other side of the world or to buy them at full price from a handful of resellers, often only found in large cities.

“With Les Secrets de Loly, my ambition has always been, on the one hand, to offer a range of natural products intended for curl maintenance and, on the other hand, to make this brand accessible to everyone! This is why, with my sales director, we work tirelessly on our distribution network. We are at Monoprix, in thousands of pharmacies and parapharmacies, at hairdressers and, since September 18, we have been at Sephora,” says Kelly Massol [2].

The brand has also done exemplary work on its social networks, going from 20,000 followers at the end of 2017 to more than 250,000 in September 2023, in particular thanks to the creation of Christmas boxes with influencers such as La Petite Gaby, Babyatoutprix, Kaaymbl, Crazy Sally… The brand even dared to broadcast its first television advertising campaign in November 2020, in full confinement, on the channels of the TF1 group. It will be seen by 2.5 million people. A true stroke of genius on the part of Secrets de Loly, whose claims are to dare – finally – to wear your hair natural. During this period of returning to basics, we saw the explosion of the “natural beauty” trend, both in haircare and skincare.

Morgane Brisson, founder of the Baraboucle hair salons, affirms that there really was “a “before” and an “after” confinement in the emancipation of the natural curl. I think people became aware of how good it was for their hair to no longer be straightened and tied up all the time.” After three openings in Paris between 2020 and 2023, Baraboucle is due to open its fourth address in Lille in November, making it possible to capture Belgium where demand is strong and to meet the needs of Lille residents who did not hesitate to make the return trip to Paris simply to come and get advice and hair styling. It takes an average of six weeks to wait for an appointment in one of the brand’s three current establishments, which shows the need to democratize the provision of care, but also to increase the number of Loop pick-up locations.

Education and training of hairdressers: the sector is getting organized

Since last school year, a certification entirely dedicated to curly, frizzy and frizzy hair has been offered in five authorized pilot centers (in Île-de-France, in Hérault, in the South region, in Moselle and in Normandy) and others establishment should quickly join the list. This certificate, lasting 217 hours, or 31 days, will include 8 modules.

“The implementation of this certification is real progress for the sector and the announcement effect is nice and shows that there are real gaps in terms of hairstyle and care of textured hair. On the other hand, it will take years to put in place and it only concerns people in school,” reacts Kelly Massol. “The reality today is that there are less than two hundred hairdressing salons in France that know how to take care of this hair. A problem that Les Secret de Loly has been pointing out for quite some time now, particularly with the ever-increasing cross-breeding in our country. We don’t realize how many white mothers take their frizzy-haired daughter to their regular hairdresser for the first time and find themselves facing a wall. They number in the thousands,” she explains. This is why the founder of Secrets de Loly is creating her hairdressing academy specializing in textured hair from the first quarter of 2024 in the 7th arrondissement of the capital. The place will be intended solely for the training of professionals already in office.

At the same time, L’Oréal orchestrated, in 2019, alongside professionals in the sector, a reflection for the revaluation of the hairdressing sector which led the French group to create Real Campus. “Half hairdressing school, half entrepreneurship school, it delivers a bachelor’s degree. This is the highest diploma that can be obtained in hairdressing. Within Real Campus, curly, frizzy and frizzy hair bootcamps are organized, training in different techniques for care rituals, massages, styling and cuts,” concludes Margarida Condado, deputy general manager for international development of the Consumer Products division. from L’Oreal.

This article is originally published on premiumbeautynews.com

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