Cosmetics brand Dark and Lovely, owned by L’Oreal East Africa, last month launched a range of natural hair products for Africans— Au Naturale—in a bid to catch the shift in fashion towards natural hair care.
Evidence shows that large brands that adapt to fashions, even as latecomers, survive better than those that remained wedded to old product ranges.
Overall hair care continues to be a growth market in Africa, but consumer tastes have changed in the last two years, with a rise in interest in natural haircare products.
“Hair styling products form a highly attractive segment in the hair care market and are projected to expand at a 4.4 per cent compound annual growth rate. Its growing demand is due to the changing purchasing behaviour and patterns of consumers,” reported the global Transparency Market Research in 2016.
“A key trend noted in this segment is the fact that local manufacturers in Africa and Asia Pacific have been focusing on new product development and innovation, catering to consumer preferences so as to establish a loyal customer base over the years,” reported the researchers.
In Kenya, L’Oreal East Africa had a market share of 28 per cent in hair care products in 2016, making it the second biggest hair company in Kenya.
Its products appealed to consumers who prefer the straight and fuller hair achieved with its relaxer products. However, a change in consumer preference has seen it face stiff competition from new companies, such as Marini Naturals, which are offering natural hair products.