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Volume Down: The male hair trend sweeping Asia

By Natasha Spencer , 23-Jan-2017

Volume down male hair trend in Asia

Market research company, Mintel, reports that this year’s latest trend in male grooming, ‘volume down’ hair care, is seeing APAC brands step up their creativity and innovation.

Textures and trends

Traditionally, the hair care industry in the East has been inspired by Western trends that focus on looking after the scalp, the evolving barber experience and the undercut style’s rising popularity.

However, while Asian style-conscious and trendsetting men seek stylish hairdos, they also prioritise on-the-go, convenient looks that can be achieved quickly.

In Asia, a leading male hair care trend now centres on controlling side hair care looks. But as Asian male hair tends to be “thick, stiff and straight,  achieving a ‘trendy’ style can be a drain on time as well as effort”, Mintel reports.

As a result, brands will now need to consider how best to combine Asian male hair textures with consumer demands and Western influences.

The volume-down trend seeks to achieve this through conquering thick and messy hair and straightening it to achieve the much-loved styles originating in the US and Europe.  

Brands are now having to think up ingenious ways to overcome differences in hair textures to achieve similarly stylish looks.

Hair-flattening transformations

In Japan, male hair salons are now turning their attention to this latest trend in grooming through providing ‘down perm’ procedures that use an iron to flatten the hair and prevent the application of perm formula.

The country has seen a growing trend towards younger males using less styling products in favour of natural hair choices, Euromonitor International reported. Despite this seemingly reduced interest in styling options, its research showed that Japanese consumers are more concerned about their hair’s health.

Tackling low maintenance hair needs

As such, brands have been innovating their product choices by offering low-maintenance and easy-to-perfect treatments, that can be performed at home.

South Korea has also emulated this growing market trend, by targeting Millennials that are looking to save both time and money through performing their own minimal hair care treatments as part of their at-home routines.

Emerging leaders in volume down

Although volume down products have only just entered the South Korean market, they are showing significant promise.

Black Monster’s at-home volume down perm is targeting its young male demographic and inspiring them to become brand advocates by adopting an innovative video e-commerce strategy that encourages supporters to share information about the product’s quality and customer satisfaction levels online.

Male hair care product developer, Kao Success, has therefore launched a volume down shampoo in Japan, which aims to support the manipulation of thick and messy hair to help create the desired look.

South Korean brands are maximising the impact they have on this key market by crossing over into other popular trends through formulating natural ingredients, promoting single-use packs and housing safety-related claims on product packaging.

Premium Dashu for Men Fast Down Perm 10, for example, claims to provide the natural down perm in ten minutes, along with protecting damaged hair and improving its overall appearance.

Future development

As the volume down hair care trend is a semi-permanent solution, it’s crucial that brands incorporate this message into its core brand storytelling to encourage consumers to integrate the function as part of their daily haircare routine, instead of a permanent option.

As this trend develops, Mintel expects to see an increasing number of brands develop product lines further by offering sprays, waxes and other hair care treatments that can be applied at home.

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