Afro-Brazilian Haircare Consumer and Market Brazil
Brazil is now the largest hair straightening market in the world
Curl control is the crucial consumer concern for millions of Brazilians
Companies and brands now rush to formulate products which meet the specific demands of these new consumers
The Brazilian haircare market is one of the top ranked in the world in value terms. It has recorded explosive
over the last few years as living standards increase and millions of poor Brazilians (Class D)
became part of the consuming classes. Not surprisingly, haircare sales are increasing here at a faster rate than in the US or Europe.
It is a unique market – in terms of the beauty industry - as this Latin American country has the largest black
population outside of Africa. There are almost 100m people of African ancestry in Brazil.
Rising incomes ensure that ever increasing numbers of Afro Brazilians have more money to spend. This
particular consumer segment is outperforming and has become the focus of major attention.
A fundamental driver of the haircare market in particular is the importance that all Brazilians place on their appearance
Appearance consciousness is especially acute in the country's megacities
such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
A São Paolo beauty industry expert noted, “As a beauty business we benefit from the social importance of appearance. Here people care a lot about their beauty “
Haircare, however, takes the lion's share of beauty spending. Rising incomes have driven spectacular
growth rates in businesses – such as hair salons - that cater to Afro Brazilian
the increased affluence and numeric importance of these Afro consumers has been noticed by the industry.
It is now worthwhile for hair care formulators to develop products for this segment due to its higher spending power.
A hair care distributor in Rio de Janeiro reports, “The hair industry (both products and services) now targets this new consumer segment that it previously ignored.”
Curly hair is the dominant hair type in the country and curl control
is the crucial consumer concern. The key driver of the
haircare market in Brazil is the need for many millions of people to make their naturally curly hair manageable
stylish on a daily basis. The nature of their particular hair type – characterised by tight curls and high volume -
makes it very hard to manage. Practical considerations determine requirements – hair that can be combed without
tangling. An expert explained, ”Clients want low maintenance hair so they can get ready to leave (for work) very quickly in the morning.”
This is the largest hair straightening
market in the world because the majority of Brazilians want
straight hair according to all industry experts interviewed by Diagonal Reports. Hair straightening is the top hair care
requirement for more than 100m Brazilians because straight hair brings many advantages.
It is versatile
as well as being easier to manage. Styles can be easily changed plus it is also in fashion.
Women can vary hairstyles according to their work or leisure activities yet still follow fashion trends.
The preference for straight hair is firmly entrenched and is forecast to continue. As one industry expert explained to Diagonal Reports, “This will take a revolution to change.”
Given the ethnic mix (African and Southern European amongst others) of the country, there are many,
many different types of curly hair found in Brazil. An extensive and nuanced vocabulary
has emerged to describe the
different degrees of curliness – soft, tight, loose, kinky, etc.
Various straightening methods
have been developed for these distinct types of hair and curls.
Typically, haircare experts differentiate between two chemical straightening solutions, “relaxing” and “straightening,” ––
largely because they are used by different consumers segments. Some consumers want a partial
others require the complete
removal of the curl, leaving the hair totally straight.
Attitudes towards these different straightening solutions –– and the consumers who use them –– can be very
subjective, and class based. The stigma,
which was attached to straighteners for historical and economic reasons,
remains. Haircare experts explain that straighteners have traditionally been used on Afro hair, giving it a distinctive
look that is frowned upon in Brazil. Relaxers are associated with higher social classes while Afro hair and straighteners are
linked to people (typically Class C) with the least purchasing power.
Despite the widespread demand for straightening, this is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all market. The great diversity
of skin colors and hair types found in Brazil means that companies must develop several different lines to appeal to the many ethnic and consumer segments.
But for companies and brands which get it right, the potential rewards
for the winners
are very high indeed both in Brazil and globally.
These hair straightening products are well placed to benefit from growth in the emerging
markets of the southern hemisphere – especially Sub-Saharan
, and also in
expanding multi-cultural markets of the US
Brazilian haircare market which is significant in its own right is but a microcosm
of the global market in terms of hair
type, ethnicity, purchasing power, consumer preferences and demand.