Daily Insights

Top 10 U.S. Hair Care Brands

By: Elisabeth Rosen | Jul 06, 2015

Aveda, L’Oréal Paris and Garnier dominate other U.S. hair care brands in digital competence. These brands were the only three to earn a ranking of Genius in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color. In large part, their success came from creating user-friendly websites featuring interactive tools. Social media was also key as top brands rolled out campaigns like L’Oréal’s #PowerOn and Dove’s #LoveYourCurls, which exponentially increased their following.

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1. Aveda (Estée Lauder)

Digital IQ: 163

Aveda’s website offers a superior e-commerce experience, showcasing user reviews and providing extensive customer support options. Escalating opt-in tactics encourage visitors to enroll in the “Pure Privilege” rewards program and supply personal information, including mobile number for SMS alerts.

Aveda also launched LearnAveda.com, an online learning portal for salon professionals with more comprehensive content than offerings from competing professional brands. Students get close-up views of cuts and techniques and can progress at their own pace.

The company’s email marketing program blends incentives, rewards, samples and rich product curation in addition to distinguishing between consumer and professional segments.


2. L’Oréal Paris (L’Oréal)

Digital IQ: 160

L’Oréal also distinguishes itself with its website, which features an extensive beauty library and array of consultation tools, adding unique interactive elements to the site experience. In March, the brand launched #PowerOn, its largest-ever marketing initiative.

Spanning social media platforms, in-person events and a contest element, #PowerOn conveyed the message that when a woman feels her hair is “on” point, she is “on” too. Women were encouraged to upload “good hair day” selfies to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tag them with #PowerOn or #PowerOnContest. By doing so, they were automatically entered in a contest to spend “Power Time” with spokesmodel Karlie Kloss in New York City.

Within a month of launching the campaign, L’Oréal saw a 20% increase in site traffic and 15,000 new Twitter followers. The brand also had the highest search visibility across the more than 500 category keywords registered in the Index, with both the first paid and organic results.  Furthermore, its merchandizing efforts on Amazon (including Subscribe & Save) outperformed immediate peers.


3. Garnier (L’Oréal)

Digital IQ: 150

 Garnier launched a responsive design site last summer, prioritizing a mobile- first interface rarely found among immediate peers. The brand also displayed the second-highest growth in YouTube video views (behind Dove). Extensive tutorial content and playlist curation helped extend the impact of Garnier’s TV collateral.

Persistent “cart” functionality signals when products are available at select retailers, allowing the brand to promote an online path to purchase without selling directly.


 4. Dove (Unilever)

Digital IQ: 139

Social media remains at the heart of Dove’s success. Inspired by a survey that suggested only four in 10 girls considered their curly hair beautiful, Dove launched #LoveYourCurls, a youth-focused montage that became the brand’s third most-watched video with nearly 11 million views. The video was accompanied by the release of a free digital book of poetry that could be personalized according to the recipient’s hair and personality. Along with other social media campaigns (#BeautyStory, #ChooseBeautiful), #LoveYourCurls helped make Dove one of the top three brands in both audience size and post interactions across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


5. Clairol (P&G)

Digital IQ: 135

Clairol’s product pages include a shade finder and step-by-step tutorials, alongside extensive reviews and testimonials from both customers and beauty editors. Clairol is also adept at working with third-party retailer; it has the highest visibility on Sally Beauty and surpasses all brands in the study in merchandising tactics on Amazon. Clairol posts 4.1 product images per product and each product has 211.6 product reviews on average.


6. Matrix (L’Oréal)

Digital IQ: 132

Matrix’s professional accounts offers stylists access to a community forum and business resources. Its “Eye for Style” video series provides an innovative approach to tutorials.

7. Pantene (P&G)

Digital IQ: 131

Pantene has strong multichannel advertising campaigns, investing in traditional media ads and maximizing their reach with a social strategy. The hashtag#ShineStrong, in conjunction with paid ads, pushed Pantene to the third most-watched YouTube brand channel in the Index.

Pantene’s pre-and post-Oscars commercials on E! brought back the #WantThatHair hashtag. The brand also employed popular beauty vloggers to create “Red Carpet to Reality” tutorials featuring product links, which were uploaded on the day of the ceremony. While L’Oréal Paris spends three times more on TV, Pantene compensates online by spending aggressively to promote videos. More than 99% of online views for the digital version of Pantene’s TV spots come from sponsored listings, a sharp contrast with the 6% figure for the Index in general.

8. Neutrogena (Johnson & Johnson)

Digital IQ: 130

Neutrogena successfully leveraged its #WipeForWater campaign, which encouraged consumers to save water by using biodegradable Neutrogena Naturals Makeup Remover cleansing products rather than washing their face. Additionally, the brand’s “save online” and “save in store” coupon sections complemented Neutrogena’s increased investment in “Expert Center” articles and expansion of
how-to content.

8. Redken (L’Oréal)

Digital IQ: 130

Redken used various channels to solicit consumer engagement and product reviews, such as the #StyleYourStory social media campaign. It is among the most visible Hair Care brands in search, ranked fourth in its appearance on first page search results for search terms such as “best hair products”.


Redken’s Pro portal is strong as well, featuring online learning and a business toolbox.

10. Head & Shoulders (P&G)

Digital IQ: 129

 Employing Sofia Vergara as a spokesperson helped Head & Shoulders scale its social media efforts, particularly on YouTube. Vergara content is currently responsible for one in six views on the brand’s YouTube channel. She also appears in more than half of the brand’s 2015 Facebook posts.

Most valuable to Head & Shoulders, however, may be Vergara’s engagement with the brand on her own channels. Vergara currently has 8.2 million Twitter followers, in contrast with Neutrogena spokesperson Kristen Bell, who has less than 2 million, and Katie Holmes, who represents Alterna Haircare and has about 146,000 followers.

10. TRESemmé (Unilever)

Digital IQ: 129

In 2014, TRESemmé launched an innovative mobile campaign encouraging users to submit photos for display on a Times Square billboard during New York Fashion Week. The billboard highlighted the brand’s message of female empowerment while providing a mobile activation point at an event where fashion steals the spotlight from beauty brands.

TRESemmé also registered high product visibility on Walmart.com and linked how-to content and pertinent product pages, helping eliminate potential content silos.