Words by Elisabeth King
Treating hair loss has a long history dating back to the ancient Egyptians, but the problem has become a lot worse. The global alopecia market is expected to reach US$12.37 billion by 2025, reports Grand View Research. The lion’s share of revenues – US$7.24 billion in 2018 – going to the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, the most common form of hair loss in men and women.
Because it is closely linked to the self-esteem, appearance and health of consumers, treating hair loss has always fast-tracked innovation and has become one of the biggest trends in personal care. The expanding availability of more advanced OTC products and the increasing
preference for natural, safe, non-invasive alternatives that are easy to apply are strong drivers of growth in all major regional markets – the US, Europe and Asia/Pacific – says Maria Halasz, Managing Director of life sciences firm Cellmid, the makers of the game-changing évolis Professional range. “Consumers are increasingly going to pharmacies for their health and beauty needs, especially for proven and effective alternatives in the hair loss category”.
Global Hair Loss Epidemic
Definitive data on the extent of hair loss in Australia is difficult to source. But statistics in other developed and fast-growing emerging markets show the problem has become an epidemic in people of all ages. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 85 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women will experience hair loss by the age of 50. Genetics is a primary cause, but hair loss is accelerated by modern day behaviours: sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, pollution and styling damage. Over the past decade, hair loss has also increased dramatically in younger people in the US and over 60 per cent of men under the age of 35 have suffered from some hair loss.
The same trend has emerged in China. A research study conducted by Tsinghua University in Beijing discovered that 60 per cent of younger respondents suffered from hair loss due to irregular schedules, work stress and insomnia. In 2017, Taobao, the world’s largest e- commerce website owned by Alibaba, reported that hair loss products were among its top 40 best-selling SKUs with younger consumers accounting for 40 per cent of sales. A recent study by the China Association of Health Promotion and Education reveals that the potential market for hair loss products in China is a huge 250 million consumers, most of whom are aged in their 20s and 40s.
Women fueling multi-billion-dollar market growth/clinical validation
The increasing awareness among women about hair loss has moved from a back story to a multi-billion-dollar business worldwide. Apart from ageing and genetics, women are also more susceptible to hair loss because of the widespread use of hair colourants, chemical treatments, hair extensions and tight hairstyles such as buns and ponytails. According to a study by Wakefield Research, women who experience stress or who take regular medications are also more likely to experience hair loss.
No one knows this better than Halasz herself. “Hair loss and thinning are such an emotional experience. I began to lose hair at the age of 40 and hunted frantically for a solution. Nothing seemed to work until I went on a business trip to Japan and discovered a hair loss technology brand with ingredients blocking FGF5. This protein is the “master controller “of the hair’s natural cycle of growth and rest and can accumulate in the scalp causing hair loss. I started using the FGF5-blocking products and was amazed at the results, so we acquired the company that owned the technology”.
Halasz says that the évolis Professional range is the biggest breakthrough in topical hair loss treatments in 30 years. A claim backed by more than firsthand experience. She has been involved in biotech companies for over 20 years and has a science degree in microbiology from the University of Western Australia. Since becoming managing director of ASX-listed
Cellmid in 2007, the company has become a diversified life sciences business with a strong focus on clinical studies and proven results for hair loss but also conducts research in the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. “It’s crucial to us as a biotechnology company that we do not make claims unless we can show evidence from proper clinical studies”, she adds.
Natural, results-driven alternative/three collections cover all bases
évolis commercially launched on the Australian market in 2015 and quickly grew, initially selling 80% of its products to women. With the addition of the évolis Professional 3 step range in mid-2018 both men and women now account equally for the company’s sales.
The original technology was 12 years in development, and a subject of a clinical study in Japan. When we bought it, we conducted a further four-month clinical study in the US to assess its efficacy on a variety of hair types, says Halasz. “évolis Professional is the first clinically validated, plant-based, topical hair loss treatment on the market and the feedback has been amazing. Botanical actives such as Rosa multiflora and Sanguisorba officianalis, the anti-FGF5 extract, keratin, wheat proteins and concentrated antioxidants form the core of the entire évolis range. After four months of regular use of our hero product ‘The Activator’ – there is a dramatic reduction in hair loss and increased hair growth”. Many consumers also point out that we have overcome the smells that are associated with hair loss products containing minoxidil, says Halasz.
“Building on its suitability as a natural alternative in pharmacy, évolis provides free hair assessment with the évoliscope, a unique service only available in selected pharmacies and clinics. Women and men can monitor the condition of their hair and its health in just two minutes. This approach allows us to talk to customers from all age groups. Younger women, for example, are more interested in hair length.
While an increasing number of younger men are looking to reverse hair loss”. évolis Professional covers all bases and offers three collections. The Reverse Hair Restoration System includes the hero Activator, a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask. In our US consumer studies, 100 per cent of testers reported new hair growth after 90 days, says Halasz. “But many women of all ages want to grow longer, healthier hair. The Promote range also contains the super moisturiser baobab and increases hair length by up to 20 per cent over normal growth. The Prevent range is infused with mangosteen, goji berry and green tea to maintain and protect healthy hair and feed the scalp”.
There’s little point gaining with one hand and taking away with the other by using styling products that could undo the good work. That’s why évolis Professional is developing a range of styling products, says Halasz. “Consumers can also protect their scalp and hair from the sun with our Shield + Treat Hair Protector with SPF30, add an extra layer of treatment with Reconstruct + Mend Hair Therapy and clean their hair between washes with Style +Treat Dry Shampoo. Dry shampoo is one of the fastest growing categories in the global haircare market, but many products contain too many chemicals and fillers. Our dry shampoo contains hypoallergenic rice powder and is a clean product. Better still, it produces incredible root lift”.
Efficacy and proven results boost international demand
The efficacy of évolis Professional products has fuelled international demand. “We launched in the US in 2017 and are stocked in prestigious department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman”, says Halasz. “We are also targeting the American spa market, following amazing write-ups in leading US publications including Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan and WWD. The drugstore market in the US has also become more sophisticated, as it has in Australia, and we are looking closely at this important distribution channel in addition to expanding our e-commerce capabilities”.
Increased hair loss problems are also grabbing headlines in Europe, the second largest regional hair loss treatment market. “We have currently preparing our online launch with Douglas, the largest perfumery and cosmetics chain in Europe with 1900 stores. Germany is the largest natural beauty and personal care market in Europe, and we expect to launch on the German QVC shopping channel sometime in 2020”.
The Asia/Pacific region is the fastest growing hair loss regional market, led by China and India. Last May, Cellmid entered an exclusive agreement with Beijing Fukangren Bio-pharm Tech in China. “The market potential is incredible”, says Halasz. “The deal has two stages. Fukangren will register évolis products with the SFDA (State Food & Drug Administration), the Chinese regulator, and then distribute the products in the Chinese market. Hair loss is one of the most popular searches online in China”
Retailers – are you interested in becoming a stockist for évolis Professional?
Please call 02 9233 8975 or email Sales Director, Gary McCaw at firstname.lastname@example.org