Private Label Hair Products: Getting Started Guide

Introduction

Are you a salon owner determined to launch your own private label hair products? Or maybe a hair care hobbyist curious to start a side gig. Either way, starting your own line of private label hair products is exciting!

As you probably already know, these products are NOT simple. Target has entire aisles dedicated to shampoos of every size, shape, color, and price. How do you even begin to decide what your private label hair products will look like?

This is a quick primer for you to get up to speed on private label hair products BEFORE shopping for a supplier.

 

Typical Process

  1. Sample Kits
    Most suppliers offer mail-order sample kits so you can get familiar with their private label hair products. Some are complimentary while others have a cost associated. If there is a fee, don’t be afraid to haggle. Many suppliers wouldn’t want to miss a business opportunity over the small cost of a sample kit. Some suppliers won’t send you a sample kit until you’ve agreed to a consultation.
  2. Consultation
    You can think of the consultation as mix between legitimate advice and a sales pitch. Pay close attention to the advice they give. Keep in mind some of what they say may be favorable towards one of their service and/or product offerings. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions that matter to you. Otherwise, you may let the time get filled with rehearsed sales pitches.
  3. Brand design
    Many suppliers can help design the look and feel of your private label hair products. While it may be convenient, consider third party design firms to get the best deal. Sites like 99designs can provide you with great logos and other content without costing an arm and a leg.
  4. Packaging design
    Next you’ll make decisions around the packaging of your private label hair products. This includes the shape, size, and color of the bottle, as well as the type of cap used to dispense it’s contents.
  5. Production
    Here is where you sit back while the supplier takes over. You shouldn’t need to make many decisions here other than logistics (e.g., will you hold your own inventory or choose to drop ship?).
  6. Marketing
    Lastly, some suppliers offer marketing support for your new line of private label hair products. This includes materials such as flyers, posters, and business cards. Again, consider third party to make sure you’re getting the best deal.



Key Considerations

Take some time to consider your customer base. What hair types do you most commonly need to service? Someone with thick, curly hair will have different needs compared to one with thin hair.

Hair Types:

Private label hair products for curly hair

Curly Hair

People with curly hair don’t need extra volumizing properties in their hair products. Rather, they seek ingredients that help them tame hair that can at times be difficult to manage.
 
Curly hair does best with carefully balanced proteins and moisture for strength and fine-tuned curls.

 

Ingredients for Your Private Label Hair Products

Ingredients are everything. Unfortunately you could spend the better part of a decade trying to grasp every details. Luckily, there a few rules of thumb:

(1) opt for all natural ingredients over chemicals whenever possible. Mother nature is less likely to harm you than a lab experiment.

(2) opt for less ingredients whenever possible. Targeting specific hair types with 2-3 active ingredients is better than a generic product.

For specifics, check out the two lists below:

Look for These

White tea

UV protection

Shea butter

Moisturizer

Hibiscus & Vanilla Cactus

Relieves skin and scalp irritation

plant proteins, sea silk and peptides

promotes overall strength and shine

Nanofilaments

Increases thickness

Soy protein

Strengthens thin & weak hair

Hyaluronic acid

Promotes shine

Acai berry extract

Promotes healthy scalp

japanese swertia extract

Claims to reduce hair loss

goji berry / red wine extract

General antioxidants

vitamin s A & E / proteins / fatty acids

General vitamins and fatty acids

spearmind, peppermint, eucalyptus

Skin soothing & hydration

 

Avoid These

MIT

Methylisothiazolinone; skin irritant

SLS/SLES

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodium Laureth Sulfate; skin irritant

DEA/MEA/TEA

Diethanolamine/Momoethanolamine/Triethanolamine; compound synthesized from coconut oils and ethanolamine, which may lead to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.

PG/PEG

Propylene Glycol / Polyethylene Glycol; skin irritant

Parabens

Parabens; carcinogenic concerns

Coal Tar

Coal tar is a petroleum product and very damaging to one’s all around good health not to be used on the body, and one should avoid all products with tar/coal tar in its ingredients.

Isopropyl

Isopropyl alcohol; skin irritant

Mineral oil

Mineral oil content; allergan

Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin

Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin; chemical release concerns

 

Packaging

Making decisions about your packaging is almost as important as the product itself!

Spend some time thinking about what sizes you’d like to offer, whether the container should be see-through, and if you’d prefer a pump top over a disc cap.

Take a look at the various shampoos and conditioners in your home and/or salon. Which ones are visually pleasing? Easy to grip? Convenient to dispense? All these factor into finding the sweet spot between usability and aesthetics.

Type

The main container comes in a variety of form factors that fit different lifestyles. For example, tubes tend to be easier for those who take their hair products with them. On the other hand, others may prefer the cylinder or boston round design since they can come in larger sizes.

  • Boston round
  • Cylinder
  • Evolution
  • Vogue
  • Imperial
  • Tube

Size

Sizes ultimately boil down to how much and where. Generally, most consumers look for the best “bang for buck” and will opt for larger sizes with brands they trust. Always consider offering a TSA-friendly size so your loyal customers can take your private label hair products with them and avoid the cheap hotel products.

  • Small (2 oz, 2.5 oz, 4 oz)
  • Medium (6 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz)
  • Large (16 oz, 32 oz)

Color

Don’t spend much time here other than cost of materials and aesthetics. Note that clear containers will be your best option if you value being able to visibly see how much product is left in your containers.

  • Clear
  • Natural
  • White

Topper

This is possibly the most direct impact on the usability of your private label hair products. On one hand, disc caps make it possible to store your products upside down when near empty. On the other hand, pumps are convenient for portioning and one hand operation.

  • Disc cap
  • Pump (with or without foaming)



Choosing a Supplier for Private Label Hair Products

Now that you have a working knowledge of the basics, its time to start shopping for a supplier. There are a handful of companies to choose from, and the best one for you will depend on the following set of criteria:

  • Minimum order size
  • First order lead time
  • Manufacturing location
  • Product shelf life
  • Drop shipping
  • Liability insurance coverage

  • Sample kit costs
  • Design costs & support
  • Marketing costs & support
  • R&D charges
  • Certified organic charges

To get you started, we’ve put together a short list of suppliers for you to check out:

Good luck in your goal to establish your very own private label hair products!

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