Pinterest spotlight: #Hair Care

Pinterest is a marketer’s best friend. Yet it very rarely gets the credit or attention it deserves. It has over 459 million monthly active users, and almost 90% of them report using the platform for purchase inspiration.  Pinterest’s impressive referral rates bear this out: the platform drives 33% more referral traffic to shopping websites than Facebook – its largest social media contender. And it’s only expected to grow. The platform has launched a number of new features – including an expanded partnership with the e-commerce tool Shopify, extended advertising options such as retargeting, and in-depth reporting. It’s, in short, a social commerce platform to be reckoned with – and so a great source of consumer insight.

The platform can also predict trends, rather than just see them happening. People use it early on in their inspiration journeys – so the things they’re pinning now are often things they will eventually buy.

Brands who aren’t paying attention to Pinterest are missing out on an opportunity to spot green sprouts, influence their audience and understand their customer journey. To show the sorts of insights that brands can gain from Pinterest, we’ve deep-dived into some of the platform’s most popular search topics.

Beauty tops the list. We, therefore, decided to analyse #HairCare. And boy, did we find a lot. The three themes that dominated results for #HairCare were:

The feminine mystique

Gender roles may be changing but hair continues to be very closely associated with femineity, sensuality and womanhood. This is noticeable from the people represented in the results – as well as those who are conspicuously absent.

To start with, results for hair care are only directed towards women. And we mean only. To start with, the related and promoted content that appears with the search typically features women’s makeup products or period trackers. Here are some examples:

The results of the #HairCare search also only depict women: we didn’t find a single post featuring a man. Nor did we find any posts that mentioned common hair problems that men have, such as hair loss or greying. While women do, after all, make up 60% of Pinterest’s visitors, there may be a big market for brands that want to direct themselves towards men’s hair needs. The same may be true for brands that are looking to target older women – we only found one post that mentioned their hair needs.

The results play on traditional femininity, associating healthy, long hair with female beauty and youth. It’s clear that long, shiny hair is considered especially attractive: the second most common hair concern after hair quality was accelerating hair growth. Check out some examples below:

With long hair seen as the ultimate beauty trait and sign of femininity, many users look to specific communities as perceived experts. Korean hair care is especially venerated, as well as hair care tips from middle eastern and Indian women.

Although long hair is by far the most idolised, it is good to see that many different types of hair are represented and lauded. Straight, wavy, or curly; there are an equal amount of hair care tips and tricks for all.

So, while the #haircare results reinforce traditional beauty norms by venerating long hair and associating hair care exclusively with women, there is a range of hair types that are being represented. Brands should continue to celebrate this inclusive picture of hair care and can reach new customer segments by targeting men, older women and women who reject longer locks.

Back to basics

The minimalist beauty trend that has swept skincare has also come to dominate hair care on Pinterest. We are seeing a great demand for natural, organic products, a belief that organic food promotes good hair and a preference for easy-to-use products and hair care routines. Perhaps this is a result of the many national lockdowns and closures of hairdressers, leaving customers to their own devices for much of 2021.

Clean, shiny hair is now what people strive for, involving little in terms of hairstyling. The good-old-fashioned brush is the most frequently mentioned hair-care saviour, followed closely by the modest blow-drier. Both are basic and affordable hair care tools, suggesting the low-maintenance hair trend has truly gone mainstream. This low-key trend is also emphasised by consumers seeking out products that work with, not against, their hair types.

We also see that consumers are looking for natural and clean beauty products. Plant-based shampoos and organic remedies are the most popular hair care treatments in the results. This means different things to different users: some posts are focused on using naturally occurring ingredients, such as rice water, coconut oil and ginger, while others focus on eliminating harmful chemicals from your haircare routine.


Bottom line? Natural formulations are skyrocketing. Some even go back in time for inspiration. Posts about Victorian hair care tricks appear frequently, suggesting many hark back to the days of pre-industrial, natural beauty practices.

DIY rules supreme

Only rarely does retail products come up in the #Hair Care search. The overwhelming majority of the results feature DIY treatments and home recipes.

Have a look at some examples here:


Hair masks are especially popular. Intensive at-home masks are lauded as the hair-care treatment available, claiming to tackle a variety of hair problems. The most common is the rice protein treatment – again illustrating how consumers are preferring natural ingredients and easy, low-maintenance hair care routines.

So as we can see, it seems that people are increasingly happy to move away from the lavish, elaborate and artificial hair care routines of the past – and brands should too. Minimalism is beautiful – in both ingredients, tools, procedures and an at-home setting.

With an increased focus on the environment and a newfound appreciation of nature following Covid lockdowns, brands can expect hair care minimalism and natural ingredients to continue to appeal to consumers. Women’s dominance on #Haircare is also likely a long-term trend, but there is a great opportunity for brands to reach other consumer segments that have been left behind.

So keep on checking Pinterest for insights into what your audience is searching for and finding. You’ll have front row seats to how the market is moving.


By Louise Alestam


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