Hair loss, especially in females, was a taboo subject until the last decade. The drug company Pharmacia helped open the discussion in the 1990s with the launch of Rogaine, a topical hair growth medication. Since then, vitamin manufacturers, packaged goods marketers and beauty companies have rolled out products addressing hair loss and thinning.
Fekkai More is meant for use by men and women, although Fekkai's following is largely female. Products in the line include a Scalp-Purifying Shampoo, Root Nourishing Conditioner, All-Day Density Styling Whip, and Nighttime Follicle-Boosting Treatment. Except for the follicle booster at $35, the products will retail for $25.
The line will be available at Frederic Fekkai salons and Sephora stores. Other Fekkai products also sell in department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's.
Fekkai markets a host of hair care products, but this particular line was developed with scientists from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. A key ingredient is a niacin derivative, which is said to control the hormone responsible for hair loss when applied to the scalp.
The system "creates visibly denser-looking hair," Fekkai said in a statement. Company materials say the active ingredient, "Niaplex," is "clinically proven to build and strengthen the scalp's natural barrier to maximize follicle health and resilience... and helps invigorate and nourish every strand with continued use."
Fekkai More stops short of claiming to grow hair. Like other competing shampoos, conditioners and styling aids, such as Procter & Gamble's Pantene Full & Thick, the main benefit appears to be hair that looks and feels thicker.
Doctors say that hair loss, or alopecia, in women can be caused by a thyroid condition, certain nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances or endocrine disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Rogaine (now marketed by Pfizer, which inherited the brand through its Pharmacia acquisition) with its active ingredient minoxidil, is one of the only FDA-approved drugs shown to regrow scalp hair in some people. Both the men's and women's formulas are now sold over the counter.
Pfizer recently launched a foam mousse-like form of Rogaine, but the most recent sales numbers for the brand and generic minoxidil are down.
The $48 million hair growth product category is down 15% for the year ended Oct. 8, according to IRI. Rogaine sales declined 9% to $27 million at food, drug and mass outlets excluding Wal-Mart, IRI reports, while private label minoxidil sales decreased 22% to $20 million.
Approximately 30 million women in the U.S. experience hair loss at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.