Haircare Manufacturing: Harnessing Science-Led Skinspiration for Hair and Scalp Care Product Development 

A detailed look at why scalp health should be on every haircare brand’s radar and how, as beauty manufacturers, THG LABS can develop products that seamlessly integrate this interconnectivity of skin and hair health into your product line up.

May 9, 2024

10 mins read

Dr Catherine Leray, Account Head of R&D, THG LABS

Kristal Goodman, Head of Product Innovation, THG LABS

The beauty and personal care industry drives change at eye-watering speed. As a team of chemists and innovators working in Research and Development, we wouldn’t have it any other way; it’s our job to keep pace with scientific advances and predict ever-changing consumer preferences. One of the most notable shifts we've seen in recent years is the ‘skinification of hair’ trend, where products are being developed to give the scalp and hair  the same dedicated care and attention as the skin on our faces.

As leading UK skincare and haircare manufacturers, THG LABS were among the pioneers championing the scalp-centric approach with the acclaimed hair and scalp range we developed and formulated for AMELIORATE, in 2019. The subsequent growth of this trend, where trichology and dermatology intersect, has changed perceptions and helped to recalibrate the haircare category. It also presents an expansive realm of product opportunities for brands to venture into.


Born from a deeper understanding of how closely related our scalp and hair health are, it’s no surprise that by caring for the scalp – the home of our hair follicles – we’re also safeguarding the future strength and growth of healthy hair.

Understanding the Scalp-Skin Connection

“Before diving into the beauty product development opportunities on offer to brands, it’s crucial to understand the underlying science,” Dr. Leray explains. “The scalp isn’t just a base for our hair, it’s an extension of our skin and shares numerous attributes. This biological similarity makes it receptive to many of the ingredients and formulations traditionally associated with skincare. Some of the scalp specificities are linked to the higher density of hair follicles, responsible for hair growth. It also has a larger number of sebaceous (oil) glands that produce sebum, which contribute to the balance of the scalp microbiome.”

Scalp Health = Hair Health

A healthy scalp means healthier hair. Conditions such as dandruff, dryness, and even hair loss can often be traced back to scalp issues. By adopting a skincare approach to our scalp, we’re addressing root causes rather than simply tackling the symptoms.


“Fuelled by the increasing emphasis on the role of the scalp in maintaining optimal hair health, there's a rising trend in the market for products, tools, and salon treatments designed specifically for scalp care. Currently, the scalp care sector is primarily focused on addressing existing issues but we’re seeing a pivot towards proactive prevention. Taking a cue from the skincare industry, there is a growing interest in products that proactively address concerns before they become visible, with China being a significant market for this emerging trend.

The modern beauty consumer is educated and discerning. They are becoming super savvy about ingredients and their effects, there’s increasing demand for brands to offer higher-quality, more effective haircare products that mirror the same benefits customers expect from their skincare products.

This trend has introduced scope for a whole new area of product opportunities. Just as multi-step skincare routines and rituals are popular for the face and body, we’re seeing skinification translate into similar regimens for the scalp and hair. Products that were traditionally reserved for facial care – think hydrating serums, nourishing masks, physical scrubs and chemical exfoliants – are now being developed specifically for hair and scalp care.” 
Kristal Goodman, Head of Product Innovation – THG LABS


‘The trend of skinification for hair products recognises that, just like skincare, hair and scalp deserve gentle, nurturing but highly performing active ingredients. It is about formulating products with a holistic approach to health with the scalp in mind to promote hair and scalp harmony but still addressing specific concerns.’
Dr. Catherine Leray, Account Head of R&D – THG LABS


Ingredient heroes that are staples in skincare, are now a feature in haircare products too.

Here are some actives and formulations to consider:

1. Exfoliation:

Just as our face needs regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, our scalp benefits from gentle treatments, too.

  • Salicylic Acid: Known for its ability to penetrate oil and exfoliate the scalp, it can help in reducing dandruff and build-up from styling products. 
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Ingredients like glycolic and lactic acid can gently exfoliate the scalp, promoting cellular turnover and ensuring follicles remain unclogged.

2. Hydration and Moisture:

Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera:
Still star in the skincare world, these ingredients can be integrated into soothing scalp serums to provide deep hydration without weighing hair down.

Essential for barrier repair, ceramides can be integrated into formulations to restore the scalp's natural barrier, thereby retaining moisture.

3. Nourishment: 

Vitamins and ingredients that nourish facial skin can be equally beneficial for the scalp, promoting overall health and balance.

Biomimetic Peptides:
Specific amino acid chains can potentially promote hair growth and strengthen hair at the root.

Ingredients like Vitamin C and E can protect the scalp from environmental aggressors and oxidative stress.

Omega Fatty Acids:
Sourced from oils like argan, flaxseed, and hemp, these can provide essential nourishment, promoting a healthier scalp environment.

B Vitamins:
Niacinamide (B3) is one of the most popular and beneficial scalp care heroes and brings multiple benefits including moisturisation. Panthenol (Provitamin B5) retains and maintain moisture levels while Biotin (B7) boosts and energises roots for healthier looking hair.

4. Protection:

SPF Formulations: Rising awareness about UV radiation’s harm means scalp sunscreens or hair products fortified with SPF cater to a fast-growing niche.
Pollution Defence: Ingredients that guard against pollution can be crucial, given the increasing urbanization and the environmental challenges that come with this.


The emergence of the skinification trend represented a paradigm shift in understanding hair health. The brands who embrace this will not only meet consumer demand but will also shape the future of holistic hair care.

As we continue to learn more about the intrinsic connection between scalp and hair health, it’s exciting to consider the potential for future innovations in beauty. Partnering with knowledgeable product development and cosmetic manufacturing experts ensures your brand not only taps into the trend but sets the benchmark for others.

Our in-lab equipment optimises formulation development and generates data for claim substantiation alongside additional instrumental assessments or custom-designed user trials. We can also leverage the expertise of Trichologists in the R&D process to support development and validate the efficacy of our scalp care and haircare products.

“At THG Labs, our experienced team of creative chemists understand the intricate interplay of skin and hair biology. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge skincare ingredients and scientific insights, we unlock the potential to nurture your scalp for lustrous, resilient and healthy-looking hair. The shift towards skinification highlights the understanding that a healthy scalp is essential for maintaining beautiful and vibrant hair.”

Dr. Catherine Leray, Account Head of R&D – THG LABS


If you’re keen to discover more about how THG LABS can support your beauty brand in exploring new territory with innovation, formulation and manufacturing, the doors to our lab are always open for collaboration. Please get in touch


Kristal Goodman
Head of Product Innovation - THG LABS

With over 25 years’ experience in the beauty industry and UK cosmetics manufacturing, Kristal has cultivated a unique blend of scientific expertise, creative vision, and strategic thinking to spearhead what are recognised as some of the beauty industry’s most much-loved, must-have products.

In her role as the Head of Product Innovation, Kristal’s influence is best demonstrated in THG LABS dedication to pushing boundaries. She is the driving force behind the integration of upcycled ingredients, advanced biotechnology, and other impactful emergent global beauty trends that ensure THG LABS remains at the cutting-edge of beauty innovation. Her knowledge of actives and their benefits is encyclopaedic which fuels her talent for translating ingredient ideas and science into concepts that give each product a formula and a story consumers fall in love with.

A member of THG LABS Eco Leadership Team and a devoted advocate for formulating sustainably, Kristal adopts a holistic approach to product development, believing that truly innovative beauty products are those that address the multifaceted needs of today’s consumers while better respecting the world around us.