Ananya Pathak

Vasmol advertises shampoo that colours hair…

We spoke to Ashish K. Chhabra, joint managing director, Hygienic Research Institute, about the new product.

Remember the iconic ‘surakshit kaale mere baal’ campaign from the house of Vasmol? Well, the brand is back with another set of ads. This time for its newly launched product – a herbal hair colouring shampoo, Vasmol Ayurprash.

The Hygienic Research Institute-owned brand has been in the business of hair products – hair colour and hair oil, for over six decades now. Founded in 1950, the company’s portfolio includes Super Vasmol 33 Kesh Kala, Vasmol Ayurprash Shampoo Hair Colour, Vasmol Advanced Crème, Vasmol Henna, Vasmol 33 Kali Mehendi, Super Vasmol Amla Shanti, Vasmol Black Hair Oil, Vasmol Jasmine Premium Hair Oil, Vasmol Brahmol Hair Oil, Vasmol Rootz Almond Hair Oil, and Vasmol Yogiraj Ayurvedic Thanda Tel.

The brand claims that the herbal hair colouring shampoo has the goodness of Ayurprash - a mixture of herbal extracts, including Amla, Hibiscus, Methi and Bhringraj, which are known to nourish hair and provide deep-rooted care. The ammonia-free shampoo colours hair in five minutes, and is available in Natural Black Shade for Rs 20.

Vasmol advertises shampoo that colours hair…

Ashish K. Chhabra, joint managing director, Hygienic Research Institute, told afaqs! over a call that the product was launched keeping in mind the 'personalised' use of it. “You apply it yourself, in your own living space, with your own hands. Given the current (Coronavirus) pandemic situation, this is what people are looking for,” he says.

Ashish K. Chhabra
Ashish K. Chhabra

The packaging of the product states that it can be applied in just three steps:

1) Wear gloves and cut the pouch. Squeeze out the entire content into your palm and mix it well.

2) Gently massage the mixture into your dry hair. Don’t wet your hair.

3) Wait for 5-10 minutes and then rinse out hair till water runs clear.

Chhabra says, “The ease of use – not having to mix colour since it comes in a pre-mix sachet and comparatively the lesser time it needs to settle on your hair, makes it a convenient option.”

The campaign for the product is currently live in three states – Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. “We have started with a state-wise campaign launch and will further scale it to national level,” Chhabra adds.

Speaking about the consumption pattern of hair colouring products in India, he says the market is more or less same throughout, however, the brand preferences change. “Like Indica has a strong market in the south,” he points out.

As per usage, Chhabra shares, in both the north and south markets, shampoo hair colour is the highest growing category.

Different brands have different pockets where they are strong, but this hike in sachet consumption has been the same. “Other than us, we see Godrej Expert Easy promoting its shampoo hair colour. We’ve also heard rumours that Garnier also has plans to launch a similar product…,” Chhabra says.

He says the colour is primarily for both men and women, but Vasmol is focusing more on the former because the e latter generally have longer hair and use this product only for touch up.

When asked about how long the product will stay, he confirms it should stay intact for around a month – up to 10-12 washes.

Speaking of the market, he mentions that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the hair colouring business has gone down. “People usually colour their hair when they are travelling, meeting friends, going to work, or stepping outside. Now everyone is staying home and, hence, the consumption of hair colouring product has declined. However, as the country is slowly opening up, we are seeing promising recovery.”

Chhabra points out that the consumption of these products has hiked since they were launched in sachet formats 25 years back. “People like to use the product once and throw away the sachet. They do not want large bottles to stock. So, sachets are growing rampantly and other formats (larger packs) are comparatively stagnant in their growth.”

Industry speak:

Akanksha Patankar Mirji, a brand consultant

What, as a consumer, do I expect out of a hair product? Something that can give strength to my hair and make it feel cared for, in addition to the look and feel, of course.

Akanksha Patankar Mirji
Akanksha Patankar Mirji

When it comes to hair colours, I would go for a product that is safe. You want something that can possibly last longer, or will assist you in a way where you can reapply without being worried, or concerned.

A big worry when it comes to colouring hair at home is that (it) can get patchy.

I feel Vasmol is communicating quite effectively on these lines. The tagline of the brand itself is ‘khud ka khyaal’, which pretty much covers the safety aspect. Second, it has clearly mentioned the application process. A lot of other brands tend to confuse you about the application of the product.

As a consumer, you look for simplicity. I wouldn’t want a product that adds to my workload. I want a quick and easy remedy, even if it is a product for my personal care. Brands have to, hence, use the KISS (Keep it simple stupid) rule.

Vasmol has checked that box. At the price of Rs 20, I am getting what I need. The brand, for now, just needs to make sure that it reaches its audience right. I think influencer marketing can be an effective way for that.