Prestige hair care is the fastest-growing category within beauty, driven heavily by sales outside of traditional salon channels. This change has led to expanded category and product offerings and a swell of independent brands flooding the market with niche product lines. As the e-commerce path to purchase continues to evolve, the top ten brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color prioritize both influencer and retailer relationships and guided selling content on their sites to attract customers.

1. L’Oréal
Digital IQ: 165

Leading the pack by twenty points, L’Oréal wins in search visibility on Amazon and Target with particularly strong performance against hair color terms on e-tailer partners. It shines on social media with the highest engagement rate on Instagram out of all tracked brands and fills its grid with rich content such as tutorials with step-by-step instructions in the captions.

2. Garnier
Digital IQ: 145

Garnier gets ahead thanks partly to strong email marketing with an increasing annual open rate and email campaigns that prioritize short subject lines for maximum mobile readability. Additionally, the brand is the most active label on Instagram Stories, frequently hosting influencer takeovers to walk viewers through hair care routines.

3. Redken
Digital IQ: 144

With the best desktop site out of all the brands tracked in Gartner L2’s study, Redken reaps the rewards of full-bodied product pages with user-generated content and links to materials for professionals on how to recommend products to clients. The brand also secures strong organic mobile search visibility against unbranded hair color terms that link back to the brand’s blog posts and style lookbook. It caps off its performance with same-day delivery service via Facebook Messenger for New York City and informational tool kits that demonstrate how to best execute social media posts for salons.

4. Clairol
Digital IQ: 139

Heavy investments in mobile shopping ads made for a successful promotion of Clairol’s Natural Instincts line while best-in-class YouTube search visibility generated significant views through paid promotion of the brand’s “Get Festival Ready” video. The brand also benefits from paid second-order search visibility through Amazon and Ulta text ads for unbranded hair color terms.

5. DevaCurl
Digital IQ: 133

DevaCurl’s sleek desktop site allows users to save physical characteristics to their accounts, and its products also boast voluminous visibility on Ulta. It’s the most frequently mentioned brand by hair care vloggers on YouTube, receiving more site traffic from the platform than almost any other brand tracked in Gartner L2’s study.

6. Matrix
Digital IQ: 131

Matrix maintains pumped-up organic search visibility against hair care and color terms. Additionally, it boasts best-in-class desktop site content for professional stylists and high product discoverability on Ulta.com.

7. Madison Reed
Digital IQ: 128

Madison Reed makes the cut with the strongest mobile site in the ranking. It also drives significant traffic to its site through an aggressive paid strategy on Facebook, making it one of the biggest Indie winners this year.

8. Moroccanoil
Digital IQ: 127

Moroccanoil slides into this year’s ranking with strong mobile search visibility against unbranded hair care keywords. Another layer of success is that the brand scores the highest visibility in Sephora’s paid search results, appearing in 19% of them, most frequently for terms like “dry scalp treatment” and “split end treatment.”

9. Pantene
Digital IQ: 126

Pantene picks up Procter & Gamble with razor-sharp performance. Its digital chops include sophisticated search and navigation functionality on its mobile site and strong product visibility on Amazon and Walmart.

9. Paul Mitchell
Digital IQ: 126

Among posts featuring hair care and styling products, Paul Mitchell is one of three brands in the index most frequently mentioned by influencers. It also possesses the highest brand visibility in Ulta’s paid search results. Finally, its desktop site incorporates engaging content on its category pages, such as tutorials.

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