Braids, Beards, and Bronzing Boost the Comeback of Salons

Braids, Beards, and Bronzing Boost the Comeback of Salons

Salon service revenues in the United States were up a whopping 23% in 2021 as the market recovered from pandemic-related closures.

Some of the bounce-back was expected — as calendars filled up with weddings and proms again, the need for services such as curling, special occasion hair styling, and makeup application resurfaced. Each of these services saw significant growth in both Canada and the United States. Additionally, the upcoming Kline PRO 2021 Annual Summary Report reveals other pockets of growth that reflect consumers embracing new trends and turning to self-care.



Rank United States Canada
1 Braiding Tanning
2 Makeup application Body treatment
3 Special-occasion hair Makeup application
4 Curling Curling
5 Body treatment Special-occasion hair


The Newest Trends

From baby braids and bubble braids to pigtails, braiding became the fastest-growing salon service in the U.S. in 2021. The trend likely began when salon trips were non-existent and difficult-to-manage hair needed attention: A braid can help hide split ends and grown-out color while taming locks that are longer than ever.  As salons re-opened, the demand for braids migrated to stylists’ chairs: The number of braiding services was up 72% last year, translating to a revenue increase of 105%. Confirming this trend is the rise of social media posts mentioning braids or braiding; our analysis of social sentiment data indicates mentions were up 21% in 2021.

Meanwhile, 2021 saw the rise of the scruffy man. Staying at home gave men the opportunity to grow beards — and many seemed to believe that since no one was seeing them in person, real care wasn’t needed.  As such, beard services is one of the few categories that did not see revenue growth during the year, instead posting a modest decline in both the U.S. and Canada.  The latter half of the year, however, did show an increase in the number of beard services performed, perhaps indicating that men realized that if they were going to keep their newly grown facial hair, it was important to keep it well-groomed with a professional’s help. Beard Balm, from top-selling men’s brand Reuzel, saw U.S. sales increase 58%.

Tanning was, by far, the fastest-growing salon service in Canada, with service revenues increasing nearly ten-fold. While travel restrictions remained in place for much of 2021, Canadians headed to salons for some “sunshine” and vitamin D.

How Self-Care Evolved

The self-care trend continued well into year two of the pandemic, and as salons re-opened, consumers were able to extend their level of self-care beyond the home. Body treatments were among the fastest-growing services in both the U.S. and Canada according to Kline PRO, with revenues increasing by 78% and 455%, respectively. Additionally, skin care service revenue rose 63% in the United States and 38% in Canada.

Pampering and care efforts included the hair as well. In-salon hair treatments increased in both demand and revenue by 26%.  The trend that has become known as the “skinification” of hair continued in 2021 through the rise in clarifying, conditioning, and scalp-care treatments. Clients extended the salon experience by purchasing conditioner and treatment products for at-home use. Items formulated for repair/conditioning saw the largest bump in sales at 65%. K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask was a newcomer this year and became one of the top 25 best-selling treatment items. Scalp-care treatment sales were up 27%, with Hair and Scalp Intensive Treatment Masque from J Beverly Hills leading the way.

To understand more of how the professional salon industry has rebounded, check out the soon-to-be-released Kline PRO 2021 Annual Summary Report with editions for both the United States and Canada. It provides a comprehensive review of the salon retail vertical by service type and product category.  Information includes top-performing products by category, leading company, and brand rankings in addition to growth trends by service and product type.

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