Premium Chinese hair care brand’s advice

Premium Chinese hair care brand’s advice

Premium haircare is a real growth opportunity in China

Kerastase dominates the market but there are brands that are biting at their heels

Olaplex launched in 2020 and is already turning over more than $10m USD on Tmall

I have interviewed Sophy and Joanna, two founders of one of China’s only premium haircare brand La Terapia

This interview is well worth a listen – here are my highlights:

💥 China haircare market dynamic and 2 major trends – premiumisation and segmentation 

💥 Pain points and specific needs for Chinese hair vs. western or other Asian hair products

💥 Building a DTC brand in China and the cultural struggle with putting founders front and centre

💥 Local Chinese brands going global and how they need to adapt
💥 Advice for niche beauty brands entering China – importance of adapting and choosing the right partners

two major trends in Chinese hair care

1️⃣ Premiumisation – this is still immature, but we are seeing more western brands entering the market

2️⃣ Segmentation – shampoo sells 4x conditioner but apart from conditioner consumers are starting to buy masks, look a scalp care and styling products

What struggles do these founders have?

  • La Terapia is alone as a Chinese brand in the premium haircare space 
  • The overall market is still quite immature and dominated by L’Oreal’s Kerastase
  • Building DTC brands in China is hard due to the ecosystem and the strength of the market places
  • Internal struggle with putting themselves forward as founders – culturally this is not so accepted and can be seen as limiting if your brand is too associated with one person


This is cultural and something to be aware of when investing or operating in China

It is truly embedded into Chinese culture – they are not an individualistic society. Tall poppies are often cut down.

We discussed the apparent danger of associating your brand with one specific person  

However these founders had also seen how their Gen Z customers enjoyed finding them on social media and reaching out to discuss the products.

Chinese brands have shown that they are great at leveraging social media to create community like with perfect diary

But this can lack depth that brand story and a visible founder can provide

I really see the facelessness of some of these companies as a major weakness for Chinese brands going global 

Fascinating interview hearing from these two founders paving the way for premium haircare in China.

You may also read this article about brands in China

You may also watch the full podcast episode on Youtube by visiting this link:

Or listen to the full podcast episode on Anchor & Spotify:

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