A price hike in hair and makeup products has sparked outrage from consumers and prompted a federal inquiry.
The hair and cosmetic industry has reacted with outrage, as have brands including Bumble and Makeup for Life, which launched their own brand.
Last year, the price of hair products in Canada hit an all-time high of $1,500 a kilogram, according to a CBC report.
The prices jumped from $1.20 to $1 in a matter of weeks, and jumped even higher last month.
A recent survey by the Canadian Association of Producers (CAPP) found that the average price of a wig and makeup set of products jumped more than 20 per-cent in just a day in October.
A wig and face cream set of two items is now $1k, up from $995 in the past month.
According to the association, the spike in prices was due to several factors including increased competition from new products and a shortage of supply in Canada, a country with a low price of imported hair and beauty products.
“The industry is reacting in a way that is almost like a social media backlash,” said Lisa Dickson, CEO of APP.
The hair and cosmetics industry has been struggling for years to keep up with the rising prices of imported goods.
For example, in May, the head of the Canadian Federation of Hairdressers and Makeups said that the cost of hair hair products had gone up by 50 per cent since the 1980s.
The association estimates that in 2017, Canada exported $3.5 billion worth of hair and hair care products, while imports were $3 billion.
But a recent study by the Institute of Medicine found that hair care supplies in the U.S. were still far cheaper than Canada, even as the number of imports rose.
The report said that in the last decade, U.s. imports of imported natural hair products increased from 2.5 per cent of all imports to 4.5 percent of all exports.
Canadian hair and face care products are considered by many consumers to be more affordable, but the association says they also have more risks associated with them.
“[In the past], people have worried that the product might be contaminated with bacteria or could be made into a cosmetic,” said Dickson.
“It’s very, very important for hair care to be safe.”
Some have been boycotting the products.
In the past week, many have been urging brands to stop using the words ‘hair,’ ‘cosmetics,’ or ‘hair products’ and instead use the brand name, or brand name-related hashtags.
In addition to hair products, brands such as Makeup For Life and Bumble also have launched new products in the price-point space, including skincare, hair extensions, and skin care.
As the industry grapples with these new trends, some retailers are starting to take steps to curb the price hikes.
B.C. Liquor and Tobacco Corp., for example, said last week that it will no longer sell its premium hair products at $150 a kilo, as was previously the case.
The company has also launched a new product line called Beauty for Women, which features a range of high-end hair care and makeup.
And there’s some good news for consumers: the price for natural hair, which can vary widely between brands, has been falling in recent years.
The average price for a kilos of natural hair fell from $500 to $310 in just three months in October, according TOBIS.
Meanwhile, the number that use the word ‘hair’ has decreased from 12 per cent to 6 per cent over the past three years, according the association.
(Photo: Canadian Association for Beauty and the Body Services)Some have also questioned whether the rise in hair prices is related to the fact that Canadians have grown older and more self-conscious about their hair, according ToBIS data.
That’s something that we can only hope to address, said Denton.
“In the coming years, it’s going to be a question of the beauty industry having a sense of responsibility and taking responsibility for its own future.”