Arey, self-proclaimed as “The Wrinkle Cream of Haircare,” has been championing a science-driven and clean beauty approach to targeting gray hairs, created in tandem with an extensive team of medical advisors, since 2020.
Co-founder Allison Conrad, who had previously advised brands like type:A (the maker of an aluminum-free deodorant) and vegan hair/lash/brow brand Vegamour, and former Paul Mitchell protégé and celebrity hair stylist Jay Small have since continued to work on providing innovative solutions for those looking to target silver strands. After all, the brand’s name is derived from the French word “arrêt,” which translates to “stop.”
Arey’s approach takes into account external factors such as hair dye that can stifle production of healthy hair through oxidative stress due to chemical exposure. The basis for their product development angle is the fact that only 30% of gray hair is genetic, with other lifestyle components like nutritional deficiencies and stress being other key culprits for the onset of silver strands.
Beginning with the launch of a daily supplement—Not Today, gray, which contains a proprietary blend of para-aminobenzoic acid, fo-ti root, and black sesame seed extract among other essential vitamins to slow gray hair growth, re-pigment hair which is in early stages of graying, and stimulate fuller hair growth—the company’s portfolio has expanded to include six products in total. These include shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, root serum, scalp scrub, and a dry shampoo, with ingredients such as peptides to stimulate the melanocortin 1 receptor to increase pigmentation, wasabi extract to promote cell turnover, exfoliating acids to balance the scalp microbiome, and silica to add hair fullness.
“Haircare has been reactive for decades, and we wanted to create a brand that addressed aging hair the way that skincare tackles wrinkles. Instead of covering gray hair at first sight, we would like to get to the root of the problem. We feel that starting to use proactive haircare products at the first signs of gray make the process of preserving pigment and hair health better within our control,” Small told BeautyMatter.
"Beyond the color change as hair ages and turns grey, there are other characteristics like hair becoming more coarse, dry or brittle," co-founder Allison Conrad adds. "We wanted to offer an inside-out and outside-in approach that addressed all of these changes. Just like wrinkle cream became more widely used before seeing wrinkles a few decades ago, we hope people start getting on top of grey hair before they see too many."
It’s a method that has seen them grow exponentially: in November 2022, the company announced a $4.15 million seed round, more than double its original $2 million target, co-led by Female Founders Fund and Graycroft. The funding was used for further R&D, as well as distribution expansion beyond its initial DTC launch. The company recently launched Arey Professional, a program devised of virtual sales tools and stylist education, with features such as easy-to-use QR codes, educational materials, and commission on all sales in perpetuity. "Arey was created when a client went to a stylist seeking answers about why we go grey, and we feel that hair stylists are the first people most go to when their hair starts to show signs of aging," Conrad remarks. "A majority of our customers subscribe for the best results, and we wanted stylists to benefit from the initial purchase and share in every purchase their clients make."
As part of its expansion plans, the brand is also debuting its first-ever wholesale partnership with Credo on June 1. Two new products are set to debut at the retailer in coming months. "Credo’s commitment to clean beauty makes them the perfect retail partner for us, and we’re thrilled to be able to combine forces with a trusted brand. Partnering with Credo allows us to share what we have learned about aging hair and educate their staff and customers on how to take a proactive approach to haircare. Credo has an incredible standard and we are excited to be on shelves and their website with other amazing brands we shop and admire," Conrad states.
Credo co-founder, Annie Jackson comments: "Credo is extremely selective on the brands we carry, and the bar is set very high. Compliance with our rigorous standards is a must, and beyond that they must show innovation on both the product efficacy and sustainability side. Arey meets both, and beyond that, shows first-in-market technology. It’s so exciting and such an amazing solution to offer our customers.”
Arey has been a frontrunner in the search for leading-edge solutions to gray hair that go beyond hair coloring or toning. Monthly online searches for “gray hair” in the US reached 802K according to Spate NYC, and said consumers are looking for efficacious products that focus on ingredients that deliver results, rather than try and simply mask gray hairs. Furthermore, those seeking preventative measures also equates to a broadening of the age demographic purchasing these SKUs.
There certainly has been a strong appetite for what the company is offering, with the brand witnessing 1,100% YOY growth since inception and 975% subscription growth in 2022. 7,000 subscribers currently constitute 70% of the company’s revenue. With the in-person introduction and education of the products at Credo’s retail outlets, those numbers are sure to continue rising.
"Seeing the growth of our amazing customer base that has shown the commitment to approaching aging hair with clean, science-focused products continues to inspire us. We are so pleased to share what we have discovered and continue to research and learn, with our customers. Seeing their positive experiences and results is the best part of creating such a new approach to aging hair," Conrad proclaims.
Meg Lim, Senior Merchant at Credo, tells BeautyMatter: “Within our skincare business at Credo, preventative products that target signs of aging have always been a consistent request from clients. Arey is the first haircare brand at Credo that addresses aging hair and offers products that can slow the greying process and re-pigment hair color. Haircare continues to be a growing category at Credo and we are excited to introduce a science-driven brand that can offer a clean alternative to harsh dyes.”
Innovation and leaning into a science- and efficacy-driven approach has been one key to Arey’s ongoing success, but there is also a cultural shifting of tides which makes the time ripe for the company’s broadening expansion. The gray hair product market has been chronically underserved for decades: products were few and far between, with little paid to ingredient-led narratives or chic packaging. Furthermore, as conversations around aging shift to more holistically minded methods as well as embracing an “anti anti-aging” approach, those with silver strands are sure to seek solutions that help them age as well as possible while keeping up high ingredient standards. The prestige hair market grew by 11% in the last year while purchases of hair supplement products overall skyrocketed by 1,247%—the odds are certainly in Arey’s favor.
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