Unilever is taking its £165m Lynx brand into the UK haircare category with a range of shampoos and styling products.

The Lynx Hair range, rolling out to supermarkets now backed by a £5.2m marketing investment, comprises five shampoos (rsp: £3.49)and six styling products (rsp: £4.29).

It marks the male grooming brand’s first major push into UK haircare after it first dipped its toe into the category in 2001 - only to pull out a year later to “focus on its shaving range”.

Unilever predicted Lynx Hair would plug a gap for a mainstream men-only haircare brand and would generate £16m in first-year sales.

“As the UK’s biggest men-only brand, Lynx is uniquely placed to untap the male potential in haircare,” said Lynx Hair brand manager Richard Whitty. “The move completes the brand’s ‘mating game journey’ to supply all the grooming products needed for the boy to get the girl,” he added.

Lynx Hair, the first piece of haircare innovation to come out of Unilever since its acquisition of Alberto Culver last year, made “good strategic sense”, said Claire Nuttall, MD of branding agency 1HQ. “Lynx is first and foremost a style brand, and one of the main drivers of the young men in its target audience is style - so moving into haircare is a perfect fit for the brand,” she said. Nuttall did, however, question whether men would be prepared to pay a premium for ‘men-only’ products in today’s tough economy.

Lynx Hair’s campaign kicked off this week with activity on social networking sites ahead of two new TV commercials in April, all based on the brand’s humorous ‘The Lynx Effect’ strapline.

Meanwhile, Lynx announced its first foray into the female personal care market this week with a limited-edition range, Attract For Her.