Expert's Opinion

Beauty of the Sexes

By By Cheryl Swanson, Toniq LLC | May 28, 2013

Cheryl Swanson looks at the fast-growing men's segment.

Beauty and personal care has largely always focused on the female consumer. However, nearly 20 years ago, we began to see a shift – the metrosexual awakening. Men were gaining interest in personal care and looking for brands to cater specifically to them. Today, global beauty sales have reached $170 billion a year, with about $40 billion of that in the Americas. Global Industry Analystspredicts the global male grooming products industry will generate $33 billion in revenue by 2015. Euromonitor estimates that the men’s grooming category in the US will reach $5.8 billion by 2016. Today, the men’s global beauty and personal care industry continues to be one of the fastest growing.


Since men’s grooming is one of the fastest growing segments in beauty and personal care, retailers are eager to have a share of this market. Department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s have created beauty departments specifically for men. The cosmetics retail chain Ulta has in-store boutiques called Men’s Shop. Drugstore, Duane Reade, has specifically labeled “Men’s Grooming” aisles. P&G teamed up with CVS to create “Guy Aisles.” “Men are buyers and not shoppers," Procter & Gamble Spokesman Michael Norton said, in a news release. "They want to get the shopping done, and with all their grooming needs in one aisle, it makes shopping easier, quicker and simpler.”
But it’s not only just the brick and mortars. Online retailers are catering to men’s personal care shopping needs as well. Mintel research shows that 3 out 4 young American men prefer to buy personal care products online. Top sites include,, and

Man's Best Brand

Men tend to shop personal care based on necessity. Women are more apt to try new products based on claims, scents and application. Men stick with what they know—the brands that they have tried and have grown to trust. The brands that capture them at the entry age tend to grow with them developing brand loyalty along the way. The biggest entry that first targeted this young group was Axe. Today, along with Axe, Old Spice, Gillette, L’Oreal and Nivea corner the market. The largest male consumer group is still 18-34 year olds for sun care, antiperspirant/deodorant, hair care, skincare and fragrance so it is key to create a relationship early on. These men have an agenda when they shop. They know the exact brand and product they want. If it were not available, they would rather forgo the purchase than buy a substitute or unfamiliar brand.

Boys to Men

The entry age into personal care for men used to happen around 18, however, we are seeing a shift to a much younger age. Thanks to pop culture, young celebrities are driving boys to behave more like men. For example, and this is no surprise, Justin Beiber has greatly changed the marketplace. It first started with the hair. But did you know that in his short career he has also launched a beauty collection for women including a nail polish collection with OPI, scented dog tags and wristbands, and 2 fragrances – Someday and Girlfriend Fragrance Collections? Someday was the leading selling new fragrance of 2011 and was sold to Elizabeth Arden in 2012. He also has a unisex fragrance called My World, has a singing toothbrush that plays 2 Beiber songs, and is a spokesperson for Proactiv – making it okay for young boys to buy into a personal care regimen and want clearer skin. Not bad for a young male celebrity who just turned 19. Besides being a teenage heartthrob with a huge marketing impact, Beiber is easing tweens and teens into the beauty arena. Currently, English-Irish boy band, One Direction, is following in Beiber’s footsteps. One Direction has teamed up with Colgate for an endorsement of toothpastes and toothbrushes, there is a What Makes You Beautiful hairdryer set, and they are launching a global fragrance collection in Fall 2013.
Super Bowl and sports event advertising also has an enormous impact on young men. For example, Axe aired its first Super Bowl ad for the launch of a line of products branded as "Apollo" with the tag, “Leave a man. Come back a hero”. There was also a chance to win a trip into outer space. It’s everything boys love, football, space travel, competition and “smelling like a hero, because everyone knows that nothing beats an astronaut”. Axe considers their target to be 18 – 24 year olds, but in reality the younger brothers are using the same brands and products. Axe is so popular among tweens, it was an essential in tween novel, “Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials” by Rosalind Wiseman ­– “You have to know what Axe is,” she said as she waved her hand in front of her face. “It’s that cologne guys use before they graduate to Armani or something.”
In all retail purchase-through honesty, mostly mom is buying these products. And to mom, this is what’s cool or when asked what brand they want, these are the ones they recall. Regardless, these marketing initiatives are driving the entry into beauty down to around age 10, the youngest it has ever been.

Trends in Action

Although men are most often creatures of habit, there are still new trends developing within personal care. Current male trend-setters are leading the way towards awareness for cruelty free products, lip-care, concealers, energizing lotions, eye care and even bronzers and nail polish. Here are some top products in each of these categories:
Cruelty Free: Bull Dog, Jack Black, John Masters Organics, Kiehls
Lip-Care: Jack Black Lip Balm, Molton Brown Protecting Vitamin Lipsaver, Anothony Logistics Lip Balm, Matte for Men Hydrating Citrus Protective Lip Balm
Concealers: Yves Saint Laurent For Men Touche Eclat, Guyliner Disguys Concealer, Mënaji CAMO
Energizing Lotions: NO7 For Men Energising Moisturiser, Lancôme Men Energizing Total, L’Oreal Men Expert Turbo, Kiehl’s Facial Fuel, Babor Men Energizing Anti-Wrinkle Gel-Cream
Eye Care: NO7 For Men Rapid Revival Eye Roll-On, Clinique Age Defense For Eyes, Nivea For Men Skin Energy Roll-On, Lab Series Age Rescue Eye Therapy, Clarins Men Line-Control Eye Balm, Anthony Logistics Eye Cream
Bronzers: Clinique Skin Supplies For Men Non-Streak Bronzer, Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Healthy Bronze, Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder For Men, KenMen Koko-Mojo Bronzer
Nail Polish: Alpha Nail by Blakk, ManGlaze, and anything clear


There is no sign of slowing down in the men’s personal care market. As the consumer group grows in numbers with boys becoming consumers at a younger age, we can only expect this industry to grow in sales, introduction of new products, new brands, more innovative male-focused retail formats, and of course, more trends to take shape. Check back as we continue the Beauty of the Sexes series.
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Cheryl Swanson
Toniq is a brand strategy firm focused on market innovation, creating new products and repositioning existing ones. Ms. Swanson and her staff bring life, energy and dimension to brands by through a compendium of trends, semiotics, anthropology, sociology, the psychology of symbolism and innovative consumer research techniques. More info:  Cheryl Swanson,; Tel: 212-755-2929 x218; Website: