The Men's Grooming Market

November 7, 2005

The real truth is out: Men worry about how they look. Guys take as long as women when it comes to daily grooming and they are starting to use more products, such as moisturizers that were not considered masculine just a few years ago.

The Men's Grooming Market

The real truth is out: Men worry about how they look. Guys take as long as women when it comes to daily grooming and they are starting to use more products, such as moisturizers that were not considered masculine just a few years ago.

Americans, both men and women, take nearly an hour each morning to shower, shave and get ready to face the world according to a new survey from The NPD Group, Inc., Port Washington, NY. But the suprising news is that the gap between the sexes is narrowing. The amount of time spent on grooming for both men and women is up 7% compared to the early 1990s. Today it takes woman 55 minutes to get showered, dressed and groomed compared to 51 minutes for men.

The results indicate that men’s grooming practices are very similar to women’s. And with baby boomers attempting to slow down the aging process, men are increasingly using grooming products such as moisturizers to keep themselves looking as good as they did in their wedding photo. “We live in a visual world with a lot of options,” said Michelle Probst of Mënaji. “Health, youth and beauty are key as the millennium approaches.”

But a guy’s skin has special needs. Their skin is oilier due to a larger pore structure and daily shaving creates a unique set of problems. Unfortunately, many current men’s skin care lines were originally developed for female skin and repackaged as men’s lines, insisted Ms. Probst, founder and president of Mënaji, Nashville, TN. Ms. Probst said that her company and its products were developed exclusively for men, based on the unique skin care needs of men. “We target men who are interested in looking their best, from aging baby boomers who want to stay looking young to Gen Xers interested in competing in the career marketplace.”

Mënaji Products was founded two years ago. Ms. Probst is a makeup artist with experience in fashion photography, television, film and video. Some of her clients have included vice president Al Gore, Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman, heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield and comedian Jay Leno.

Ms. Probst said she came up for the idea for the company after working at a photo shoot for a law firm. A lawyer from the firm went into court with his makeup on and told her that he felt more confident with his look, confidence that made him a better lawyer.

“That set off a lightbulb,” said Ms. Probst. She started thinking of producing a product that could be used and applied by men. “My clients kept asking me what they could do on their own to cover a blemish or a scratch, but there weren’t any products out there made specifically for men. That’s why I started Mënaji.”

Mënaji products were developed to enhance the natural healing properties of men’s skin and, according to Ms. Probst, it is the first cosmetic line specifically developed for the male face. From acne-scarred teenagers to sun-damaged baby boomers, Ms. Probst said that male grooming is a major untapped market. “The fastest growing segment of the market seems to be the upscale professional executives. Second is 14-24 year old men with acne problems,” she said. Ms. Probst said that men have become more concerned about their looks and are starting to express what they want more often. “The No. 1 complaint we hear about is puffiness around the eyes.”

According to Ms. Probst, women represent the key to educating men about skin care procedures. “Mënaji is the vehicle for that process,” Ms. Probst said. “We are trying to educate men so that they feel and look better. What I don’t understand is why a man will spend $2000 for a suit he’ll wear once a month to look good yet he’ll never pay special attention to the face he wears every day. We are trying to change his thought process.”

Mënaji recently launched Camo, a naturally-derived and invisible concealing agent for men that soothes skin while covering trouble spots. Camo is available in four shades ranging from Caucasian light to African-American deep-dark. Other products sold by the company include 911 eye gel, a gel that reduces puffiness and darkness around the eye area; Lip Agent, a SPF 15, vitamin-based lip balm that soothes lips without drying them; Mënaji Toner, a glycolic acid-based toner that helps make skin look and feel younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; the Hydrator Aftershave, an alcohol and fragrancefree moisturizer and the Mënaji masque, a masque that deep cleans pores and leaves skin feeling soft and firm. Most products cost $25 and last for three months, said Ms. Probst.

Ms. Probst said the company will launch a SPF 19 lip balm in November. New products for next year include a SPF moisturizer, a new glycolic skin toner, face scrub and a High Definition Television (HDTV) powder for entertainers and newsmen.

Available in 12 markets nationwide, the company also sells products via a toll-free number and the internet (www.menskincare.com). “We are going as fast as we can but are also taking the slow approach so that we grow the right way,” Ms. Probst said. “We have had interest from Canada and we are considering the New York market but we want to do it right. Most of our outlets are on the West Coast and we recently expanded into five stores in Florida.”

Facing A Problem
While covering facial flaws is a priority at Mënaji, L’Occitane is concentrating on caring for men’s skin during the shaving ritual. “Many of our customers are buying our shaving brush and shaving soap. Men are making more of an effort to take care of themselves,” said Stephanie Guinard, vice president, L’Occitane, a Provence, France-based marketer/retailer.

In June, L’Occitane introduced Eau du Badian, a collection consisting of an EDT spray, shower gel and a soap and EDT spray gift set. Eau du Badian, created by L’Occitane’s founder Olivier Baussan, is a simple, sparkling and enlivening scent, according to Ms. Guinard.

Eau du Badian is marketed for a man of wisdom and patience, who possesses an open-mind and far-reaching goals, reminiscent of the The Little Prince fairy tale by Saint-Exupéry, gushed Ms. Guinard; the scent is innocent, romantic and uplifting. Like the Little Prince, who’s come to earth from a far away star, Eau du Badian began with Mr. Baussan’s own dreams and a single note: star aniseed. Star aniseed is blended with grapefruit, lemon and sage harmonizing with bottom notes of fig tree, blackcurrant and tarragon to complete a crisp, fresh and elevating ensemble. The bottle is simple and clean with soft lines and a silver-metal cap. The gold outer carton has midnight blue letters, evocative of a night sky filled with stars.

Ms. Guinard noted that with life getting more hectic for consumers, there has been a greater demand for two-in-one products. “Our customers also appreciate the convenience of our shower gel that works as a shampoo. The products are perfect for men who travel–a two-in-one product takes up less space and does the same job,” said Ms. Guinard. The company also offers two shaving kit collections: the travel kit includes a razor, a shaving brush, a shaving cream and an alum stick while the shaving kit features a shaving cream, an aftershave balm, an alum stick, a razor and a shaving brush.

A Close Shave
With four new product launches under the Aramis’s Lab Series for Men brand, the shaving category has the greatest growth potential, according to Matt Teri, executive director product development worldwide, Aramis Lab Series for Men. “Not all men groom the same way, but everybody does shave,” Mr. Teri said. “The shaving category is seeing a rise is the use of skin protection, such as moisturizers and sunscreens. Combination products are a must for consumers. After all, the face is always exposed to outside forces that will damage the skin. And in order to have a good shave, you must have great skin.”

Lab Series established itself in skin care by scientifically studying the men’s skin and learning all the ins and outs of it, said Mr. Teri. “The products are scientifically geared toward men’s skin, which is oilier and thicker than women’s skin,” he said. “For men, seeing is believing. Men want proof that the product is going to work.” That’s why Lab Series stresses education to salespeople who work at its counters. “Training at the counter level is a must have to get some expertise. We need to catch men immediately and then deliver,” he said.

One of the areas that Lab Series concentrates on is the way men shave. “Men must be taught the right way to shave, teens are taught by their dads but not properly. We stress cleanse, shave and protect and that’s what Lab Series for Men does. We have special products for all men and we are a destination point for one-stop shopping for them. Mega Foam is a perfect example.”

Mega Foam Shave Formula was one of the new products launched in March. It moisturizes and hydrates the skin, said Mr. Teri. Men dispense a small amount of the formula in the palm of the hand and spread it evenly over warm, wet skin. Touted as a shave foam that hydrates, soothes and protects the skin while providing close, comfortable skin conditioning, the lather blankets and moisturizes the skin with moisturizers and active skin conditioners, said Mr. Teri. “The dense rich cushion soothes and lubricates for a close shave while protective ingredients soothe to leave a cool, refreshing feeling. It leaves skin pampered and conditioned for an extremely close, superb shave,” he said. Sodium hyaluronate is one of six moisturizers that hydrates and lifts whiskers while sucrose, caffeine and aloe vera complex soothes the skin. Other ingredients include vitamin E (to help protect the skin) and menthol (to cool and refresh the skin).

Other new products include Razor Burn Relief Plus, Close Call Shave Solutions and Tri Gel Extra Shave Formula. Razor Burn Relief Plus, according to Mr. Teri, is a product that “no one who shaves should go without.” Razor Burn Relief Plus is an improved version of the best selling Razor Burn Relief. The lightweight lotion absorbs quickly to reduce redness and irritation. Used immediately after shaving, men sprinkle a few drops into their palm and massage over shave areas until absorbed.

“Razor Burn Relief Plus instantaneously eliminates post-shave discomfort as it cools the burn, calms skin and alleviates redness. It relieves the burning, stinging and soreness associated with shaving,” Mr. Teri said. The shaving cream also hydrates skin to minimize tightness and replenish moisture lost during shaving.

Close Call Shave Solutions is a multifunctional beard preparation gel/cream that softens a man’s face before shaving. “Men need emollients to help keep their faces moisturized and this product will do it. It follows the trend of multifunctional products that men like,” Mr. Teri said. Close Call Shave Solutions is a technologically-advanced, multi-functional concentrated shave formula that promotes a close shave and leaves skin feeling smooth all day long. Light and natural oils are blended to prepare and pamper the skin. Used as a pre-shave, it softens the beard, raises the hair shafts and levels rough edges to provide extra lubrication for a close shave. Used alone, the transparent formula allows for a clean, accurate shave as it creates a smooth surface for easy razor glide.

Tri Gel Extra Shave Formula has been a huge success that, according to Mr. Teri, tends to cling better to a man’s face. The “Tri” in the product name refers to the pre-and post-shave routines as well as the shaving process. Men put a small amount of gel into the palm of the hand, massage the gel over a damp face and neck and then shave as normal. Tri-Gel Extra Shave Formula is a translucent blue, quick foaming shave gel that creates a rich, creamy lather when it contacts wet skin. The advanced formula provides three essential benefits, according to Mr. Teri. Pre-shave’s thick, rich gel clings to the beard to hydrate, soften and prep hair. During shaving, the enriched lather protects skin from the razor’s edge. After shaving has been completed, the product moisturizes and soothes skin to leave it soft, comfortable and hydrated. The aloe in the formula helps to soothe skin and prevent and relieve irritation while a cationic polymer creates a comfort zone between the skin and razor.

Razor Bump Remedies
Halsik Limited’s Formula 103 Facial Hair Removal Cream (F103) was formulated for black men with sensitive skin who suffer from razor bumps, according to Dr. Patrick O. Ukata, PhD, vice president of corporate affairs. “The product is quick and effective,” said Dr. Ukata. “Even the most coarse beard can be removed in less than seven minutes.”

The cream contains Herbazine, a concoction of herbs that eliminates razor bumps. “It comes in regular and extra strength versions to accommodate the different skin types and is virtually irritation free as a result of hydrolyzed sweet almond protein, an anti-irritant,” said Dr. Ukata. An aftershave lotion is not required because F103 cream contains jojoba oil, mineral oil, aloe vera gel, cocoa butter and vitamin E. These ingredients not only moisturizes skin, they give the product a pleasant smell.

Later this year Halsik, Wilmette, IL, will launch a skin toning cream that eliminates blemishes. “We believe that significant opportunities abound in the men’s facial care segment,” Dr. Ukata said. “Market niches still exist in skin exfoliating creams and herbal-based aftershave lotions with no alcohol. The major trends we see include increased spending on grooming products by men, greater demand for better packaged products and a continued market dominance by upscale men’s cologne.”

During the past year, Clear Essence Cosmetics, Ontario, CA, launched Clear Essence Skin Renewal Booster for Men and repackaged Clear Essence Skin Tone Creme for Men.

“The skin tone crème is formulated with fruit extracts to promote exfoliation of dead skin cells associated with razor bumps,” said Kimberly Jacobs, sales/marketing administrator, Clear Essence Cosmetics. “It’s an anti-inflammatory agent to soothe and calm the skin after shaving.”

The skin renewal booster is a light gel made from fruit extracts of bilberry, sugar cane, yam and orange. “The skin renewal booster gently exfoliates dead skin cell buildup from the surface of the skin to speed up cell renewal, which results in a smoother complexion and evenly toned skin,” said Ms. Jacobs.

The grooming sector with the most potential in the ethnic men’s grooming market are products that are developed to address the problem of razor bumps and skin discoloration, according to Ms. Jacobs. “Over 12 million African-American men with coarse, curly hair are victims of razor bumps, which are the result of ingrown hairs that have grown back into skin, creating small and/or large bumps on the surface of the skin. In addition to the bumps, the beard area becomes discolored resulting in an uneven skin tone that is darker than the face and neck,” Ms. Jacobs said.

To capitalize on these potential markets, the company plans to launch Clear Essence Blemish Control Wash Formula for Men. The product is formulated with alpha hydroxy acids which gently exfoliate the outermost skin layer to minimize the appearance of razor bumps, control mild acne, even out blotchiness and lighten dark spots, according to Ms. Jacobs. The company also plans to launch Clear Essence Sport antiperspirant and deodorant for men

Ms. Jacobs has noticed that men are starting to pay more attention to how they look. “Men are more conscious of their appearance and look for products that fit into their busy lifestyle,” she said. “But products must be easy to apply without any fuss.”

Hairy Options
While facial skin care and shaving products are becoming integral parts of a guy’s grooming routine, hair styling aids remain the backbone of the men’s market. American Crew this past year launched six new products: Fiber, Grooming Cream, Sport Shampoo 2-in-1, Thickening Lotion and an aerosol spray as well as a Sport deodorant.

The trend toward longer hairstyles will create greater demand for creams and thickening lotions, according to Chris Hanson, director of marketing, American Crew. “These products provide a more natural look with control.”

Fiber styling cream provides good control, is always soft to the touch and has a matte finish with no shine. “The Grooming Cream features a 10 out of 10 hold, is soft to the touch, offers lots of shine and is very popular in the ethnic market. The thickening lotion makes hair thicker with more hold while remaining soft to the touch,” noted Mr. Hanson.

The new aerosol product took two years to develop as a result of California’s new 55% VOC regulation, according to Mr. Hanson. “Due to the 55% VOC compliance in California, we were delayed in launching an aerosol as we tried and finally found the right formula,” he said. “We offer two formulas, one with the 55% and one with 80% VOC. The three things that we strove for in an aerosol spray was control, hold and quick drying. All three were achieved with this aerosol.”

The company also has expanded into the sport segment with Sports Shampoo 2-in-1 and an antiperspirant and deodorant stick. “These products are designed for the athletic person,” he said.

Mr. Hanson said his company will concentrate on skin care and expand its shaving lines. “Skin care will be a point of emphasis, especially with baby boomers starting to age,” said Mr. Hanson, although he cautioned that the company will expand its skin care offering at a slow pace. “We intend to start off with a moisturizer that has SPF properties that can be used on the golf course,” said Mr. Hanson. “We are also starting to see shaving products for sensitive skin. Soothing gel is the future for sensitive skin shavers.”

Ready to Launch
Zirh Skin Nutrition, New York, NY, did not launch any new products during the first six months of 1999, but the company is certainly making up for lost time with a flurry of new product activity. “To compete more effectively, the size of our product line had to be at least doubled,” said Brian Robinson, vice president, sales and marketing, Zirh Skin Nutrition.

By the end of 2000, Zirh will add at least eight SKUs to the seven existing items. New products include last month’s debut of a shaving cream, shave gel, shampoo and conditioner. A body bar and an aftershave healer called Soothe will be shipped to stores this month while the relaunch of sun protectant Shield is scheduled for January and a self tanner will debut in March.

While Mr. Robinson said that these new products address growth areas in the men’s grooming market, the area with the most potential is pampering items. “Most lines have a strong facial cleanser or a shave cream. But as men get more comfortable with the idea of skin care, more specialized and tertiary items such as facial masks, body scrubs, cooling gels and foot massage products will be added,” he predicted.

Susan Hussey, vice president, marketing and advertising, Aubrey Organics, said that men are becoming ever more aware of the importance of natural ingredients, especially herbals, for skin care items. “This awareness has translated into good support for our line,” Ms. Hussey said. Among those items for men are Ginseng Shampoo, Ginseng Hair Control, Biotin Hair Repair, Ginseng Face Scrub, Ginseng Face Cream, Herbal Mint/Ginseng Shaving Cream, Ginseng Mint Aftershave and a Natural Dry Pine Deodorant Spray.

Ms. Hussey said her company sales of men’s products has steadily grown over the past 10 years. “We have had good support from natural product retailers. They keep the products well stocked and distribute our literature,” she said.

She noted that men trust new products from companies that they have had a relationship with in the past. “I am sure if we were to launch a new men’s product that we would have no problem getting it into stores and getting men to try it.”

The Selling Point
Nearly every marketer who spoke to happi agreed that men are loyal customers once they are educated about products. One of the main tenets of marketing is knowing your customer. But unfortunately in this category, while men are the target audience, women tend to buy products for men. Ms. Probst of Mënaji said that 60% of her products are bought by women for men. “We have a lot of clients where mom is buying the product for her son,” she said. “Several of the leading retailers selling our products are female oriented boutiques.”

“Females in the household are the biggest influence on what men use,” Mr. Teri agreed. “Men will just grab a woman’s product and use it. Men, however, are becoming more comfortable about buying grooming products.” He pointed to the case of deodorants at mass market being separated by category as well as fragrance.

Mr. Teri said that one of the reasons for the growth of the category is an aging population. “Baby boomers are trying to slow down the aging process,” said Mr. Teri. “Another reason for growth is the influence of European and Asian men who want to look, for the lack of a better word, pretty.”

Men are realizing that good skin is not only a social concern but a business one as well. “Men want to look good for a job interview and are beginning to understand that their skin as well as their clothes makes an impression,” Mr. Teri stated.

Getting men to use these products is half the battle for marketers. Getting men to use their products is the other half. Mr. Robinson said Zirh uses traditional methods to break through to customers. “Sampling has been successful for us and for others,” he said. “As far as new products are concerned, in-store support personnel are instructed to sample and promote new items to customers. Men are brand loyal customers. It is important to attract them initially to your brand rather then get them to switch from their current brand. Many existing customers are more easily approached and will try new products of an existing line that they currently use.”

But acquiring new customers does not necessarily mean stealing them from a competitor, reasoned Mr. Robinson. “The key to growing our business has been and will continue to be the introduction of skin care and high end grooming products to customers who have not purchased these types of items before,” he said.

One of the areas that marketers are concentrating on is product presentation at retail. “The Clear Essence packaging for men has bold, strong, masculine colors,” Ms. Jacobs said. “We also use in-store samples to make sure that men try our products. Use of unique themes at the point of sale emables us to attract more customers.”

American Crew’s Mr. Hanson said that one of the oldest forms of advertising is still the most effective. “Word of mouth is very important to men. ‘What did you use in your hair?’ conversations lead men to try new products,” he said.

It is easier to transfer brand equity in the men’s grooming market, according to Mr. Hanson. “It is easier to capture men with new skin care products from a hair styling company than women. Men will go with brand loyalty; women want to buy their skin care products at a department store,” Mr. Hanson said.

The still-growing men’s grooming market has unlimited potential, insisted marketers. Or as Ms. Probst said, “We are now in the same stages as the hair dryer was in the early 1970s; now every hotel room has a hair dryer. In 10 years from now, men’s grooming products will be mainstream.”

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