What are little boys made of? Slugs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails—that’s what little boys are made of. While English poet Robert Southey (1774–1843) was referring to kids, he could have been writing about some adult men, too, whose personal grooming habits can often be described as lacking at best and downright atrocious at worst.
Marco Berardini is out to change all that. A couple of years ago, the celebrity stylist to stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears found the time to create his own line of men’s grooming products. Today, Evolution Man is growing at a good clip, rolling out products, expanding into new retail channels and conquering new markets. Proof that men really are willing to take the steps necessary to look their best; that is, if doesn’t take too many steps to get there.
Stars in the Making
“Today’s 20 year-olds aren’t shy about anything. There’s a revolution going on among men,” he asserted. “We’ve all become the stars of our own lives. Men are getting tagged in photos on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve become very sensitive about how we look.”
And after neglecting their skin for years, or even decades, a lot of guys don’t like what they see in the mirror—or on Facebook. Yet, by following a simple two- or three-step routine each day, they’re looks will improve, Berardini promised.
“I wanted to create multifunctional products that can be used as stand-alone items or as part of a short grooming ritual,” he recalled.
Today, the Evolution Man line of products includes cleansing products, moisturizer, lip balm, eye gel, concealer and nail care. Prices range from $10 for a lip balm to $20 for the Wash & Buff exfoliating face wash to $28 for Revitalize eye gel. A Classic Skin Care system kit, which includes Cleanse & Shave, Wash & Buff, Moisture Protect SPF 20, Revitalize Eye Gel and Lip Balm, retails for $135. The Perfect Shave kit, which includes Wash & Buff, Cleanse & Shave and Moisture Protect SPF20, retails for $69.
“My line isn’t expensive,” asserts Berardini. “I cater to the 22 year-old as much as the metrosexual from New York.”
Feel the Burn
Evolution Man all came about years ago, when Berardini’s clients complained about razor rash and how the concealers they wore on the set only made their skin conditions worse. Having had problem skin as a child, Berardini literally felt their pain. He went to work with a contract manufacturer and developed Wash & Buff, a daily face scrub, which helps to deeply clean pores and heal ingrown hairs. The paraben-free formula, winner of the Men’s Health “Best Face Scrub” award in 2011, also has natural ingredients that keep skin hydrated.
“I had the worst razor rash,” recalled Berardini. “Shaving took a lot of time and it was always a nightmare.”
Another early success story for Evolution Man is Conceal & Treat, a 2% salicylic acid product in a blendable concealer stick that promises to quickly cover blemishes while treating them at the same time. Anti-inflammatory acne fighters soothe irritation and accelerate healing, therefore reducing the appearance of blemishes, according to the company.
Why? Well, for one thing, the moisturizer won’t clog pores or leave skin feeling oily—even skin that’s prone to oil or breakouts, according to Berardini, who says ingredients such as tea tree oil and orange peel oil can do wonders for a guy’s skin. Tea tree is a natural antibiotic that helps control acne like salicylic acid, while orange peel oil imparts a wonderful fragrance to Evolution Man’s shaving cream. He’s also a proponent of antioxidants like vitamins C, E and A.
A lot of key ingredients can be found in Evolution Man’s Revitalize Eye Gel. There’s algae extract to balance skin’s moisture content; Antarctic seaweed extract to keep skin from sagging; licorice root extract to stimulate cell regeneration and calms the skin, while evening and brightening skin tone.
As passionate as he is about active ingredients, essential oils and antioxidants, Berardini says he stays away from parabens and sulfates.
“I’m hands-on with my formulations. I’ve been in this business for 17 years, so I know what I like and what I don’t like,” he insisted.
Although Berardini is quick to note that Evolution Man isn’t a green line, he is proud of the fact that all of its recyclable tubes are made with post-consumer recycled materials and that boxes use paper generated from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Even the Evolution Man bag is hand-made from recycled tires.
“I wanted to create products that are sophisticated, masculine and ecofriendly,” he said. “But I didn’t want packages with leaves all over them. We don’t scream environmentalism. It’s just the right thing to do.”
The Guys Have It
Those kinds of formulas appeal to a wide range of men who are becoming increasingly comfortable with skin care. A recent study by NPD Group, found that more than 9 in 10 men use some sort of grooming product; led by facial cleansers, lotions/moisturizers and lip products. Back in 2011, department sales of men’s grooming products rose 11% to nearly $1 billion, according to NPD, which noted that facial skin are product users are more likely to be ethnic men and men aged 18-34.
Berardini say his products are for all age groups, but 20 year olds naturally gravitate to Conceal & Treat for their acne issues, while older men opt for the shave cream and moisturizer.
“Men are changing; they are taking pride in their appearance,” noted Berardini, who insists that more men are willing to try an eye serum when that first wrinkle starts to show up. At the same time, they’re learning about the damage caused by UV rays, so they’re more willing to use sunscreen now rather than undergo Botox treatments later in life.
“Women get some protection from their makeup,” noted Berardini. “Guys don’t. Plus, they’re out in the sun more than women. No wonder why melanoma is more prominent in men than women.”
Sun protection is key, but at the same time, guys are starting to realize what a little pampering can do for their overall appearance.
“Women come home from work, apply some products, reapply their makeup and they look fresh as a daisy. Guys want the same thing. They’re starting to realize what an eye gel can do.”
Try and Buy
Of course, not every guy is ready to try every product in the Evolution Man lineup. For them, Berardini calls Wash & Buff the gateway product, since its effects on skin are instantaneous. To get more product into men’s hands, Evolution Man partnered with Birchbox.com, the online service that delivers luxury personal care products to its members’ door each month. Other online retailers that carry Evolution Man include Clad Cavalier, Luxury4Him, The Motley, Urban Outfitters and SFR Beauty.
“For men, online means convenience,” he explained. “Plus, a lot of men are shy when it comes to skin care. They won’t go to a department store counter and ask for an eye cream. But they like the anonymity of shopping online.
Evolution Man is also available in about 20 retailers in the US, three retailers in Canada and one in The Netherlands. More international expansion is in the works and a new products, including face and body wash, will be rolled out by the end of the year.
The plan, says Berardini, is to build a company with staying power by growing organically and create a life.
“I want to be around for a long time,” he explained. “We want to work with retailers one at a time to get them what they need. I don’t want to be a flash in the pan.”
To build that sort of staying power, the Evolution Man team is expanding its fan base by working with retailers and building a bigger presence on social media to create a community.
Berardini says he’s living proof that Evolution man works. “I’m 36 and people tell me that I look 25,” he insisted. “With cell phone cameras and Instagram, people are surrounded by paparazzi, who just happen to be their friends. Now, everybody wants to look their best.”
And Evolution Man is determined to help them do just that.