In the past, men thought of shaving or getting a haircut as nothing more than a routine chore – a task accomplished as quickly as possible. Today, that perception has become increasingly rare. Men’s hair and skin care has graduated from a chore to a pleasurable activity. What’s more, an increasing number of men view personal grooming as an outward sign of success, and one they are more than willing to spend money on.
This trend is helping to drive tremendous growth in the market for men’s hair care and skincare products, which is expected to top $21 Billion in 2016 as reported by the Independent. This is more than a small uptick. This is a profound shift. It heralds new opportunities for marketing officers, directors, and managers who follow men’s health care trends. Here’s what you need to know.
Men’s Hair Care Trends
Not too long ago, it would have been fairly unusual to see male customer in a hair salon. Today there is a surge in the number of men who patronize salons. According to a 2015 survey by professional beauty and hairdressing supplier Salon Services, a full 25% of salon customers are men. The most common services purchased are massages and facials. Maintenance treatments such as waxing or laser hair removal were also near the top of the list. Grey hair is also a popular fashion statement, and men are coloring their hair to get the look. In fact, judging by internet searches, interest in silver hair has doubled in the past year.
In some ways, men are ideal salon customers. “Men tend to have more brand loyalty than women, and are more likely to buy products that the barber recommends,” says Rob McMillen, head barber at Blind Barber in New York.
When men seek advice outside of the salon, they go to the internet. Among the searches related to men’s hair care, queries like “how to grow a man bun” or “how to tie a man bun” are most common. Other popular queries related to men’s hairstyles include the Fade, The Undercut, the Flat Top, the High Top Fade, the Pompadour Fade, the Hair Sponge and the Mohawk Fade. Even out-of-date styles like the Comb Over are making a comeback.
Men’s Skin Care Trends
Traditionally, men cared little about the effect that time and ultraviolet rays had on their skin. For some men, the weathered look was considered a badge of masculinity. As a result, it was not unusual to see a man with skin that was scorched, dehydrated, and chapped. To the relief of dermatologists everywhere, that’s changing. Driven by the concern over long-term skin damage, there has been a decrease in tanning salon usage.
According to a 2013 study by the International Spa Association (ISPA), males comprised an impressive 46% of the customers for cosmetic spa treatments. The most successful salons and spas appeal to men by combining advanced technology with traditional methods.
Men naturally have somewhat oilier skin than women. This, combined with the need for regular shaving, makes irritation and acne outbreaks a common issue for men. As a result, marketing plans for men’s skin care products should emphasize prevention over curative treatments. Moving away from the traditional bar of soap, men often opt for the convenience of face wash gel. Men also recognize that regular exercise and a healthy diet can be extremely beneficial for healthy skin.
Being There for the “I-Want-That-Look” Moment
When it comes to making a purchasing decision regarding men’s hair care and skin care products, a man’s beauty advisor is as close as his phone. The use of the ubiquitous smartphone means we can measure every capricious whim of the male consumer. Every search, whether performed on a tablet, a phone, or a desktop computer, leaves a digital trace of the decision-making process.
Men also reply on YouTube for grooming advice. “Consumers are looking to these platforms for dynamic content — from tutorials to reviews to videos,” says Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO of L’Oréal USA.
Of all the Google search queries related to beauty, the majority are done on mobile. To see what consumers are looking for in these micro-moments, Google analyzed the monthly volume of beauty-related search queries from January 2013 to August 2015. By late last year, 82% of the searches for men’s hair styles were done on a mobile device, yet only 1% of those searches surfaced a paid advertisement.
For marketers, this represents an opportunity to reach a customer in the midst of a I-want-that-look moment. Gulin-Merle adds that the best strategy for being there is to create great content. She says, “No matter what the beauty movement is, we want to create relevant content that allows our consumers to continuously engage with products and be given an easy, seamless way to merge online and offline experiences.”
Two great examples of brands capitalizing on this trend and reaching men in new ways:
- Dollar Shave Club: The startup men’s subscription razor company went viral on social networks. The brand makes sure to create irreverent, humorous content that’s easily shareable, and taps into the need for high-quality product.
- Bevel: Bevel embraced the barbershop as part of its Bevel Classics campaign, and saw great success with a video series that emulated “style guide” posters that historically have hung on the walls of thousands of barber shops tapping into the cultural significance of said establishments.
2016 and Beyond
2016 has already proven itself to be a pivotal year in men’s health and beauty trends. As men place more and more value on hair and skin care, they will continue to use technology to seek out advice. Successful marketers who want to capitalize on men’s health and beauty trends would do well to pay attention.