Men are taking care of themselves. No longer is a quick shave and a splash of water enough, they’re grooming, cleansing, moisturizing, concealing, and even using color to prepare themselves for the world.

And that care is showing in sales: the men’s beauty and personal care (BPC) market is expanding, with 2.2% growth predicted for 2022, according to data from Euromonitor International, and on RangeMe alone, there are more than 5,200 products within the men’s grooming category. The category is ripe for explosion and innovation with new companies, product categories, and product lines appearing regularly.

Small companies appealing

Emile Santos, L.E.K Consulting

Large companies like Gillette, Dove, and Schick added line extensions to appeal to today’s man and in 2018 Chanel launched its Boy De Chanel line with foundation, lip balm and a brow pencil, to which it more recently added products including eyeliner, toner, and nail polish.

However, niche companies like Dr. Squatch, Jack Black, and Duke Cannon Supply are giving them a run for their money. 

“Smaller brands that are more authentic are gaining share,” says Emile Santos, managing director and partner of L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consulting firm in Boston. And though there’s a proliferation of these brands, those that are specifically for men, like Everyman Jack or Dr. Squatch, are gaining more traction than those with a more gender-neutral vibe, he says, especially among men who earn a higher income.

COVID impacting beauty 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted men’s BPC, according to an Executive Insights report from L.E.K. With the growth in Zoom calls, we’re seeing our own faces more and perhaps feeling more disgruntled with them, and men have also had more time to take stock of their personal care and conduct online research. 

According to market research company Kantar, 44% of British male consumers care about maintaining their appearance so across the Atlantic, the men’s BPC picture is the same. “We’ve seen [male] consumers spending much more time researching skincare,” says Bo Kim, founder of Beauty-Lighthouse, a brand strategy company in London. “This resulted in overall higher interest in trying out new brands and product types they have not tried before — a shift from three-in-ones to more nuanced routines.”

Impact of COVID-19 on method of purchasing personal care products (2021)

Impact of COVID-19 on method of purchasing personal care products (2021)

In Australia, sales of men’s grooming products are also seeing an uptick. According to market research company Roy Morgan Consulting, 34% of Millennial men use and buy skincare products in a typical six-month period.

Man-shopping

While sales of men’s BPC products became much stronger via e-commerce during the pandemic, 69% of male consumers do shop in traditional retail locations and of all men’s products sold in 2020, 79% were bought in a physical store, reports L.E.K.

E-commerce sales are strong in the U.K., Kim points out, where subscription models are also increasing, especially for shaving products and problem/solution custom skincare products.

Sales of Jack Black products moved largely to e-commerce during the pandemic but traffic started shifting back to stores last year and the fastest growing channels are retailers such as Nordstrom and Ulta, says spokesperson Taylor Hooker. However, almost half of the shoppers (46%) are women.

Jack Black®
Source: Jack Black website

Products that appeal

But what are these gentlemen doing behind closed (bathroom) doors? L.E.K. has seen growth particularly in facial hair care, which has expanded to beard oils and toners, but has diversified to moisturizing, toning, and even concealer. A third of respondents to L.E.K.’s survey had used a facial concealer or a product for blending.

But the area that really stands out is skincare, says Santos, from face washes to shaving gels, moisturizers, toners, sunscreen, and face masks. In the U.S., men’s skincare grew roughly 8% a year — about double the growth in men’s BPC overall — between 2015 and 2019, and L.E.K. expects it to grow at around 6% annually between 2021 and 2026. Nail color for men has even become popular, Santos adds.

For Australian company Handsome Men’s Skincare, facial products represent 90% of sales, and grew 6.1% last year over 2019. Within that category, the best sellers were creams and moisturizers, with more than  48% share and sales of $4.9 million. Facial scrubs was the next largest category, with 12% share of the category and growing at 28%.

In the U.S., Jack Black’s top sellers are Turbo Wash Energizing Cleanser and Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20, though searches on GetJackBlack.com are “way up” for beard oil, says Hooker. Shoppers on the site are also increasingly interested in anti-aging products and Pit Boss Antiperspirant & Deodorant, she adds.

Overall, how these brands go about marketing their product and its purpose is what really counts. For example, Hims & Hers has launched the Blur Stick, a men’s concealer that’s marketed more as a skin treatment rather than makeup. And as it becomes more acceptable to take care of your appearance for all genders, men’s personal care products are likely to see handsome growth going forward.