For decades, the products and routines of male grooming has been a derivative of the concept of masculinity. Male grooming brands messaging centered on the macho, patriarch and suave.
Yet, a confluence of individualism, progressivism, access to new communities via social media and a number of other variables has led people to question certain constructs: male grooming and beauty being one of them.
This is evident by the industry’s growth, which beat 2020 projections by 130%.
Sub categories within the grooming market have soared from this new paradigm, as evident by the increase in internet search traffic in 2019.
- Men’s moisturizer +324%
- Beard growth kit +233%
- Men’s anti-aging +42%
- Men’s skin care +34%
And in many cases, search interest has outpaced female categories.
I have spoken to a number of startups within this space, and overall they fall into two camps: ‘Taboo Busters’ and ‘Reconstructers’.
The Taboo Busters are focused on reimagining the idea of masculinity and introducing men to products and services that have historically been marketed and consumed by women: moisturizers, concealers, eyebrow threading, botox, face masks, etc. This vertical is also buoyed by the rise of major influencers and artists that lean into this ethos, such as James Charles (24.3m Instagram followers) and BTS (33.8m Instagram followers).
The Reconstructers focus on communities and ethos that are aligned with the traditional concepts of masculinity. They are more interested in premiumization and performance. Think of The Beard Club, Manscaped, and Bravo Sierra.
While the dichotomy between these two subsets is fascinating, it remains to be seen if a company can create a brand that can speak to them both.
But, while different, these two camps have three common overlaps (sourced from this article written by CircleUp’s Trevor Rechnitz) that can be a sound starting point for new brands trying to wrangle both customers bases.
And of course, no discussion of mens grooming can conclude without one of the most iconic images in film: