How men’s attitudes towards grooming and cosmetics are changing

In the past it was unthinkable that men would consider some cosmetic products that traditionally were only for women. But now, especially considering how traditional gender norms are changing, men are more open to using products that were previously only used by women. Matt Teri, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the men’s brand Huron, said: “The traditional values ​​of modern masculinity have changed. Opinions about gender roles and stereotypes are evolving and … well-being … looking and feeling good are … part of everyday consciousness. ”

Research conducted by data companies Ipsos and Spate in preparation for the personalized beauty conference to be held in San Francisco next week shows more precisely how men’s attitudes have changed. Wendy Wallner, Ipsos SVP and Senior Client Officer, said: “There is a noticeable openness to males of all ages using cosmetic products than we have historically observed. This has been fueled by the anonymity of the shopping environment. e-commerce, the recent increase in zoom calls and concern over the social media aspect. “

Most of the men have stated that the appearance of the skin is the No. 1 for which they would consider adding new skin care products to their routine. The men surveyed were between 18 and 65, and not surprisingly, the older they were, the more they focused on skin care to help them look younger. Younger men between the ages of 18 and 34 were also motivated by skincare and firmly agreed with the statement that they would “use cosmetics to hide my blemishes”. The most likely products men would consider adding to their routine are BB or CC cream. (BB is “blemish conditioner” which is transparent, can hide minor blemishes and has a “no makeup” look. CC is “color control” or “complexion corrector” that improves discoloration and redness.)

The data indicates that skincare could be a gateway to other types of less traditional men’s cosmetic products. Right after skin creams, as the products men would consider is eyeliner and most men between 18 and 34 are open to using cosmetics in a professional setting. According to Spate, Google searches for men’s eyeliner increased 14% year-over-year. Younger men are also more likely to agree that “cosmetic products would improve my social life” or “would be a fun way to express myself.”

It’s not just skin care that is driving interest. Tide data shows that men’s Google searches on nails have increased more than 35% year-over-year. The most notable interest increases were in pedicure, nail art and nail design.

How brands could do it

Ipsos says that when they changed the topic of conversation from “skincare and grooming” to “cosmetics,” there was an immediate, significant and negative change in men’s attitudes and perceptions. The older the consumer, the greater the change, but even among men aged 18 to 34, 37% would not even consider the use of cosmetics (71% of men aged 18 to 34 at 51 he thought the same way). Jon Shanahan, co-founder and CMO of the men’s cosmetics brand Stryx, said: “70 +% of our customers have never bought a cosmetic before.”

With these headwinds, how can men’s cosmetics brands break through?

First, they have to consider the brand. Men of all ages are more likely to buy cosmetics from a male brand than a female brand, and this trend increases with age. Secondly, making products that relate to skin care but have other characteristics is a way to lead men to other classes of products that start with skin care. Stryx’s Shanahan says older customers are thrilled to “have a male-centric brand for the products they’ve used before, like concealer and tinted moisturizer.”

While more than 2/3 of men between the ages of 18 and 34 would feel somehow or very comfortable going to a cosmetics store to learn, try or buy products, this trend is decreasing and only about 1/3 of men over 51 feel the same way. To be successful, brands need to have different marketing approaches for different age segments. Stryx’s Shanahan says the company focuses its messages by age group, highlighting acne, rashes and redness for younger men and rosacea, dark circles and wrinkles for older men.

The next steps in the journey

Jeff Raider, co-founder and co-CEO of Harry’s menswear brand, told me that “in many cases, the journey begins with using a partner’s products. Brittania Boey, Harry’s Chief Commercial Officer, said men are “at the beginning of the journey and more focused on their natural best self … [and not on] big transformations. ”Both brands and consumers are evolving in the way they approach men’s cosmetics.

Based on the data, the best strategy for brands appears to be to choose a product strategy, age segment, and highly targeted message. The data indicates that by starting with skincare and expanding into products that have skin care features like wrinkle enhancement or sun protection, brands can entice men to increase the care and use of cosmetic products. . But the data also shows that segmenting messages to different age groups and targeting outbound marketing accordingly will be important to success.

The challenge is that creating a successful brand is not just about making a good product and launching it on the market. Like so many other consumer products right now, a highly specific message effectively marketed to the right audience is critical.

There are a lot of skills to have in a company and eventually there will be brands that will become major brands as they find out. But because it’s so complex, there will likely be plenty of brands that fail along the way before the winners emerge. Patrick Kidd, founder of Patrick’s male grooming brand, told me, “It’s a combination of educating kids about active ingredients, addressing the real problems kids have and then making the products look like something they would be proud to have in their bathroom. . Above all … the products have to really work ”. Conceptually simple, practically very complicated.

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