The mane event in men’s grooming
Masculine grooming choices are soaring — beard services are up 20%, men’s hair lightening 110% and men’s coloring 8%, according to Kline Pro, which also found men are especially interested in products for thinning hair, finishing and shine. The brands men look for include Layrite, Baxter and Jack Black.
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Although hair growth formula sales are down, a great deal of dollars can be found in such brands as Rogaine, Viviscal and private labels. Emerging as a tool to stimulate hair growth are devices like HairMax’s Laserband. Several chains cross hair growth solutions in both shaving and hair care to make sure men don’t miss the selection. Next up, retailers expect more ingestibles for hair growth.
It is no longer one bottle fits all in the shampoo aisle. Men appear to want special formulas for hair care. Combe’s Just For Men is leveraging its strong name in hair color to keep sales expanding in shampoo, too. The company just launched Control GX.
"Control GX is perfect for a guy who is looking for the easiest possible way to slowly reduce and, even ultimately, eliminate his gray," Ralph Marburger of Combe's Just For Men brand said. "It easily fits into the routine of any guy who wouldn't use a traditional hair color." Color GX is available nationwide as a shampoo and a combination shampoo/conditioner online and in stores for $7.99 to $9.99. The brand said it works on any shade of hair except for redheads.
ManCave also is making waves in the hair care market with its Caffeine Shampoo, which offers “no nasty’s,” or chemicals consumers don’t want such as dyes, parabens or petrochemicals.
Hair color is an exploding men’s category and one where men definitely don’t want to sneak into the women’s department. Retailers estimated footage devoted to men’s hair color has doubled in the past year alone — more men, especially boomers, want to look younger. The major brands for hair color include Just For Men, Clairol Natural Instincts and SoftSheen Carson.
And of course, there are products for men going the no hair route. Bee Bald enjoyed triple-digit sales growth this year, according to Dennis Fisher, Bee Bald’s founder. Shave, a shaving cream, and Heal, a post shave balm, held positions as top sellers, he said. “A big part of our success has come from our ability to reach and engage our customers and fans on social media. We now have more than 70,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 15,000 on Twitter. We were late to the gate on Instagram, but are picking up momentum and closing in on 1,000 followers, with very strong engagement coming from the professional beauty industry.”
A few cult men’s items buyers are singled out as moving the sales needles and adding one more item to the basket. One is Nivea Crème. “It’s an entry-level product that brings men into the moisturizing category,” said a Nivea spokesperson. The product is a good way to get men accustomed to skin care since it is an easy-to-use multipurpose moisturizing cream for the face, body and hands. The company agreed that men are demanding more when it comes to skin care.
Masculinity returns to beauty aisles
Maybe men have been the secret all along to pumping up front-end sales.
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Men used to be just about the “shave category,” but in today’s market, men buy much more than razors and blades. Products crafted just for men, from hair color to skin care, are bringing more guys into mass doors. L’Oréal, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, Combe, Nivea, Dove, Bulldog, Axe, Burt’s Bees and Gillette headline some of the brands that have aggressively curated products aimed at a male audience.
Recent data from Nielsen pegs men’s potential growth in the 20% range for the next few years. Skin care, especially, is one of the areas ripe for incremental sales. In 2015 (the most recent data available), The NPD Group noted that 80% of men use grooming items, but only 22% are facial skin care customers. That could change this year, buyers suggested, as men take more interest in what they apply to their bodies.
And although women will always be the primary purchasers, men should not be left out of the equation. “Men are engaging more in personal care and [are] actually caring about the outcome of their routine,” said Nick Soukas, VP of marketing at Dove. “There are more men that are searching for information and products.”
Unilever’s Dove is interpreting its vision of modern masculinity, which debunks the stereotype that guys are less sophisticated or less interested in personal care routines. Dove’s newest item under its Dove Men+Care nameplate, Elements, is a perfect illustration. Instead of the typical overpowering men’s scents, Elements is naturally positioned with ingredients such as minerals and sage; charcoal and clay; and mineral powder and sandalwood. The Elements line consists of 11 products across several categories, including spray and solid antiperspirants, body wash, bar soap and hair care.
“We know that men are looking for a new kind of freshness in their grooming routines,” Soukas said.
Proof of reverting back to focusing on men can be found at several drug store retailers. Burgeoning sales to men are one reason a newly minted Rite Aid in Manhattan’s financial district features a men’s grooming department, incorporating men’s deodorant, skin care, hair care and shaving.
At Walgreens, the merchandise mix highlights several No7 men’s items. The chain also offers such online brands as Every Man Jack for today’s “discerning” male shopper.
Over at CVS Health, Alex Perez-Tenessa, VP beauty and personal care, previously singled out men as a category he feels will continue to expand in his chain, especially as the company elevates its product offerings.
And at Target, marketing to men is on its mind in personal care with not only the much-heralded Harry’s entry, but also with several product lines in stores or online, including Marlowe, Bulldog, Nivea Men and Man Cave.
Target’s studies suggest that 40% of men’s products in its stores are purchased by men — much higher than four or five years ago.