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Men’s grooming: Is the men’s personal care category expecting a bounce this year?

Brands and chain retailers are preparing for a surge in men’s shaving and grooming activities.

Mass market retailers are expecting the men’s grooming market to pick up this year as more people return to the office and social activities increase. Consumers who acquired DIY grooming skills during quarantine should also lift the market.

Rod Little, CEO of Edgewell Personal Care, parent company of Schick, said in a recent “Closing Bell” interview with CNBC that there will be a surge in shaving and other grooming activities.

Jessica Estrada, founder and CEO of Hue for Every Man, said retailers have already leveraged their newly upgraded selections in women’s brands for the great shopping return. “Now the attention is turning toward men.

target men's department

IRI data show that several men’s areas are already gaining traction after two soft years. Men’s shaving lotions and talc registered sales gains of 6.3% for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 23, 2022 in multi-unit doors. Razor volume jumped 15.3% and grooming tool sales rose almost 4%. 

Chains are taking action. 

Walmart just revealed the latest iteration of a new store look the company first introduced in an incubator location in Springdale, Ark., two years ago. The store concept, called Time Well Spent, offers a special area where men can get hands-on experience with grooming tools.

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Erik Keptner, Rite Aid’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, said the company will be spotlighting men’s items in its new beauty departments. “You are going to see some interesting new brands come out in the men’s care category,” he said. “Men’s skin care continues to see tremendous growth and innovation.”

Target has its Men’s World stores, which several top executives at men’s brands call the best in the business. The stores have clearly defined areas for men’s products and feature such brands as Duke Cannon, Harry’s, Nivea Men, Every Man Jack, Cremo, Jack Black, Bevel and Dove Men. The sections have been successful in trading shoppers up, according to Anthony Albanese, a cofounder of Duke Cannon. The chain did so by marketing men’s items as affordable luxuries.

The men’s department also is a focal point of CVS’ BeautyIRL stores, which offer huge endcaps dedicated to Duke Cannon and other brands. CVS executives credited brands like Duke Cannon with rejuvenating “old school” men’s grooming products.

“During the pandemic, more men began experimenting with skin care. — Jessica Estrada, founder and CEO, Hue for Every Man.

While mass merchants have always had a robust shaving and aftershave business, emerging categories such as skin care, tools and hair color will bring incremental sales as well.

Skin care is one of the big opportunities in the mass market. “During the pandemic, more men began experimenting with skin care,” Estrada said. “I think skin care is definitely expanding on men’s grooming.”

Estrada also said she thinks DIY grooming rituals that emerged during the pandemic have staying power, even as men return to barbers. “There are those dedicated to their favorite barber, but there are men who feel comfortable cutting or growing their hair into new styles.” 

[Read More: Scotch Porter expands distribution to CVS Pharmacy]

Stuart Hendrickson, senior marketing director of men’s hair care at Combe International, said he expects a surge in men’s hair color. “During the pandemic, the trend was to experiment and try new things — we all remember the Quarantine Beard, for example,” he explained. “Now that we are reemerging and returning to work or more active social lives, guys are returning to trusted routines. In the case of Just for Men, we are seeing men return to coloring their hair and beards.”

For 2022, Combe is focusing on three key items in its portfolio of go-to Head Hair and Beard Color items. “Just For Men had a strong year in 2021, and we will build upon that in 2022,” Hendrickson said. The brand just updated packaging for its Control GX brand, which the company said is the first shampoo that gradually reduces gray with each use. The refreshed look better aligns with the Just for Men portfolio, Hendrickson said. “With triple-patented technology, Control GX is the most advanced hair color available.”

“Men’s shaving lotions and talc registered sales gains of 6.3% for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 23, 2022 in multi-unit doors.”

Combe offers virtual try-on capabilities on the shelf with technology that allows for easy shade matching in stores. The brand is also teaming up with retailers to offer value to shoppers watching their wallets. “We have been able to execute some unique promotional programs to ensure consumers who are struggling with disposable income, but don’t want to give up on their hair coloring routine, can rely on Just for Men to deliver in even bigger ways on our already strong value proposition,” he said. 

Not all men are giving up their quarantine facial hair. Scotch Porter delivers the self-care experience to beards with its Nourishing Beard Mask. 

“In the past year, we have witnessed men go beyond mere physical fitness and take a more intentional approach to engage in self-care practices through their grooming and integrative health options,” said Calvin Quallis, founder and CEO of the Scotch Porter brand. The company also just introduced a men’s fragrance called It Hits Different.

Men also became more adept at hair removal over the past two years. That has prompted a rush to Wahl’s Manscaper, which has been hard to keep in stock, according to Steven Yde, divisional vice president of marketing at Wahl Clipper. The good news for mass merchants is the groomer carries a basket-building $59.99 suggested retail price. 

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Kiss Colors and Care, a new textured hair brand from Kiss Products, has brought in star power for its men’s collection in 2022. The rapper and actor Bow Wow is partnering with the brand on five products available at and The products will also be in select Walmart and Kroger stores. 

“From the jump, I’ve been a fan of the KISS brand and everything they do to help us push the culture through hair,” Bow Wow said in a release. “I knew from day one, our collaboration would be the perfect fit because I know they care about their customers and giving them the best, top-of-the-line products.”  He will serve as a brand ambassador and content creator through editorial, press and store events throughout the year.

“Here at Kiss, we have been long-time fans of Bow Wow, inspired by his creativity and personal style,” said Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president of marketing at Kiss.” He is an iconic figure who has influenced generations of consumers through his music and films. He is the ideal partner for the brand’s new men’s collection. Bow Wow embraces the power of self-expression through not only his work but his style, particularly his ever-evolving hairstyles.”

Wahl Clipper Wahl Manscaper, SRP: $59.99
This grooming tool features a proprietary wraparound safety guard with rounded edges to prevent snags and eliminate knicks and cuts. The patented handcrafted, finely ground stainless steel blades smoothly cut through even coarse hair without ever touching skin. 

Hue for Every Man Awakening Spray, SRP: $16.99
This spray features a black pepper scent that awakens the senses, but also tightens the pores and gives the skin a noticeable lift.

Kiss Products Kiss Colors and Care, SRP: $4.99 to $12.30
The collection consists of Power Wave Crushed Velvet Durags in burgundy and black, Twist King Styling Tool and, launching later this spring, Power Wave Boar Brushes in palm-sized and with a handle.

Scotch Porter Nourishing Beard Mask, SRP: $9.99
These new masks are made with clean and natural ingredients, including shea butter and sunflower seed oil. The masks were designed to help hydrate dry, dull or coarse beards.

Duke Cannon The Tactical Scrubber, SRP: $17.50 
The Tactical Scrubber is a U.S. military grade mesh soap pouch, custom made for Duke Cannon’s Big Ass Brick of Soap. The brand counts on its community of direct-to-consumer customers to launch items quickly and, based on feedback, bring to physical retail with support it will sell.

Combe Easy Comb in Color, SRP: $9.49
This no-mix formula comes with an applicator designed to target grays as easy as combing hair.

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