A trip to the men’s grooming aisle illuminates the changes roiling the category

Laura Fontana
Beauty Director
Laura Fontana profile picture

It would be hard to miss. From products in the skin care, face wash, beard care, shaving tools and hair care segments, the ante for men’s grooming products and assortments has increased drastically. Men no longer are using the bar soap or aftershave their fathers once used, or sneaking product from their significant other’s beauty drawer.

Even my own husband wants to know more and, trust me, that is no small feat. So, I recently took him on an exploratory mission to widen his perspective on all there is on offer in terms of men’s personal care products (more so, so he would stop stealing my facial moisturizer and get some of his own to use.)

As we began our journey into learning more about this growing category, I could not help but chuckle to myself as I saw how brands are marketing themselves by using humor to tap the psyche of the male shopper. By doing so, brands are are removing fear and instilling confidence in men who are becoming more aware about the types of products they use.  

Take Dude Wipes and its “Take it to the Hole” commercial with “Shark Tank’s” Mark Cuban, or Dr. Squatch and its videos on how to lather up with its all-natural bar soap and smell tests. 

Hair regrowth and hair color are other areas where companies are working to make men less hesitant to make a purchase. I remember my dad using products like Rogaine and Just for Men hair color, but seeing new players in the market like Thick Head, which is destigmatizing male hair loss — showing how far this category has come.

So, how did my mission with my husband go?

We did plenty of research online before we took to the streets. We quickly learned there is no shortage of content and information being made available to consumers. Bloggers, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, made it easy for us to find a variety of unique and fun products that my husband was excited to try.  

It also was interesting and humbling to find brands with a purpose, and those that are transparent with their ingredients and mission like Every Man Jack, whose products are naturally derived, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, aluminum-free and more. I expect to find more suppliers doing this, especially as consumers demand products that are safe and mirror how they want to care for themselves from the inside out.

Being able to have access to these up-and-coming brands online, and not being beholden to our local stores, was like music to my husband’s ears. In addition, we found several brands offering subscription boxes with a collection of products from their portfolio to be sent to our house on a reoccurring schedule. Birch Box, for example, even has developed a men’s grooming box, tapping into the consumer who is looking to explore new offerings.

To round out our mission, we ventured into several stores, where my husband suddenly was more aware of the amount of space retailers now devote to the category. Between the products that will arrive on our front porch and what he walked away with in store, he’s now armed with a wide assortment of new shampoo and body wash, as well as a skin care regimen that may go head to head with mine. I’m confident I will not have any more surprises when I go to get my favorite moisturizer only to find it’s gone because he was secretly using it.

This new male consumer is no longer the underdog, using the same products his father did. Are you tapping into this market? 

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