How can beauty brands stand out in an overcrowded male grooming market?

picture credit: Neil Barrett

The male-grooming market is fast becoming as big and as powerful as the women’s – challenging the latter in its bid for innovative formulations and market saturation. As men become more aware of their skincare needs, bolstered by the ever-growing wellness trend that taps into the health-conscious consumer, the demand for products that target myriad conditions is on the rise – and sees men investing in luxury skincare, including everything from serums to eye creams. With such a burgeoning market, beauty brands need to work harder to stand out.

The answer to making your mark now? Embracing the appetite for genderless products. Inspired by the success of the female market, male grooming brands are emerging that bear no resemblance to the uber butch, super masculine products of the past. Shunning the tradition of targeting the male consumer with products that connote strength and ruggedness, these brands are developing gender-less products that appeal to a wider audience.

The same way that fashion has adopted a gender fluid approach to design, beauty brands are doing the same and consumers are responding positively. Deprived from any gender-based benefits, packaging, or format these new skincare products re-invent gestures and rituals, making them more easily adoptable by beauty-savvy men who are looking for simplicity and efficiency. And women will buy in too.

“Male grooming is kicking it up a gear, taking cues from the female market for a more diverse and inclusive industry with ever-growing areas for experimentation,” says Emma Grace Bailey, WGSN Associate Beauty Editor.

/Volumes/Images/WORK FOLDER/To Be Vetted/txye20111011/El PAÍS SEMANAL/EL PAÍS SEMANAL Spain March 2011_Beauty Man/Published/EPS Beauty_03-135_D.tif

Brands to watch include the likes of Milk Make-Up, whose entire line – both skincare and make-up – is minimally packaged in a neutral palette. Breaking gender boundaries, the products are communicated in such a way that anyone with skin problems is encouraged to use them, touting no differentiation between the needs of male and female skin. Application is also as easy as can be, with products presented in chubby stick form and squeeze tubes to limit mess and interaction. Multi-benefit products such as the Hydrating Oil  – which can be used on both hair and skin – appeal to the time-poor woman and the ever efficient man as well.


Korean brands have also launched sticks with several types of benefits such as scrubbing and moisturizing. Even if marketed for women, Espoir and VDL have introduced these convenient products to their offer.

espoir-agenda beauty

A-gender beauty is a market quickly gaining traction, and the male grooming market would do well to pay attention, tapping into the plethora of product categories it opens up.

WGSN Mindset offers tailored made consultancy. Leveraging an incomparable network and expert knowledge of the fashion, beauty and interiors industries, WGSN Mindset deciphers and translates genuine insights into tangible recommendations and actions for your business. To keep up with WGSN Mindset, follow us here 

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.