The noble beard has been given a ‘Shoreditchification’ of late — the term given to the East End hipster vibe which has filtered from a tribe of alternative mid-20 year-olds into the far reaches of British mainstream culture.
Touted as the must-have accessory for the urban fellow, the days of the clean-shaven, baby-faced man about town have rusted away like an old, disused Gillette razor discarded in the shower. But don’t be fooled into taking the rugged beard as a sign that men are nonchalant and disinterested in grooming and their appearances. Far from it — beneath the fuzzy exterior of the bearded or moustached man lies a whole plethora of beauty secrets. Beard oils, beard conditioners, moustache waxes, beard balms: with a make-up bag to rival women’s, men are being offered their own unique products for the first time, no longer having to make do with a female product simply rebranded in ‘masculine’ grey packaging.
Niche, male-only brands, from Bulldog to ManCave, have launched to fill this gap in the market and the response from male shoppers has proved that men were just waiting in the wings to try out the latest beauty products.
And the male beauty range doesn’t stop at the beard. The ageing effects of the stress of the recession on the skin have been linked to more men investing in premium skincare and subtle make-up, while, celebrities from comedian Russell Brand to pop star Harry Styles have championed the not so subtle make-up look, helping to spur sales of manscara, guyliner and concealers. Although make-up for men may continue to be fairly niche, the rise of the ‘retrosexual’ man, who takes care of his appearance and proudly carries a concealer in his pocket, is one of the many reasons why the market for men’s toiletries, cosmetics and fragrances is becoming the fastest-growing area of the wider beauty industry.
As the male market has become one of the key growth opportunities within the wider beauty industry, a new report by analysts Key Note estimates that the market grew by 4.2% in 2014.