In the world of luxury, occasionally, comes a disruptor that changes the face of an industry and the perceptions attached to it. While the fashion segment is churning out gender-fluid designs, the beauty industry is aggressively targeting men with advanced products and treatments designed just for them, something that was unheard of even seven years ago.
Luxury salon, The White Door, in Mumbai, has been quick to cash in on the raging trend and vows to remain ahead of the curve. It will soon launch Nano Blading for men, an advanced service that redefines one’s brow, in collaboration with international brow specialist Arti Bagga.
Even old brands are vying for a pie of the promising market. The 215-years old Truefitt and Hill now offers an extensive 45-minute facial, which includes hot towel wraps, pre-shave oil application, lathering with a handmade badger brush, straight razor shave and a finishing facial in its 45-minute razor package; a lot more than its earlier shaving package, which only included pre-oiling, lathering and razor shaving. They also offer a 60-minute royal pedicure service, which begins with a consultation and product briefing session with the client.
Other high-end brands such as The Man Company and Bombay Shaving Company have launched an extensive range of grooming products for men over the last five years. These address men’s concerns for face, beard, hair, hand and feet, and include starter kits for beards, six-step shaving systems, skin cleansing combos and bath and body travel boxes.
Newer to the male beauty clan, Raw Nature and MensXP Mud introduced products like clay shampoo, zero-chemical lip balm, beard and hair oil and hair wax recently. Renowned brands Kama Ayurveda and Innisfree also launched moisturisers, night creams and gels, scrubs and masks, especially formulated for men. “The men’s beauty segment is growing beyond fragrance, shave and beard care. Brands are creating products that are more relevant to men,” says Mohit Saxena, Co-Founder of Raw Nature.
As per Nielsen’s report The Man in the Mirror, the men’s grooming market in urban India is valued at ₹5,000 crores. 2019 witnessed a double-digit value growth of 12.3 per cent v/s 2018.
Men today want to be pampered and look well-groomed. Market research agency Mintel revealed that an average man in India spends around 16 minutes on body grooming, 14 minutes on his hair, and 12 minutes on his face. The male beauty industry is evolving rapidly, and social media has a big role to play here. For Sana Dhanani, Founder of The White Door India, Instagram is a key platform to publicise the salon’s services, which uses Hollywood’s favourite Biologique Recherche. They often upload videos of their treatments on IGTV.
Luxury bloggers and influencers on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are leading the conversations around the rights and wrongs of grooming. Mintel recently reported that around 22 per cent of male consumers, in the age group of 18 to 34, follow bloggers or social media personalities. Influencers’ short and long format videos on skincare regimens are among the most popular videos on the Internet today.
Parakram Rana, a luxury blogger, who regularly posts about brands like Ustraa, The Man Company and Bombay Shaving Company, says, “Until recently, beauty and grooming products were majorly focused on women. We now have a selection of beauty products exclusively for men.”
“I think men have become very conscious of their appearance, and the stigma surrounding well groomed men does not exist anymore,” says Riaan George, a grooming guru on Instagram and a luxury blogger. “It is perfectly okay for men to look after their hair and skin and get a pampering manicure.”
Men’s beauty trends abroad are catching up in India as well, thanks to well-travelled millennial men and the surge in disposable incomes. Saxena believes that the growth of health and fitness sectors have also contributed to men’s beauty market. “A notable number of start-ups and established players are investing and venturing into the section now.”
Though things were quite different not so long ago. In fact, the beauty industry for men in India was virtually non-existent about five to seven years ago. Krishna Gupta, Founder and Managing Director of Lloyd Luxuries, the business house that has the franchise of Truefitt and Hill in India says, “Back then, men were simply a by-product of the salon industry. Now, from a 10-years old to an 85-year-old, all walk in with their specific grooming needs. They understand the importance of beauty and upkeep. Hence, men are emerging as big spenders in the grooming segment, and the brands are noticing this.”
For instance, The White Door India has tied up with smart beauty-tech company HiMirror to bring augmented reality to skincare. The US based brand’s smart mirror captures the image of the face and records the accurate age of the skin and analyses dark spots and blemishes, red spots, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles for its Skin Index Synthesis Report, which the partner salons study carefully before suggesting a treatment to their male clients.
Gupta observes that although, facial laser and hair removal techniques are present in small pockets in India, makeup and cosmetics available in the international market are still to pick up pace here.