For Men, Facial Skincare Is The Final Frontier

While men have become increasingly open to using many personal care products, bringing us words like mampering, brotox and chesticles, a new report from NPD Group says facial skincare is the category with the most potential for growth. 

While some 80% of men are already using grooming products (and let’s not even think about the 20% who aren’t) most like to think of themselves as low-maintenance minimalists, according to the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research group. Some 69% in the sample hair products, 54% shaving products, and 49% body care products.

But only 22% are already dabbling facial skincare. Of the remainder, about 42% say it’s because they think their skin is in pretty good shape, with an equal number saying they’re just not interested in facial care. And 17% say such products are for women.



“Women see problems in their skin, but most men don’t,” writes Karen Grant, NPD’s global beauty industry analyst, in the report. “From childhood, males are taught the importance of grooming their hair, but other than cleansing, not their face. For most men, facial care is not introduced until they are already adults, and often as a problem-solution type of product.” That means to break through, marketers must “reposition the category for men so it is less associated with problem solving, and to spark interest and engagement in making facial care a seamless integration that is oriented to their particular life stage.”

And like women with a skincare regimen, men who do follow a routine use at least a few products each day. Millennials are more likely to do so than older guys, and look for products that are both preventative and aesthetic. Older men who use such products are more apt to look for products they believe will both protect and reinvigorate their manly mugs.

There are big bucks at stake. Mintel reports that men in the U.S. spent some $4.1 billion on personal care products in 2014. Of course, most of that — 65% — went to purchase the very most basic items, including antiperspirants, deodorants, bar soap and shaving products. But hair and skincare purchases have been gaining, it says, with more than half of the men in its survey reporting concerns about aging or other skin problems.

The market is dominated by Unilever, with a 33% market share, thanks to such brands Dove Men + Care, Axe, Degree, and Suave for Men brands, and Procter & Gamble, with 29%, and such brands as Old Spice and Gillette.

Mintel’s research finds that part of men’s resistance is the way such products are typically sold. For example, 53% of those in its survey wish all personal care products could be in the same aisle, 47% want more coupons and discounts, and 39% would like more samples.

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