By  on June 15, 2007

What started out boiling has tempered down to a simmer in the much-heralded world of men’s grooming. According to The NPD Group, the market hit its peak in 2005 and has been languishing ever since, due to department store consolidation and lack of consumer education.

Shaving treatment, a staple category even for men who still can’t figure out what an exfoliator does, actually declined last year, causing retailers and market experts to take a hard look at the sector.

But just because the metrosexual concept has been declared dead doesn’t mean the grooming category is too, as NPD senior beauty industry analyst Karen Grant reminds us. “The men’s market is still in its infancy; it’s where women’s was 10 or 20 years ago,” she says.

To her point, there have been some signs of life. Even as shaving cream sales slipped, sales of moisturizers, cleansers and antiaging products all inched up last year. Says Grant, “It’s all about getting [men] to understand that this is something conducive to how they identify themselves, so it comes across as very masculine.” Hope on the horizon comes in the form of new launches from established brands.

Lancôme is introducing its antiaging men’s line this month with manly-man British actor Clive Owen, as its face. Iconic hardware brand Ace is launching a range of implements aimed at “manscaping” everything from wayward body hairs to toenails. Even the green market is anteing up, with natural brand Burt’s Bees introducing man- and Earth-friendly body and shave products this October.

But the sector’s saving grace may be the “other hair” category. (Read: thinning-hair treatments.) “Hair overall is a small component of the men’s market,” says Grant, “But it is where we are seeing the most excitement or at least activity. It’s a teeny- tiny category, but it’s growing by triple digits.”

This puts brands like Aveda at an advantage as it launches a scalp-focused hair care line this fall, dubbed Men Pure-formance. Says Heidi Norman, executive director of marketing for the brand, “Men’s scalps differ biologically from women’s. They’re thicker, more sensitive and have more oil, which can lead to dryness and flaking. This is a new platform and identity for men and for Aveda.”

The retail landscape is also changing as men discover alternative shopping channels. Avon saw great success with its Derek Jeter Driven fragrance, so much so that the company expanded it into a full line of skin care products.

Their direct-sell competitor, Mary Kay, will counter with the introduction of MK Men, a four-item grooming and shaving line.

Finally, online destinations like are enticing the XY set. “We’re seeing a lot more democratization of the marketplace,” Grant observes. “There’s a lot more options out there and [men] are willing to try them out.”

What Men Want
Hollywood stars aren’t the only folks with fat beauty contracts these days. A number of top athletes, who endorse everything from fragrance to aftershave, talk candidly about being in the game. —Compiled by Michelle Edgar

Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR WINSTON Cup champion
Halston Z-14 / Elizabeth Arden

Gordon has represented this fragrance for nearly three years. There’s a cologne, shower gel, deodorant, aftershave and aftershave balm.

What is your grooming routine?
I kept it simple, but being exposed to this industry has definitely opened my eyes.
What can’t you live without?
While I like to go unshaven, a close shave and a great fragrance are necessities when doing a media appearance.
What do men look for?
I look for key items that do it all.
Do you have any nicknames?
I’m called “Four Time” for the number of championships I’ve won. Hopefully, that nickname will change this year.
What’s the craziest style you’ve tried?
I grew a bad mustache as a teenager. I also got a buzz cut once.

Jimmie Johnson, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion
Daytona 500 / Arden

Since last fall, Johnson has been the spokesman for the Daytona 500 collection—a cologne, aftershave, shower gel and aftershave balm.

What was your grooming routine?
Shower, shave and out the door.
What is your grooming routine now?
My routine hasn’t changed, except, of course, for a spray of Daytona 500.
What grooming products can’t you live without?
I would like to meet the guy who can live without a good-quality shaving kit. That is essential for me. It also helps to have great cologne.
What do men look for?
Everyone is always in a rush, so most of us are looking for fast and effective products.

Tom Brady, three-time Super Bowl champion
Stetson / Coty Beauty

Coty Beauty recruited the New England Patriots’ star quarterback in April. He will represent the brand for the next two and a half years.

What is your grooming routine?
I’m pretty low-maintenance. But since it gets cold in the winter, I have to use lotion from time to time.
What can’t you live without?
My essentials for the road are a good shampoo, a razor and deodorant.
What were your teammates’ reactions to your beauty deal?
They don’t really pay much attention to it. We have a great group of guys. As long as I don’t refer to it as “my beauty deal,” I should be in good shape.
What do men look for?
It varies by individual taste. But when you take care of yourself, you gain confidence—and that’s what guys are looking for.

Laird Hamilton, big-wave surfer and originator of tow-in surfing
Davidoff Cool Water / Coty

Coty signed the maverick American surfer last spring as spokesperson for its Davidoff Cool Water fragrance. His wife, health and exercise guru Gabrielle Reece, is the spokeswoman for Davidoff Cool Water Wave Woman.

What is your grooming routine?
I am a casual guy and I don’t use a lot of products.
What can’t you live without?
The one thing I use is Eminence Organic Sunscreen Defense SPF 30, which Gabby convinced me to try.
What were your friends’ reactions to your beauty deal?
I have heard a few jokes, but I believe in the product, so I do not take it personally.

Derek Jeter, four-time World Series champion
Driven / Avon

Avon signed on the Yankees’ shortstop captain last July to launch the men’s scent. As part of a multiyear deal, Jeter is involved in product development. Last month, the Driven franchise expanded into skin care.

What is your grooming routine?
In the past, I pretty much woke up, shaved, put on deodorant and ran out. Now, moisturizer with SPF is important. I’m getting older.
What can’t you live without?
My favorite is the shaving gel. The Yankees have strict grooming rules.
What were your teammates’ reactions to your beauty deal?
In big groups, they joke about it. But one-on-one, they ask for samples. So I give it to them—for a small fee.
What do men look for?
Real results. But they don’t want to sit in front of the mirror for more than 10 minutes.

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