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Musings on Men’s Grooming

Young men in Europe and the U.S. are less shy than their grandfathers about stepping up to the skin-care counter.

Young men in Europe and the U.S. are less shy than their grandfathers about stepping up to the skin-care counter, and once they’re hooked on a fragrance, they’ll keep buying the same one for years.

These are some of the insights Joanne Crewes, president of Procter & Gamble Co.’s Prestige division, and Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, global president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s Aramis & Designer Fragrances division, shared with WWD. Other observations include:

Product Efficiency

Whereas women can be relentless in trying out skin-care creams and lotions, “for a man, it has to work, and it has to work fast, today,” said Gabai-Pinsky. “It has to give immediate results.…Men are not going to use seven products in a day.”

“Men tend to approach the beauty and grooming category with a much more functional mind-set compared to women,” said Crewes. “We have done research that shows that the number-one attribute a brand can have as a driver of purchase is to be perceived as ‘a brand I can trust.’”

Age


For fine fragrances, “the point of market entry for men, especially in the Western world, tends to be about two to three years later than that of women, on average around 17 or 18,” Crewes noted. “That said, regular use of prestige fragrances intensifies around age 25 to 30 as financial independence begins, more disposable income is earned and there is an increased focus on attracting members of the opposite sex. Fragrance usage habits change as men reach their mid-40s and early 50s, when career and life relationships are much more stable.”

Advertising

“Men are attracted to the story behind the brand,” said Gabai-Pinsky. “From an advertising point of view, it’s really this aspirational quality that matters. Men measure themselves through their achievements, and through the idea of becoming a greater man than you are today.”

“Men look for advertising that allows for ‘role identification,’ essentially the ability to look at a TV ad or piece of print and say, ‘I want to be like that,’ or ‘I can see myself in the role of this person,’” said Crewes. “They also want to deal in reality. Men are much less interested in imaginative stories in the beauty category.”

The Generation Gap

“The younger you are, the more prone you are to trying skin products. You don’t have any reservations,” said Gabai-Pinsky. Still, she noted, while the male beauty market is rapidly growing, it is still largely dedicated to shaving-related products. To lure more men into the fold, Lauder is introducing a new product this spring that combines shaving care and skin treatment.

“The changing dynamics in lifestyle and life stage have opened men up to the idea of taking better care of their skin,” observed Crewes. “That said, most men in the Western world tend to prefer a simple skin-care regimen. A cleanser and a moisturizer are usually where most men start. After that, you will find a few of the more ‘skin involved’ men purchase items like toner or serum, especially for the eyes.”