Modern men are moving beyond protein powder to supplements geared toward hair, skin and nails.
The evolution is part of a broadening self-care adoption among men, and brands are clamoring to make products that better cater to them. Men’s skin care brand Disco, grooming line Scotch Porter, Ritual and Asystem are among the businesses specifically tailoring their supplement offerings to men’s needs.
They are addressing a growing market.
Research from First and First Consulting found that 9.8 million men in the U.S. said they take supplements for their skin, hair and nails, a 29 percent year-over-year increase. Men aged 25 to 44 make up 47 percent of the market, but the 16 to 24-year-old segment increased 164 percent in the past year. In addition, there has been a 63 percent increase in Hispanic men taking skin, hair and nail supplements, versus an 18 percent increase in non-Hispanic men.
Over the past year, the number of men that use these products that have seen a doctor for a skin condition decreased by more than two-thirds, and one in three say that they find out about wellness products via social media, according to First and First Consulting.
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In March, popular premium men’s skin care brand Disco launched its first ingestible, the Fountain of Youth Skin Supplement, meant to reduce blemishes and wrinkles.
Grooming brand Scotch Porter launched its first ingestible in 2021, the Superfood Supplement for beard, hair, skin and immune support; Ritual, the online multivitamin company founded in 2016 launched men’s multivitamins in 2020; and Asystem launched in 2019 with skin care and its Superhuman supplements to boost immunity, energy and focus. It later launched stress relief and sleep gummies and in March, launched gummies for the libido.
These new products add to a growing segment that already included players like Hims, the publicly traded American telehealth company that launched with topical and oral solutions to combat hair loss; Roman, the men’s health service treating erectile dysfunction; and Keeps and Nutrafol, which also make products for hair loss.
Historically, men dabbled in supplements and vitamins for health and cosmetic reasons, including deficiencies rectified by Centrum multivitamins, or body building with powders, shakes and supplements available at GNC — but not for skin care. The new crop of products targets specific needs contributing to one’s overall wellness from the inside out.
Among the brands that offer supplements, Disco leads the “share of voice” at 36 percent followed by The Grey at 31 percent and Hims at 17 percent, also according to First and First Consulting. Brands Murad, Asystem and Scotch Porter were also listed, as well as Lumin which doesn’t offer supplements.
Jeremy Triefenbach of Stage 1 Financial, a venture fund, said he sees brands taking the leap into ingestibles due to an opportunity in the market for men seeking more wellness options, but that it could also be a cash grab for businesses looking to add to their bottom line. He believes that brands are better suited focusing on one product or one category than to try their hand at several things and lose sight of their purpose, he said.
“At the core, taking something orally is a completely different level of trust you have to have than putting something on topically,” said Andrew Dudum, founder and chief executive officer of Hims & Hers.
Dudum founded his company at a time when the biggest skin care and grooming brands for men were affordable and high-quality razors like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, or Kiehl’s, and the most popular options for hair restoration were topicals like Rogaine or procedures like Bosley. Hims is one of few brands to educate men on options for their hair needs, remove stigmas around the conversation and market to younger men.
“When you’re younger and starting to lose, it’s a scary experience,” he said.
Dudum said that 30 percent of men in their early to mid-twenties begin to see hair loss compared to nearly half of men in their forties, but the products to reverse or stop hair loss are targeted to men “much later in life who were already established,” he said.
“Supplements are something that we see very commonly for hair loss and for a condition that is stigmatized,” said Aimee Paik, MD, senior vice president of dermatology at Hims & Hers. “You don’t need to see a provider for it and is a way to ease into treatment for many men.”
Paik believes that education and embarrassment are big parts of why men are hesitant to take ingestibles for their hair loss needs. She added that supplements are an easy way in but prescription medicine will be more effective. Two medications that are used for hair restoration are minoxidil, which is used in Rogaine, and is 30 to 40 percent effective according to Paik, and finasteride, a 70 to 80 percent effective option is offered by Hims, Roman and Keeps. Hims also offers a compounded finasteride and minoxidil option.
“There isn’t really hard data for over-the-counter supplements because you don’t need hardcore data for efficacy,” she said.
When it comes to skin care, Disco founder Ben Smith said he started the brand because of his own personal skin issues, which were helped by his diet and supplement routine.
Disco’s new Fountain of Youth Skin Supplements have ingredients like vitamins B6, pantothenic acid and niacinamide for skin sensitivity and cell turnover, antioxidants selenium and quercetin for cell rejuvenation, and minerals zinc and copper to reduce sebum production and support immune function. The brand offers its new product under subscription-only and recommends buyers take the supplements twice daily and consistently for 60 days to see the best results.
“There has been a massive movement toward the internal side of skin care,” Smith said. “Men’s grooming and skin care brands deal with topicals but we thought how can we come up with a product that helps from within? Having a healthy gut means your skin should be in a healthy place, too.”
Scotch Porter founder Calvin Quallis looked to ingestibles for his brand drawing inspiration from his morning routine. He would make a daily shake every morning with ingredients found in the brands Superfood supplements. “You feel good when you’re drinking the shake so why not offer it in a supplement form?” Quallis said.
The supplements had been in development for over a year before launch. “It definitely takes a bit more time to launch a supplement. There are two to three steps more when you’re talking about ingestible especially around safety,” he said.
He added that the brand has always been focused on internal and external wellness like diet and exercise and have had conversations on these topics. “Men are looking from a more holistic view than they have in the past,” he added.
Asystem cofounders Josh LeVine and Oli Walsh set out to be “the most modern supplement brand,” according to Walsh.
The duo developed the Daily Superhuman supplement and skin care system that they considered to be a supplement, as well as their Complete Calm system comprised of gummies for stress and sleep. Walsh said the gummies are the brand’s bestseller. “We just launched our libido gummies, but the response has been incredibly strong,” he added.
Walsh said developing ingestibles is comparable to developing topicals. “There are similarities in the process, but there are nuances depending on the product,” he said. “The truth of the matter is it’s not overly common. It’s becoming more so and it’s because more and more brands are realizing that it’s a 360 approach to wellness and the one that makes the most impact. If you want to achieve your goals you have to take a 360 approach.”
“I actually think it’s an easier jump for men,” Walsh said. “When you think about it, men have always drunk protein and recovery shakes. Supplements are more ingrained in the psyche for optimization. Skin care has been seen as more frivolous, but supplements have a more mass adoption in the male demographic.”
Dudum believes there is more to come for this space as well. “It’s still in its earliest days,” he said. “When I talk to men and buddies of mine they’re still getting confident about areas in health and wellness, suffering from anxiety or depression, finally considering therapy. The average man is still in the process of prioritizing health and wellness. We still have five to 10 years on our side to educate men and say, ‘here’s a set of options made in collaboration with doctors.’
“We grew our members by 100 percent last year,” Dudum said. “We’re in the earliest innings.”
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