While the prevailing fashion for stubbled cheeks and beards of varying lengths has hit sales of men’s razors and blades and squashed growth of shaving preps, it has opened opportunities for a relatively new sector of the male grooming market – beard care products.

Today, facial hair is no longer regarded as a sign of poor grooming; it is another area to care for. In the UK, 59% of consumers think it looks unprofessional to have ungroomed facial hair in the workplace and 39% of men say that they feel under pressure to keep their facial hair neat and tidy. It’s a similar story in the US, where 35% of men who remove their facial hair say it’s expected that they should keep their facial hair neat and tidy.

39% of men say that they feel under pressure to keep their facial hair neat and tidy

This is where the latest beard products come in. They form an interesting bridge between haircare and skincare regimens, providing a multi-step programme to keep the beard hair in good nick. The new beard oils, for example, draw not only on men’s familiarity with pre-shave oils popularised by brands such as King of Shaves, but also on the new generation of face and hair oils that carry a complex fragrance as well as conditioning and anti-ageing properties.

 

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Tom Ford, for example, has introduced a trio of Conditioning Beard Oils designed to condition, soften and nourish the beard on a daily basis with almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils as well as
vitamin E. However, the oils are also positioned as part of a man’s fragrance wardrobe since they are scented with three of Ford’s Private Blend fragrances, Tobacco Vanille, Neroli Portofino and Oud Wood.

UK luxury barber brand Murdock, meanwhile, has created a three-step programme for beards based on a classic haircare regimen. Beard Shampoo is designed to clean and untangle the beard, Beard Conditioner contains hydrolysed wheat protein to moisturise the beard and skin underneath, and Beard Oil is said to smooth, soften and strengthen the beard with apricot, jojoba, sunflower and Moroccan argan oils. Here, the emphasis is on the taste rather than the fragrance since Murdock says beard products have a habit of getting inside the mouth, so they need to taste as pleasant as possible.

Men Rock, which adopts a similar position to Murdock but without the vintage feel, also has a three-step programme of Beard shampoo, balm and oil. The shampoo cleans away daily detritrus such as food, dead skin and styling residue, the Beard Balm is said to work like a leave-in conditioner, softening and moisturising the beard and underlying skin, while Soul Beard Oil comes in three scented and one unscented variants, working both as conditioners and fragrances.

Billy Jealousy is an intriguing brand from the US which keys into the current lumbersexual trend, where men signify their ruggedness with a luxuriant, but well-tended beard. Again, the brand is presenting a multi step regimen, led by a Beard Wash that claims to cleanse, soften and detangle beards to leave them silky-smooth, manageable and frizz-free. Shine is another key promise here, adding to marketing that could just as easily be used on a woman’s shampoo bottle.

The Beard Conditioner, meanwhile, takes tips from hair styling marketing, promising a “deliciously light hold for a natural look with just a smidgen of definition”. Yet, the website makes it clear that these products are for men’s men, sitting alongside tattoo care and butchly named facial care items.

Of course, some people will be sceptical that men will be willing to add these steps to their daily routine, and it’s true that 84% of US men say they like their grooming routine to be as simple as possible. However, it’s also true that 26% of men who have appearance concerns say they spent more time on shaving and/or hair removal in 2014 than they did in 2013 and 24% spent more time on their facial skin. Encouragingly for the industry, 22% spent more time on researching personal care products, while in Europe, 24% of Italian and 20% of UK men who groom are interested in hearing about new mens’s toiletries.

But there’s still room for one more step. The beauty and food & drink industries are increasingly intertwined these days, so how about this for a final grooming step? Beard Beer is made in the US by Rogue Ales, using a wild yeast discovered in its brewmaster’s beard. Naturally, an alcohol-free version would be better for the morning, but the standard beer might hit the spot nicely at the end of the day.

For more information see Mintel’s Men’s Personal Care – US, 2014 and Men’s and Women’s Shaving and Hair Removal – UK, 2014 reports.

 

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