Men are significantly less engaged with skincare than women. This presents brands with a wealth of opportunities to cater more specifically to them, providing them with education and information, and ultimately increasing product usage.
Men’s favorite brands have been slow to offer masks
In the US, men’s adoption of cutting edge personal care products is hindered by two key traits: they have a functional approach to skincare and are habitual shoppers.
Although younger men are more experimental skincare shoppers, they still lag behind women as early adopters of emerging innovations. This is especially true for K-beauty, the growing phenomenon of traditional Korean skincare products. At the heart of K-beauty skincare is the sheet mask, the serum-saturated fabric that enhances the penetration of formula into the skin, which many leading Western men’s skincare brands have been slow to offer.
As more brands tap into the sheet mask trend, sampling can become an effective way to reach men. Indeed, Mintel research highlights that 12% of male skincare users in France began using facial skincare products because they received a sample, rising to 15% of German and Spanish consumers and peaking at 20% of Italian men.
[row][one_half]Good Bye Keana Men’s Mask is designed for men with prominent pores. The formula, enriched with hyaluronic acid, collagen, loofah extract and chamomile extract, is claimed to replenish moisture, smooth skin and tighten pores in five minutes.
[/one_half][one_half]Shi Yi Jia Men Pore Refining Mask is said to draw out deep-seated debris to clean, purify and refine pores for a refreshed complexion, leaving skin renewed.
Few sheet masks are designed for men’s skin
There is reason to believe that with the right execution more men will try masks. In Europe’s largest markets, more than one in five men use masks or facial peels, suggesting a growing recognition of the benefits of these treatments. Yet many of them use either unisex or female-positioned masks. Male masks would bring more men into the fold.
Ingredients like clay and charcoal are well known for absorbing excess oil and sebum – two features that are more likely to plague male skin – yet few sheet mask brands have innovated around ingredients more relevant to men’s skin.
One brand that is banking on men coming around to masks is FaceTory, which sells subscription-based sheet masks. In April, FaceTory launched a limited edition men’s box with ingredients better suited for men’s skin.
[row][one_half]Gatsby Skin Charge Mask is designed for rough-prone men’s skin to soften, brighten and hydrate. Featuring a fresh floral scent, the sheet mask is claimed to quickly replenish rich moisture and provide intensive treatment.
[/one_half][one_half]DTRT Hero Likes Black Men’s Mask is formulated with bamboo charcoal and Moroccan lava clay to help minimise and purify big pores, vitalise fatigued skin, clean out dirt from pores, and care for excess of sebum and oiliness.
Make the usage experience more male
Besides promoting more male-specific benefits, brands have an opportunity to make the mask usage experience more appealing to men. This can be achieved through design: women’s masks increasingly sport floral designs and animal faces, but design has yet to cross the gender divide.
Many men have daily exposure to protective masks used in sports or work. Hockey masks, for example, have long used design to give the wearer a dramatic persona. Men’s sheet masks could do the same.
Finally, numerous male celebrities are shown sporting sheet mask-clad faces on major social media sites, while there is also a smattering of video blogs (perhaps at the behest of skincare brands) telling men that using sheet masks does not compromise their manhood. If brands designed masks for men, these efforts would be less necessary.
Jamie Rosenberg is a global analyst at Mintel, where he explores trends and new business opportunities across household, beauty and personal care categories. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a competitive intelligence analyst and consultant. Prior to Joining Mintel, Jamie spent 11 years with Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where he led intelligence projects supporting new product launches, corporate strategy and emerging market growth. Jamie also worked for Teltech (Now ORC International) where his role as a market opportunity consultant honed his ability to spot shifts in market trends, while exposing him to numerous businesses across the healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries.