Over the past decade it has become more acceptable and expected of men to spend time grooming themselves. When in the past most men would baulk at the idea of spending the morning using facial cleansers and moisturisers, they are now catching up with women in both time and money spent on their appearance. We are well beyond the days of waking up 45 minutes before having to leave for work, putting on a creased plaid shirt with a cursory glance in the mirror and dashing out of the house leaving behind a half eaten bowl of soggy cornflakes. In fact according to a 2013 survey of British males, for first time purchases of mens’ beauty products exceeded that of womens’ with the average man spending £590 per year.
What is causing the huge growth in the men’s grooming industry?
There is no longer as much of a stigma around men appearing feminine by taking good care of their hygiene and looks. This has been given greater impetus by a movement towards being fit with a trip to the gym just as likely to be on a man’s schedule at the end the end of the day as a visit to the local for a few beers. A lot of the reason for the change in the standards for masculinity comes from the media accepting and portraying an achievable healthy lifestyle as fundamentally important for all men. Many celebrities are brought up as examples to show the change in the way society and the media uphold male standards, David Beckham often being used as the ultimate illustration of this. Gender roles have moved further and further away from the masculine/feminine dichotomy that used to be set in stone as the only course for men and women to take. You’re now just as likely as not to find moisturiser and exfoliator next to the ubiquitous razor and shaving foam sitting in the back of a man’s bathroom cupboard. This is by all means a fantastic change of mindset it is better for men to be able to look after themselves in the manner they see fit rather than one dictated by others and it has become clear that most men want to look and feel healthier.
As shown above while men may outspend women in purchases of beauty products when fashion is also taken in to account women still far outstrip men in spending. However, the market for male grooming products has risen to a massive 16 billion dollars, men are becoming more and more aware of their looks and well-being and this gap in spending is closing. With the rise of the internet it has become so much easier to access information about diet, exercise and daily routines that lead to an all round better life style. There’s no longer a need to pay an over priced subscription to a men’s health magazine that’s mostly filled with advertising and fluff articles. Information is so accessible that you can discover an entire exercise and diet regime tailored to you in under 10 minutes of googling. This rise in information has also made it clear to many men that they can look and be better by using various healthcare products that would have previously been seen as effeminate or unmasculine. Many companies have begun to notice this trend as well with L’oreal and Nivea two of the largest beauty companies in the world now funnelling huge amounts of money into the marketing for their men’s ranges of moisturisers and exfoliators. This has normalised the concept of men utilising these kind of products, in fact it has become far more common for women to list ‘well-groomed’ as one of the most important characteristics they look for in a partner. A recent tinder study (I know, perhaps not the best metric) has shown that women are 30% more likely to swipe right on an image of a clean-cut well-groomed man over one with a more rugged unkempt look. This clearly illustrates that is it neither unmanly or strange for men to take good care of themselves and that it is actually being encouraged by society a welcome step in the right direction.
Despite all of this as a man it can be quite difficult to know what the right things to do and the best products to buy are. How many many ways are there to groom a beard? probably the same amount as ways to skin a cat however there is only one best way. Should you buy a wax, a clay, a gel, a putty? There is a difference and depending on how you want you hair to look you need to pick the right product. Suit and Stubble aims to solve these problems by providing an unbiased view on men’s grooming through useful tutorials and in depth reviews of the innumerable brands and products on the market.