Mens Grooming: The New Frontier

While posh spas, salons, and the cosmetics aisle at the drugstore used to be the exclusive domain of women for decades, things are rapidly changing—and have been for the past few years.

It used to be that men had only a few cosmetic items and treatments available to them: Shaving products, cologne, and a limited selection of hair products designed to keep short cuts looking neat. Men who wished to improve their looks were considered “sissy”; barbershops offering custom shaves and haircuts (no women allowed, of course!) were the sole choices for any sort of pampering self-care.

How things have changed! Walk into a nail salon these days, and you’re just as likely to see a man (or men!), pants rolled up, with his feet in the pedicure basin as you are a woman. Peruse an upscale spa menu, and you’ll likely find a special treatment or package designed “just for men.” Drugstores to specialty cosmetics stores such as Sephora have entire sections dedicated to products designed especially for men’s skin, hair, and body improvement—all designed to appeal to the male sensibilities, with masculine packaging, colors, and fragrances.

mens pedicure

Furthermore, this trend was formerly referred to as “metrosexual,” referencing a man overly concerned with his appearance – in other words, not your average, all-American, rugged guy. Nowadays, men of all occupations, ages, walks of life, and personal style are realizing that looking one’s best is a lot easier with a bit of cosmetic assistance.

This trend—which forecasts to become a way of life—is reflected in the booming growth observed in the beauty business. Chicago-based research firm Mintel forecasts that sales of men’s toiletries will hit $3.2 billion by 2016, which is a full billion dollars up from just a decade ago.

Client at barber shopWhile retail has certainly been eager to jump on the bandwagon and meet the ever-growing demand for men’s grooming products, beauty professionals can also capitalize on this wave by learning to specialize in specific treatments that cater to men’s unique needs. Boutique salons designed specifically for men are popping up all over the country, and more “traditional” salons (including recognized names such as Kiehls and Bliss) are adding special men’s sections and treatments to their service menus.

It stands to reason that a beautician who knows his or her way around the “boys’ club” will have an attractive marketing edge when entering the professional world!

Ready For A Shave At The Barber's

Some services to consider when in training that will be invaluable for a future mens’ beautician/esthetician career:

  • The shave. A professional shave has become something of an art (indeed, a popular national chain offering luxury barber spa shaves is named “The Art of Shaving”!). Learning the techniques of a straight-razor shave—which can last up to an hour treatment and command spa-level prices–as well as how to trim facial hair and even give a full-head shave, is an invaluable skill.
  • Waxing. Men increasingly are utilizing waxers to remove unwanted hair in places such as their backs—and some men are even exploring “neatening up” in unexpected areas such as eyebrows and the bikini area.
  • Hair color. More and more men are interested in covering their gray hair, but in a natural way that doesn’t scream “fake” like the Grecian Formulas of the past. Some men wish to keep a bit of their gray, others want to camouflage it completely. Either way, it is a special color art service requiring practice.
  • Massage. “Sports massages” and other, deeper-pressure, forms of this treatment are in demand for athletes—and those who are just stressed out from the increasingly busy world we are all living in.

In general, men simply are realizing the benefits of self-care that women have been enjoying for centuries. If you’d like to help them on their journeys to looking their best – an undeniable advantage in any lifestyle—men’s grooming is sure to be both a rewarding and lucrative specialty to pursue.

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About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.