Cutting-edge ingredients, hassle-free formats and 'clean' options are driving the men's grooming segment.
Men’s Grooming Gets a Boost
Innovation is also driving the men’s grooming category. Dara Busch, CEO of New York-based 5WPR, believes that the category, transformed by the rise of male influencers on social media who are drawing attention to the importance of good grooming, has pivoted from “practical to aspirational.” Notes Busch, “It’s opened the doors to a whole new consumer base who now feel comfortable and confident looking for more than bar soap.”
She adds: “Most of the innovation we are seeing is in the form of upgrades to core shaving, moisturizers and deodorant products. Cutting-edge ingredients in hassle-free formats and ‘clean’ options have proven successful for our brands.”
In response to consumer feedback, Pacific Shaving Co. recently introduced a three-step fragrance-free skin care routine, Uppercut Deluxe is launching a range of targeted pre-styling products that address several hair care concerns, including oiliness and dandruff, and Monat recently introduced a Matte Styling Clay specifically designed to create thicker-looking, textured definition. “All of these launches are targeted and specific, speaking directly to the newly invested interest stemming from men consumers,” adds Busch.
Further, brands once viewed as female-positioned are finding success with male consumers. Londonderry, N.H.-based SmoothSkin, the at-home hair removal brand, and self-tanning brand St. Moriz, based in the United Kingdom, are targeting men with new products, to name just two.
The men’s hair color category, which saw dollar sales spike 10% over the 52-week period ending June 12, according to IRI data, continues to flourish as new products enter the market. This summer, Clichy, France-based L’Oréal introduced L’Oréal Paris Men Expert One-Twist Hair Color, the brand’s first permanent hair color technology created specifically for men. The Colorsmith brand of men’s custom home hair color, based in El Segundo, Calif., recently expanded into hair care with three new products: Protect Shampoo, Protect Conditioner and Anti-Yellow Shampoo.
IRI’s Driggs notes that the pandemic helped fuel sales of products like hair clippers, as men were forced to delay trips to the salon or barber and turned to at-home tools. Many were happy with the results. “Sales of Wahl clippers were through the roof,” she observes.
In fact, products that allow consumers to have what Driggs calls “a professional experience with a product they can use at home,” are stoking growth across the oral care category as well.
Pro Performance Drives Oral Care
Driggs notes that in the oral category, “Crest White Strips were a game changer for the category” that allowed consumers access to professional-quality whitening products at home. It’s been a boon to retailers. “Whitening products tend to be higher-priced, and people are willing to pay for it,” she says.
Products continue to make at-home whitening easier and more convenient. Category leader Crest, a brand of Procter & Gamble, recently expanded its lineup of leave-on teeth-whitening treatments with Crest Whitening Emulsions + Overnight Freshness, taking innovation one step further with the added convenience of before-bed application.
One of the most innovative companies in the category is Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Quip, whose Smart portfolio products link to an app that tracks consumers’ brushing routines and reminds them when to brush. The app also offers tips on how to improve effectiveness and keeps users motivated and engaged by allowing them to earn points for two-minute twice-daily brushing sessions. These points can be redeemed for products.
Introduced in 2020, Quip has since added an eco-friendly Refillable Floss Pick and a Children’s Smartbrush. Additionally, the brand recently acquired Toothpic, a leading telehealth company offering also based in Brooklyn, in a move to create a “360-degree suite of personal and professional oral care products and services.”
More typical line extensions also provide novelty in the oral care section. St. Louis-based SmartMouth has debuted a Mouth Sore Oral Rinse that prevents bad breath and soothes oral pain, while Davids Natural Toothpaste recently launched a Kids + Adults premium toothpaste to appeal to those who can’t tolerate the taste or strength of mint, which is associated with many adult toothpastes.
“New flavors are important for the oral care category, because it creates newness that consumers crave and helps take some of the mundane out of brushing our teeth,” asserts Eric Buss, CEO of Temecula, Calif.-based Davids Natural. “Consumer feedback from our own customers told us that many adults cannot use mint-related products.”
According to Driggs, more innovation is on the horizon in HBW. “Unilever has identified a new hand care segment that addresses cleaning and nurturing at the same time,” she says. The Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based company’s Dove brand will likely add products with these claims to the segment. As Driggs observes, “Since hand sanitizers and frequent washing can do a number on your hands, and people still do wash their hands a lot, there’s potential there.”