As people everywhere continue to self-isolate and stay home, trying to match up to the “new normal”, a sector that effectively molded itself into the situation is the male grooming space. Over the years, the definition of grooming has evolved and come to diverge at a common point with the central idea of “looking good” never taking a backseat.
For the longest time, the male grooming space was dominated by shaving creams and razors, up until the more recent trimmers made a foray into households. Add in a unisex shampoo and a deodorant — that about completed the idea of grooming for men. Of late though, this has considerably changed with more men looking for 360-degree solutions. Grooming, which was mostly an occasion-driven thought has come to seamlessly fit itself into lifestyle and basic needs — a trend that started long before the pandemic came into the picture.
What drives the need for man to groom himself? The aspiration to look good, presentable, and make the most of the confidence that comes with the tag. There’s also a matter of following the trend (sported by icons and celebrities alike), instant gratification on social media and increased exposure to global fashion and lifestyle revolutions. What self-isolation and staying home catalyzed was the need for personal grooming products.
The shift that came with staying home
With business establishments like salons and even gyms shut down for prolonged periods across the country, the need for self-grooming has only increased. Earlier looking good was related to going out for a cause or attending an event — which now has come to be synonymous with attending work video meetings, stepping out for a quick grocery run or even going for that occasional jog.
And this is where male grooming trends have been diversely affected. People who’d earlier go to the salon for a quick haircut or a shave are now looking for user-friendly trimmers and shaving kits to make-do from home. Another trend that has come to stay is how more men are ditching the clean-cut shaven look and are going for beards. Which of course has opened the market for beard maintenance products; only now people are looking at maintaining their beards themselves instead of seeking expert assistance. Natural, easy-to-execute, and simple skincare and grooming rituals are making their way up the lifestyle ladder.
The easy availability of brands—high-end to moderate, the tech-savvy urban population, and the operation of e-commerce channels even during phases of lock-down only made the shift smoother. Men these days are less ignorant and more discerning when it comes to knowing what they want, and they are not worried about taking their chances. For them, even if a home-grooming experiment goes wrong, there is always something to fix it. It is easier to now talk serums with shampoos and link exfoliation with moisturization- attribute it to increased exposure to the digital media, a thirst for being up-to-date, and a state of being perpetually aware.
Where do we stand now?
Amidst all of this and the uncertainty of being indoors for who knows how long, the whole male grooming space began to shift to head-to-toe offerings, customized products, and in fact even creating newer segments. A beard oil has come to be as relevant as a face wash; facemasks are being categorized to suit every need and customers are actually looking to switch to skin and environment-friendly options that fit into their new stay-home/stay-healthy lifestyle. A rapidly expanding avenue, there’s one thing that remains to see—if these trends are in for the long run or would there be a fragmented shift among consumers post-pandemic.