Men’s beauty products are no longer taboo

Simple shapes and colors easy to handle or gift

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Beauty Products
Ustraa Cedarwood Mooch & Beard Oil, packed in a monocarton for the product's protection and better representation, promotes a healthy beard that shines.

An industry research report has predicted that the men’s grooming industry would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% to touch Rs 9,340 crores (approximately US$ 1.2 billion) in 2024, from Rs 5,000 crores (roughly US$ 650 million) in 2018. And this offers an opportunity for the special packaging of these grooming products to attract the man who is conscious of how he looks.

The women’s cosmetics market is ancient, but increasingly the business of selling cosmetics to men has been thriving. Advertisements of beauty products are no longer exclusively aimed at women, with female models sending the message that the use of a particular product will transform any woman into the beauty she may aspire to be. Enter the metrosexual man. The male face and body are now being increasingly displayed in advertisements on the silver screen, in magazines, in newspapers, and even on street hoardings. Men no longer have to be shy about being conscious of their looks. They can dress, they can groom, and they can go on a diet to help transform themselves into becoming the attractive male of their dreams. The surge in male skincare product consumption tells the story. No longer is it taboo for him to visit a beauty parlor for a face massage or a pedicure.

Beauty Products
The 50ml bottle of The Man Company Black perfume comes in intriguing flask packaging.

Several brands have developed products specifically for men. Some of these brands are associated with sports like Nike and Adidas, others like Park Avenue, Gillette, and Old Spice already had male grooming products like shaving gels and creams. And old established brands like Nivea have jumped in specifically targeting men with distinctive packaging for them.

New brands catering to men’s needs – or rather their newly created needs – have also come up. Some of them have masculine-sounding names like Beardo, Ustraa, The Man Company, Bombay Shaving Company, NykaaMan, and Muuchstac. No longer are men restricting their needs to trimmers and shaving creams. Increasingly they are using body care, facial care, and intimate hygiene products. The shelves of shops in the malls are full of face washes and colognes, beard oil and deodorants, lotions, creams for body wash, and shampoos just for men. These products are also available at Flipkart and Amazon – all just a click away.

No frill packaging

Beauty Products
Harshit Dave, business development manager of Beardo, representing Beardo outlet at the Ahmedabad, Gujarat airport. Photo PSA

Brands are packaging these beauty products for men differently from how they pack or display products for women. The accent is on suggesting manliness. The packing boxes use dull colors – blue, dark blue, black, grey, and white – as opposed to pink, red, purple, or sunshine yellow for women’s products. The shapes are also streamlined, clean, and not fussy. And it’s important that opening the package is a simple exercise. Logos or graphics give information on how to use the product. These design choices aim to attract male customers whilst reducing their resistance to cosmetics as a woman thing.

Beauty Products
The shaving kit from Bombay Shaving Company contains a pre-shave scrub, shaving cream, aftershave balm, charcoal soap, a towel, and a travel pack.

Packaging is crucial in luring a man to buy a product for he is less likely than a woman to do comparison shopping. What connects with men differs significantly from what inspires a woman. Not only are the colors used different but maybe even the font used on the packaging. Products of Beardo, Ustraa, and Villain which dominate the men’s cosmetics market often come in glass bottles with neat simple lines – oval, square, or rectangular – very appealing to look at, easy to use, and companies ensure the product fits nicely into men’s larger hands. No clutter, please.

There is something for everyone, no matter what the budget is. From cheaper goods for the mass market to those that will exude luxury and appeal to the man with deeper pockets, making him feel special. 

Many brands offer a range of products that come neatly packed in an attractive box. A complete beauty salon. From face wash to skin serums, beard oil and derma roller, hair gel or shampoo, and other stuff neatly fitted into the box. Maybe even perfume or deodorant. These boxes – with differing prices attached depending on the number of products – also make for attractive gifts.

Beauty Products
Muuchstac’s range of beard and skin grooming kit.

Expensive gift boxes imitate the packaging of high-end items such as gold and diamond jewelry or trendy clothing. It can be a wooden box or even a leather box. Boxes that close easily with a magnet are preferred. Nothing clumsy or fussy. Sometimes there may be a transparent window on the box to let the customer see what he is buying. The product will not make it into men’s shopping baskets if the packaging does not appeal to them. Functionality, simplicity of use, and convenience while traveling are also essential factors. 

A giant leap forward has been taken in the last 20 years from the time when apart from the razor and shaving cream, and maybe occasionally a deodorant stick, most men did not spend a penny on any beauty product. 

Will the next decade or two see the men’s beauty product market outdo the one catering to women? At the searing rate it is growing, who can tell!

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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Correspondent-Delhi & NCR Girish has been working and editorially contributing to both Indian Printer and Publisher and Packaging South Asia since 2021, covering the western regions of India. He has extensively covered a variety of verticals in both the printing and packaging industries. Skilled in taking Interviews and Story Writeup, Communication, Writing, and Research. Strong education professional with a Master of Arts - MA (MASS COMM.) focused in Mass Communication/Media Studies from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

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