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Published September 17, 2017
Published September 17, 2017

I have to agree with Imogen Matthews that the male grooming market seems to have been on the cusp of a revolution for decades. Every few years there’s a new moniker to describe the enlightened men and their grooming habits that are going to provide the breakthrough for the men’s category. Since the early 1990s there’s been New Man, Metrosexuals, Spornosexual, Lumbersexual, and Hipsters, who were all supposed to be the tipping point for the category because of their evolved grooming habits. Regardless of the change in awareness and attitudes around appearance, in reality, men’s grooming habits haven’t changed much.

It is this premise that inspired Imogen Matthews and Louise Barfield, head of marketing at Two by Two, to explore what’s really going on with the men’s category. If the concept of male beauty is the last bastion for brands in the industry, what’s needed to bring male consumers into this category? They explored three key areas: 1) market context, 2) emerging behaviors and groups, and 3) new opportunities and propositions. The result is a report launched this summer—Male Grooming: Beauty’s Final Frontier?


When buying grooming products designed for men, which do you feel is the most important to the male user?

  • 58% Looking and feeling clean and fresh
  • 27% Appearing well groomed and polished
  • 11% Feeling confident
  • 4% Hiding blemishes and problem areas

When considering skin care products beyond moisturizers where, in your opinion, do male consumers mostly do their research?

  • 35% With friends and family
  • 27% With their partner
  • 19% By reading online articles
  • 11% By browsing online etailers
  • 8% Via bloggers and YouTubers

In which categories do you see a shortage of products for men and the potential for further growth?

  • 54% Facial enhancement and cosmetics
  • 22% Skin care
  • 8% Hair care
  • 8% Cleansing

What type of occasion do you see as presenting an opportunity to invest in male grooming and cosmetics products?

  • 37% First or second date
  • 22% Wedding
  • 15% Job interview
  • 15% Public speaking

What products will become bathroom staples by 2020 for male consumers?

  • 39% Tinted moisturizer
  • 31% Concealer
  • 15% Facial self-tanner
  • 0% Brow gel


  1. Lose the gender label. Attitudes toward gender have changed and in reality there are few products that need to be targeted “for men,” so perhaps we need to embrace more product fluidity.
  2. Shake off the “for men” clichés—focus on product efficacy instead.
  3. Think with a niche mindset: think pursuits and purpose.
  4. Hustle the hassles: identify the grooming pain points of reluctant men . . . and solve them.
  5. Man up: Makeup—manscara and guyliner are hard to take seriously; create under-the-radar enhancement

Two by Two’s new report explores new behaviors and opportunities in male grooming—arguably the last bastion of the beauty care industry. The full report can be downloaded, or email Louise Barfield:


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