Let’s hear it for the boys

Gone are the days when a gentleman taking too long getting ready would prompt some intense speculation (“What’s he doing in there?”) and instead, even those who would formerly balk at a bottle of serum are starting to dip their first, tentative toes in the beauty world’s water (a bit like Narcissus – without the unfortunate aftermath). We live in an age that’s increasingly ‘image aware’ and a time that is seeing a welcome decline in ‘traditional’, cis -gendered stereotypes, meaning that men who were formerly scared to be seen in the ‘cosmetic section’ are now adding steps to their grooming routines.

One of the fastest-growing sectors of the beauty industry this year, demand for plain-speaking (and good-looking) men’s grooming products is soaring – including everything from manscaping-friendly men’s razors to undetectable male make up – with brands proving only too eager to rise to the challenge.

With more men than ever demanding their share of the valuable ‘cabinet estate’ in the bathroom, as well as a growing awareness surrounding ingredients, stylish aesthetics and ethical standards, we’ve witnessed an increase in brand’s branching out into skin, hair and body care aimed at discerning menfolk – not to mention a new breed of brand that’s abandoning ideas of gender entirely.

From blue-hued {Baxter of California} to {Bad Norwegian} (with its tongue-in-cheek ‘Not for Women’ warning), this crop of male-targeted ranges is perfect for those who’re too scared to admit to a three-step regime but are secretly loving that glow-giving treatment they found by the sink (yep… we know what you’re up to).

And, thanks to the seemingly never-ending vogue for facial hair, the barbering sector expanded by 11% during 2019, which has prompted the welcome demise of those dubious, noxiously scented and does-it-all products that threatened to prompt a stampede of admirers.

We suggest introducing yourself – or your partner, dad, brother or flatmate – to Baxter of California’s {Daily Fortifying Shampoo} and Conditioner and their brand bestseller, the {Clay Pomade} for chic and sophisticated branding as well as intoxicating aromas and clever formulas.

But it doesn’t stop there, sales of men-specific skin care lines also increased by 16.5% in the last 12 months, thanks in no small part to issues arising from ingrown hairs, shaving rashes and dry skin conditions that drove formulators to meet the demands of a newly receptive male audience. Carefully blended to nourish and calm skin that’s constantly stressed-out and itchy, bathroom fixtures like {Aesop} and {Malin + Goetz} boast a buffet of natural, skin-loving extracts to reassure sensitised skin types.

The perfect excuse to discover an effective toner (say hello to Aesop’s {In Two Minds Facial Toner}) or a does-what-it-says and much, much more cleanser (introducing Bad Norwegian’s, aptly-named {Wash Face}), our ever-expanding collection of inclusive products is making the beauty realm far less intimidating – encouraging curious men to discover the joys of a skin care routine and rebel against outmoded stigmas surrounding their self-care. Welcome to the grooming revolution!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...