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

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…