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Keep it Manly

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Skin care for men is an emerging market -- just steer clear of descriptors like “makeup” or packaging that veers too close to the feminine side.

That’s the advice from a handful of companies that are wading into the men’s skin care arena. Success, they say, begins with a masculine moniker -- a la Jack Black, Estee Lauder’s Lab Series and Menaji’s Urban Camouflage -- and is displayed in packaging that resembles cigar boxes and evokes manly stuff such as motor oil cans or liquor bottles.

Their suggestions are worth heeding, according to research findings. Mintel identifies men’s grooming as one of the fastest-growing segments in the beauty business. Sales of men’s toiletries are expected to hit $3.2 billion by 2016, up from an estimated $2.6 billion this year. Meanwhile, NPD Group reports that 1 in 4 guys now use some kind of facial skin-care product, and -- a bonus for retailers who get it right -- male shoppers tend to be more brand-loyal than women.

Which retailers are capitalizing in the trend? Ulta recently rolled out in-store boutiques called the Men’s Shop; CVS Pharmacy now features Guy Aisles; Kiehl’s is building Shave Bars inside its stores; and both Nordstrom and Macy’s are devoting more shelf space to these products -- creating separate sections dedicated exclusively to men.

Macy’s San Francisco has gone a step further. Just a few weeks ago it opened a Men’s Grooming Zone with a barber, flat-screen TV, a compendium of sports pages and free Wi-Fi.