The idea of beauty has transformed in recent years as the lines between beauty, health and wellness blur. Consumers’ have pivoted away from covering up flaws to taking a more holistic approach with ingredients like collagen and probiotics for the skin microbiome.
“Beauty is going through an inclusivity movement (much like the supplement industry) and I believe there's a huge opportunity for supplement brands to embrace all skin types and genders within their marketing strategy,” said Joshua Schall, a functional CPG strategist and president of J. Schall Consulting. “It shouldn't be a radical notion that men might want to look their best selves.”
Case in point: Seven years ago, Darren Rude, CEO of Nutrawise, struck up a conversation about collagen with a sushi chef, who had mentioned to Rude that his wife buys him collagen supplements.
“So then all the other sushi guys were like, ‘oh you're looking beautiful,’ and ‘you know that’s a woman's product, right?’—And so I said that's it right there. I said that's it. I said it over and over again. We got to have a men’s collagen so men feel like it's their product and so we developed it,” said Rude.
So in 2016 Rude debuted Youtheory’s Collagen for Men. He expected sales for the regular collagen to go down, but to his surprise, both products are standing up on their own.
“We thought we'd have like a 20% decline in our regular collagen and we haven’t at all, so we know the men are grabbing it as well,” said Rude. “It’s a win-win.”
The market is (finally) ready
Rude explained that while the product has been around five years, retailers weren’t exactly jumping at the opportunity to put the men’s collagen on their shelves.
“A lot of the retailers for the past few years kept saying the market is not ready yet. And in the last year, they're like, ‘yes, the market’s ready, we want to take on this product. So you know, the product has been around for a while. It just didn't get placement until this last year.”
Lynn Taylor, co-founder of Him + Her Beauty said this past year has really accelerated the trend, especially for younger generations.
“Because we've become such a visual Zoom kind of culture, where everybody's on Instagram and whatnot, I think people, especially men, are much more aware of their visual identity than ever before,” said Taylor, who is the developing stage of beauty products for men.
Taylor said that we’re also seeing a convergence of masculine and feminine ideals, a trend that is translating into health and wellness.
“There’s always been a bit of a crossover in the creative world. But now I think it's more mainstream because a lot of the younger generation, their fashion is feeling a lot more free and more androgynous. I see that trend in men really going into skincare—healthy skin, glowy skin health, as opposed to covering up flaws,” said Taylor. “Men are not so shy about wanting to look their best. It's definitely moving a little bit that way with the younger demographic than with the older demographic. The younger demographic I can definitely see the lines are blurring a lot. Women are wearing less makeup and maybe men are wearing more. It's more of an even playing field, but I do think primarily there's a real focus on health and wellness.”
Breaking the barrier
While consumer and retailer attitudes are shifting, Schall pointed out that men still have a very limited selection.
“One quick shopping trip to any large retailer will show a huge disparity between the product availability within the female beauty industry and its male counterpart. This means almost an entire market of the male population has been overlooked historically by CPG brand marketers. That being said, enormous amounts of longstanding societal conditioning stands in the way of men's beauty products,” noted Schall. “Despite skin being skin, many men still are stigmatized when shopping for traditional beauty products. While that's slowly changing, the nutricosmetics trend provides men a more comfortable and easy way to look good without a lot of fuss.”
“It's a real new arena to be explored,” said Taylor. “I think there's a major opportunity for education and content for products. And I think if men have more access to great products that provide results, that's going to be an area that is going to boom over the next 5 to 10 years.”
Please join NutraIngredients-USA and Cosmetics Design for a joint webinar on July 22nd that brings in beauty-from-within experts to weigh in on the science and trends shaping the category. You can register for the free event here.