The global male grooming market has bloomed during the last decade or so, with products including moisturisers, colognes and facial scrubs having become increasingly popular amongst men during this time.
More specifically, this market had achieved a total value of $57.7 billion by the end of 2017, whilst it’s expected to grow further to $78.6 billion over the course of the next six years. This represents a CAGR of 5.3%, which is relatively impressive in a challenging economic climate.
But how exactly are male consumers spending their money in this space, and what are the essential grooming products that every man should own? Let’s take a look:
Cleansers and moisturisers often work best when they’re used together as part of a comprehensive skincare regime (we’ll have a little more on this below), but each serves their own unique purpose from the perspective of male grooming.
In simple terms, a cleanser takes the form of a facial wash, which provides a primary line of defence when safeguarding your skin.
More specifically, it works by providing a deep cleansing and removing accumulated debris from your face, from dead skin cells and secretions of excess oil to dirt and other pollutants that you encounter on a daily basis.
Of course, many men often eschew a facial cleanser in favour of simple soap, but this type of product typically includes potentially abrasive ingredients such as alcohol.
However, given that you should ideally use your chosen cleanser twice each day (morning and evening) and in conjunction with a moisturiser, you’ll need to be wary of using products that won’t over-strip or damage your skin.
Our Top Pick
- Natural Extracts
- Gently removes dirt & excess oils
- Notes of wood and citrus
- Sulphate, paraben and silicone free
MANTL’s face and scalp cleanser is a good choice in this respect, as it provides a multi-functional solution that’s PH-balanced and can remove dirt without damaging the underlying skin.
This is an especially good choice if you have dry or sensitive skin, as an abrasive product (like soap) may ultimately do more harm than good.
As we’ve already touched on, a moisturiser works best when combined with a cleanser, while this type of product should also be applied twice daily in the morning and evening.
Often formulated as emulsions of oil and water (along with other variable and often natural ingredients), moisturisers are mainly used to replenish hydration during the day, locking moisture into the skin while keeping dryness at bay.
Long-term use can also help to nourish and even treat damaged skin, maintaining a smooth and youthful look for longer in the process.
You can apply a moisturiser immediately after you’ve washed with a cleanser and towel-dried your face, although once again this is a step that many men avoid as part of their grooming regime.
Interestingly, one of the main reasons for this is that they may have oily or sensitive skin, and therefore believe that there isn’t a suitable moisturiser available to them on the consumer market.
However, the male grooming market has diversified considerably in recent times, in order to meet the growing demand from consumers. You can find a comprehensive list of our favourite moisturisers for all skin types here.
Make no mistake; there’s now a huge range of variable moisturisers available to customers, enabling men to select an option that suits their precise skin type.
Overall, a facial cleaner and a carefully selected moisturiser should be applied as part of a speedy and efficient grooming regime, ideally before you head out to work in the morning and just before you go to bed at night!
A Naturally Formulated Facial Scrub
Facial scrubs are different from cleansers, and it’s important to understand the distinction between these two products when creating your grooming regime.
In simple terms, scrubs provide a deeper and more aggressive clean than cleansers, as they actively remove dead skin cells in addition to clearing away accumulated dirt and oil.
By penetrating the facial pores and clearing away dead skin, scrubs also contribute to a fresher and more youthful aesthetic that’s free from dullness.
With this in mind, you should definitely use a facial scrub in addition to a cleanser as part of your grooming regime, although there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind if you’re to get the most out of the former.
Firstly, we’d recommend using a facial scrub sparingly in comparison to a cleanser. The reason for this is simple; as it will execute a far deeper clean than a typical cleanser and applying it every day could damage your skin over time.
In general terms, you should strive to use a facial scrub two or three times a week and ultimately tailor your usage to suit your precise skin type.
Secondly, you should also prioritise organic or naturally formulated face scrubs over alternative iterations of this product.
This is due to the controversial presence of microbeads in some facial scrubs, with these issues having emerged as a hot topic last year.
Microbeads are essentially small and colourful pellets (typically 1mm or less in size), which are commonly found in facial scrubs and similar products. They’re also considered to be a form of plastic that’s potentially harmful to the environment, partially because they cannot be dissolved in water.
Products with microbeads were officially banned in 2018, but as a discerning consumer, you should still target naturally formulated scrubs that are far friendlier to both your skin and the natural environment.
A Liquid Exfoliant
As facial scrubs can be damaging to the skin when used over time, you may want to seek a deep cleansing alternative that’s kinder to your skin.
This is where a liquid exfoliant comes into play, as this is naturally less abrasive than a typical face scrub and therefore far less likely to cause microtears and cumulative damage to your skin over an extended period of use.
Liquid exfoliants also tend to use active ingredients such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), which are capable of sweeping away dulling dead skin cells and leaving skin considerably smoother and more radiant over time.
BHAs are particularly effective, as they go deeper into the skin than traditional scrubs and create a more intense cleansing effect, without being as harsh or potentially damaging.
Specific examples of AHAs and BHAs include Glycolic acid and salicylic acid respectively, so keep your eyes peeled for these ingredients when comparing liquid exfoliants on the consumer market.
A Broad Spectrum SPF
It’s safe to say our favourite SPF has to be MANTL’s dual age defence and SPF moisturiser, with the latter component capable of providing a natural defence against long-term sun damage.
Our Top Pick
MANTL Invisible Daily SPF-30 Moisturiser
- Completely shine-free and transparent
- Paraben and synthetic dye free
- SPF-30 protection
Remember, the rays of the sun can cause prolonged damage and even cancer in instances of sustained exposure, even during windy, cloudy cooler days. In fact, 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds, so protecting your skin isn’t only necessary during the summer – you should be wearing an SPF all year round.
But why does SPF play an important role in your daily grooming regime?
In simple terms, it prevents the premature ageing of your skin and helps to maintain an even skin tone in the longer-term, creating subtle and understated improvements that can make a significant difference to your appearance as you grow older.
When shopping, we’d encourage you to buy a broad spectrum SPF, with providing protection against both harmful types of UV light (UVA and UVB).
The former’s rays prematurely age your skin, while the latter can have a burning effect and actively increases the risk of cancer developing.
This type of product offers more comprehensive protection against the potential damage caused by the sun, making it a fundamental part of any successful grooming and skincare regime (even in a country as gloomy as the UK!).
A High-Quality Razor
However often you shave (or whether you shave both your face and your scalp), it’s imperative that you invest in a high quality and durable razor.
If you wet shave your face and scalp regularly, you’ll also need to change your blades frequently in order to optimise performance and avoid those uncomfortable, follicle-wrenching cuts!
It’s also wise to consider investing in renowned products such as Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Silvertouch Power Razor. Equipped with so-called ‘flex ball technology’, this five-blade, battery-powered razor combines the best of both wet and electric shaving whilst also reducing the time and effort required to shave.
If you’re also balancing a carefully cultivated beard with a shaved scalp (which let’s face it is an increasingly popular look in the modern age), you may want to consider buying a multi-purpose tool with a precision trimmer.
Take the Braun 9-in-1 multi-grooming kit, for example, which combines a bare blade, edger and 13 variable-length beard combs with a precision tool for creating a stylish and well-groomed look.
This product can be used during or immediately after a shower when your facial hair is at its softest and capable of contributing to a smooth and seamless shave.
With this in mind, you can conveniently shave your scalp and sculpt your facial hair in a matter of minutes, before carefully using the precision trimmer to refine your look and bring order to even the fullest and most unkempt of beards!
An Unscented Deodorant
Whilst we accept that deodorant is far from the most glamorous or sexiest item on our list, this essential item can play a crucial but understated role in a sophisticated male grooming regime.
As with any grooming product choice, however, you need to approach the market with caution and keep a couple of points in mind before you complete your purchase.
Firstly, we’d recommend avoiding any deodorant labelled either cool or sports, as these are usually scented and can create a fragrance that may clash with your choice of cologne or aftershave.
Instead, opt for an unscented deodorant that safeguards against perspiration during the day and allows your chosen fragrance to truly shine through.
Secondly, try to prioritise colourless deodorants that also prevents the uncomfortable sense of under-arm stickiness, can cause considerable inconvenience and irritation during the typical working day.
Opt for unscented deodorants that last for between 24 and 48-hours too, as these products offer superior value for money and provide practical use during long-haul flights or when using working extended hours.
An Attractive Fragrance
On a similar note, it stands to reason that an attractive and suitable fragrance should also play a key role in your grooming regime.
After all, this can serve as the ideal way to compliment both your personality and your unique sense of style, whilst it can also help to make you irresistible to potential romantic partners!
Given the need to choose a fragrance that suits you, however, it’s important that you initially understand precisely how colognes work. The key thing to remember is that a fragrance cannot be categorised by a single smell, as it typically features a number of complementary scents that evolve in their own unique way.
The first of these scents is referred to as the ‘top note’, which is the scent that you notice upon application. This typically comprises of lighter ingredients such as citrus tones and florals, whilst it will also disappear within a couple of hours or so.
Then there’s the middle note, which lingers after the top note has cleared and can remain for as long as five hours in some instances. This is also considered to be a fragrance’s primary theme, with heavier notes such as jasmine, pear and spices such as cinnamon included here.
Finally, there’s the base note, which forms the foundation of your fragrance and in the case of some products will last for as long as 10 hours (or during the course of a typical day).
This note will usually include rich and indulgent ingredients that add depth to the scent, with tones such tobacco, musk and sandalwood particularly popular amongst the best male fragrances.
With this insight in mind, you can compare the market in greater detail and improve your chances of finding a fragrance that’s ideal for you.
Once you have found your ideal scent, just remember that less is more when it comes to application. So, be sure to apply a small amount to your neck and wrists as this should last you for a period of between eight and 10 hours on average.
The quest to create a viable grooming regime that protects your skin and develop a youthful visage can be a challenging one, causing you to overlook other aspects of your appearance over time.
This creates something of a conundrum, however, as it seems a shame to take such good care of your skin only for your lips to become dry and chapped (particularly during the autumn and winter months).
Lips balms also represent affordable and accessible products, which typically take the form of a wax-like substance that provides an occlusive layer on the lip surface to seal in moisture and protect it from internal exposure.
Dry air and cold temperatures can have the harshest impact on your lips, while the cold wind can also have a drying effect that draws moisture away from the lips and causes the skin to crack.
When shopping for lip balms, you’ll notice that there’s a huge array of products available to customers. In general terms, we’d recommend that you prioritise lips oils over petroleum jelly based products, as these tend to be more hydrating and less likely to dry out the skin over time.
Our Top Pick
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF25
- Super conditioning ingredients
- Lightweight & non-greasy
- Broad spectrum UV protection
For example, Jack Black’s Intense Therapy Lip Balm is a well tested and hydrating lip balm that boasts avocado oil and shea butter as its core ingredients.
These components provide super conditioning and high levels of moisture, while they’re augmented by ingredients such as Vitamin E, green tea and Balm Mint (which serve as key antioxidants).
Jack Black’s offering also provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, ensuring that even your lips are safeguarded against the risk of sun damage and premature ageing.
While this would be our recommendation when buying a lip balm, we’d urge you to compare this market in detail before hopefully making an informed decision!
The Last Word
Whilst there are many different grooming tools and products that may be essential depending on your personal tastes and unique circumstances, the items on our list should provide the foundation for any successful regime.
Overall, we’d say that facial scrubs and moisturisers are particularly important, as they can combine to create smoother and younger looking skin and leaves you appearing healthier than ever before.
You should also strive to spend time selecting a preferred fragrance, as this can really compliment your sense of style whilst also creating an attractive scent for others to enjoy.