Men have always been a hard demographic for personal care brands to crack, with grooming routines traditionally being limited to simple shaving and hair care products. However male grooming has been on the rise in Europe in recent years as more men are experimenting with personal care products and developing their own complex grooming routines.

The development of male grooming has been driven by consumer health consciousness, societal pressure to always look good, and changing attitudes towards “traditional” masculinity. As a result, many male consumers are diversifying into skincare products, like face scrubs, moisturizers, and anti-aging creams, to improve their appearance, confidence and personal wellbeing.

Men are increasingly expected to look after their appearances; this is reflected in GlobalData’s Q4 2017 global consumer survey, in which 48% of European men said they believe the greatest benefit of beauty and grooming products is that they make them look healthy.

The desire to look ‘healthy’ is itself a part of the wider workout or gym culture that has been growing in recent years. This trend conflates men’s physique with their overall wellbeing, thereby encouraging some male consumers to use personal care products to present a healthy image to the world.  Grooming products that promote a healthy appearance circumvents male consumers’ traditional skepticism towards personal care by emphasising wellness rather than a feminine beauty routine.

In addition to this, the ubiquitous nature of social media is also impacting the male grooming sector as many men are facing a lot of pressure to maintain their appearance throughout the day. As such, 32% and 26% of European men believe that reducing visible imperfections and preventing them in the future, respectively, are important benefits for grooming products.

The greater acceptance of personal care products by men is both a cause and symptom of changing European attitudes towards masculinity. Many men feel that personal care products, such as moisturisers and facewashes, improve their self-confidence by making them feel better about themselves without negatively impacting their manhood.

Overall, the European male grooming market will continue to grow as more men experiment with complex personal care products but there will still be some traditional social norms that many men will be unwilling to compromise at the moment. The industry will have to offer products that promote wellbeing and health in ways that appeal to men who are still not sold on the industry’s benefit to them.