Unlike the sophisticated grooming routines of Asian men, such as those of South Korea, men’s regimes in the West have traditionally lacked complexity, largely hampered by the social barriers surrounding using products which are too similar to their female counterparts. While strides have been made in creating male-oriented regimes, this has largely been under the remit of skincare, haircare, and even beard care with a focus on maintenance rather than “beauty”.

Despite this, the male grooming industry is seeing something of a revolution in the West as the barriers around traditional gender stereotypes are being broken down in more obvious and unconventional ways, particularly in categories which men have traditionally steered clear of i.e. colour cosmetics.

In this respect, millennials represent an ideal cohort by which to capture and introduce to this space. This age group is characterized by their experimental and individualistic nature, seeking to express their own personal brand through their appearance which is evidenced by GlobalData’s consumer research in that 61% of men aged 18-34 globally prefer to be unique and stand out from the crowd. In turn this means that there is a growing rejection of the traditional gender stereotypes both in beauty and the wider gamut of gender specific product offerings in the quest for uniqueness and expression.

Brands are becoming more and more aware of this sentiment however it has largely been confined to smaller, more niche players such as Manglaze (male nail polish). However, the spate of recent campaigns by mainstream beauty players has really emphasized the importance of this trend and the need to engage with it in order to stay relevant and reactive to the needs of these younger consumers. Prominent examples include L’Oreal’s True Match foundation campaign launched last summer featuring British male beauty blogger, Gary Thompson as one of the models and Maybelline’s announcement in January this year that male beauty blogger Manny Gutierrez would represent the brand as their first male spokesperson.

This rejection of traditional gender stereotypes will continue to gain traction particularly for brands who want to take the next step in engaging millennials, particularly younger ones, who have grown up with gender boundaries being significantly more flexible than those of boomers and gen-Xers. This in turn will drive more gender neutral, inclusive, and interchangeable solutions becoming the norm in future.