Male beauty: A fair game

Written by Neha Pal | Neha Pal | Updated: Apr 8 2012, 07:37am hrs
When a colleague mentioned that he indulged in all sorts of beauty treatments at salons, including pedicures and facials, it acted as a trigger for this story. We decided to see for ourselves the takeover of what was considered a woman's domain. Our first stop was Affinity in South Extension, Delhi. We found men of all age groups indulging in facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing and massages. Poonam, a beautician working with Affinity, said "Men come to the salon asking for various treatments for skin and hair. Those below 40 normally get face-cleaning, hair cuts, waxing, manicure and pedicures, whereas older men usually go for facials, body massage and hair massage.

Habibs in South Extension-II in Delhi was no different. In charge Rekha said, There is a growing interest in men towards how they look. The number of men coming to salons has increased substantially over the past few years. Habibs has several packages for men, like the R2,000 package that includes a facial, pedicure and either an oil massage or henna hair pack or face bleach." To grab a slice of the increasing men's beauty business, Lakme Lever, which is a part of Hindustan Unilever, launched its first unisex salon, Lakme Ivana, in July 2011. Men's grooming sector in India is estimated to be over R1,500 crore.

The number of men using fairness products in the country is also increasing. About 35% people using fairness products are men, compared to 20% about three years ago, indicates a survey. The men's skin care market is currently at 4% of the total skin care market and is growing at over 40% every year. According to Garnier, its men's fairness cream called 'Garnier Men', which received a phenomenal response from the market, was first introduced in India and then across the globe. Another strong player, Vaseline, which has come out with Vaseline Men, is giving tough competition to Fair and Lovely Menz Active and Garnier Men.

Protiviti MD Akshay Bhalla feels, "There was a vacuum in the Indian market due to non-availability of products for men, but rising hygiene and beauty consciousness due to changing demographics and lifestyles, deeper consumer pockets, greater product choice, wider availability and media exposure are the reasons for the rise in demand." And style icons like John Abraham, Shahrukh Khan and Shahid Kapoor endorsing these products has only helped in making the products more popular. When FE spoke to one of the leading wellness players, VLCC, which has its presence in 260 locations in India, Sandeep Ahuja, MD, VLCC, said, "Men using such services and products is not just a trend in metros or mini metros, but even in smaller towns like Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Hugli and Mysore. Men today are not just coming in larger numbers for selecting fairness products, but are also looking at grooming services.

Ahuja added, "We see doubling of our revenues from men's products in 2012 following a phenomenal response. At present, men products contribute about 7% to our product revenues." Purnendu Kumar, VP (retail), Technopak Advisors adds, "In India, Bollywood has a lot of people and with stars endorsing various products, it increases demand for grooming products. Another strategy followed by companies to promote cosmetics in rural areas is the sachet approach."