Apollonian looks are not just limited to the world of fiction now. Men are increasingly investing in grooming products to look prim and proper, and even better than that. Products in men’s grooming kit are no more limited to basics like a comb, razor, and a cream, but now comprise an array of skincare and hair care products such as face wash, sunscreen, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner etc. A story published in March 2019 in Business Today cites a market research report by Mintel. The report says that “the average Indian man spends 42 minutes a day on grooming himself. An average man, according to this report, spends 16 minutes on grooming his body, 14 minutes on his hair and 12 minutes on his face.” Another June-2019 report published in The Week states that the growth of the male grooming industry in India in 2020 is pegged at a whopping 35,000 crores. So, what, or rather who is driving this growth? Well! THE MILLENNIAL AND POST-MILLENNIAL MEN ARE. For the uninitiated, millennial and post-millennial men, as defined by the Pew Research Centre, are those who are born between 1981-1996 and 1997-present (0-21 years old).
So, what are the reasons behind the rise of male grooming industry in India? Let’s understand.
Willing to spend generously
Millennials are loud, proud, and do not shy away from spending a few extra bucks to get the best they want have in everything; and their desire to enhance their looks are no different. Unlike their predecessors, they embrace the introduction to new self-care products openly and even religiously. These are not additional expenses, but necessities for them to look dapper and confident. Further, they are the first generation to evolve along with the technology and hence privy to the instant purchasing methods facilitated by online shopping sites.
Targeted Grooming for an Overall Well-Defined Personality
Earlier, men’s grooming products were limited to essentials like a razor, soap, or a deodorant. With time, it has expanded and now includes products according to the consumer’s needs. For example, there are beard serums, charcoal masks for dull and clogged skin, moisturiser to keep skin smooth and soft, shampoos and conditioners tailored for various hair problems. In this era, where men follow the styles of celebrities, targeted grooming helps them get the desired look to keep the skin and hair care problems away and maintain the look.
Adapting to the era of “selfies”
From social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp, professional networking sites like Linkedin and Glassdoor, to dating sites like Tinder and Aisle, a decent picture goes a long way in making one’s profile look authentic; not to forget that a well-groomed you in the picture reflects your level of attention to details, hygiene, and even adaptability. Further in the era of selfies and virtual interactions abound, pictures are cues for non-verbal communication. For example, psychologist Robert J. Pellegrini in his study titled “Impressions of the male personality as a function of beardedness” concluded that “the male beard communicates a heroic image of independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer, ready, willing and able to do manly things.” All these factors have also contributed to making grooming for men quintessential part of their lives.
Breaking of Conventional Gender Constructs
Masculinity does not need the proof of that ‘messy hunk’ look anymore. Being neat and stylish is more appealing and reflects a man’s personality in a much more positive light than an unkempt or a plain-Jack (Oh yes! We just created an antonym for plain-Jane) look.
Skin Care Is No More Skin Deep
Millennial men are much more aware and put in the effort to understand the product inside out before buying it. As more and more male grooming products with a host of natural ingredients are being introduced, men are starting to use them without any worries about their skin getting harmed due to the presence of chemicals in them. Further, they are opinionated, and their choices reflect their stand on a number of issues, which also include concern for the environment. They choose to go by brands which follow certain values and ethics, for example, products that are not only devoid of SLS and parabens, but are cruelty-free too.