Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pretty Boys; Trends A New One-Stop Male Maintenance Mecca Is Sparking a Beauty Boom for British Blokes, Says Emma McCarthy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pretty Boys; Trends A New One-Stop Male Maintenance Mecca Is Sparking a Beauty Boom for British Blokes, Says Emma McCarthy

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma McCarthy

THE face of beauty is always changing. But no matter how many new wonder ingredients or dip-dye hair colour trends come and go, it remains a woman's game.

At least the latter is true where the big money is concerned, with every department store and beauty campaign focused on attracting the female customer. But the industry's decision to neglect the male consumer is shortsighted -- particularly in a retail climate where menswear is booming.

The British menswear market was recently valued at PS14.1 billion, taking its share of total clothing sales up to 25 per cent. And men's grooming products have seen similar growth: 2013 was the first year men spent more money on male-specific toiletries than shaving products. Of course there has been a shift in recent years to accommodate this increasingly clued-up customer. Notably with the re-emergence of the barber shop -- thanks to the beard becoming the must-have accessory for every other man in London -- and a rise in non-gender-specific skincare products such as Aesop's Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser -- a hit with both sexes. But despite this male beauty boom, it's still rare for gents to get more than one aisle of gunmetal grey tubes of moisturiser at the back of a shop dedicated to lipsticks and body lotions.

This could have something to do with the fact that men are more likely than women to buy their skincare online -- a fact that has led to the grooming divisions of savvy luxury brands such as mrporter.com cleaning up.

But a reaction to all of this is Beast, a new all-male beauty emporium that has just opened on Earlham Street. The brainchild of Steve Banks and Spencer Wallace -- two blokes frustrated at what existed for men in the beauty arena -- this one-stop-shop seeks to address all men's grooming needs in a setting designed with such care that it would make any woman envious.

Key to this new beauty destination is that it has no interest in flogging manscara or guyliner. Instead, it's about de-busting the misconception that men's beauty is a gimmick, or that it only appeals to a certain proportion of society. …

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