Guys Who Spa

“My husband takes better care of his skin than I do,” confesses Jennifer Stansbury, Co-Founder of the Benchmarking Company. “He’s a high-level executive at a Big 4 accounting firm, and he was the one (when we first met) who turned me on to Dermalogica. Here’s a guy who’s educated and gets out there in the real world—and he wants to make sure he looks good.”

“I put Patchology Eye Gels on his eyes, we do family movie night with eye patches.”
— Stansbury

Stansbury allowed me a peek inside her master bath. In the shower, her husband has Jack Black’s Face Buff Energizing Scrub, Jack Black’s Turbo Wash, the Dollar Shave Club’s Wanderer Hydrating Hair and Scalp Shampoo, plus the Conditioner, and an Aveeno body wash. It doesn’t end there. She opens his side of the cabinet and reveals Jack Black moisturizer for the face, Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel, Jack Black Antiperspirant & Deodorant—as well as Kiehl’s Malleable Molding Paste for the hair and Black Jack lip balm. “I put Patchology Eye Gels on his eyes,” she notes. “We do family movie night with eye patches.”

The “we” that makes up family movie night also includes three kids—two girls and the eldest, a 10-year-old boy. And guess what? Her son is also a product junkie. She leads me into his bathroom. On his counter is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion, Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner . . . and the kid’s shower reveals more: Jack Black All Over Wash (two bottles), Dove Men + Care Fortifying Shampoo, and, believe it or not—the acne-cleansing brush from Clarisonic.

“The focus is on the fact that now men are passing down good skincare habits to their boys—it’s not just a mother-daughter tradition anymore,” she tells me.

playful father and son shaving together at home bathroom

An Uptick in Men’s Grooming

While I was in the midst of writing this story, Target announced that it will “capitalize on what the retailer says is growing market share in men’s grooming (set to double by 2020).” To be specific, the big box store will market specifically to men via grooming departments that feature more than 600 products. The roll-out will begin with 11 stores, with plans to expand to 80 stores by the end of the year. (

“I’m seeing a rise in skincare products that have been typically thought of as a woman’s anti-aging regimen.” —Stansbury

“We’re absolutely seeing an uptick in men’s grooming,” states Stansbury. The “Father of Men’s Grooming” in her opinion is Dove and Dollar Shave Club (Dollar Shave Club was bought by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion in cash). “When I look back at the trend, I start to see Dove really gain market share for their masstige men’s line. Then Dollar Shave Club came in with brilliant advertising strategies that garnered the attention of where men play, like ESPN and The New York Times . . . very targeted toward men.” The genius of it? They made it male-shoppable: All guys had to do was click a button, pick what they wanted, and it was sent to them via a monthly subscription. “The brilliance of Dollar Shave Club is that the next month, when men go to reorder, they get suggestions for something new they might like—and it’s as easy as a click on it and ship it,” relates Stansbury. Once these two brands became mainstream, men could really shop freely.

So, What’s He Buying?

According to Guys that Groom: What He Said, a Benchmarking Company study that came out in 2015, the top five personal-care products men buy for themselves are:

  • 84% razors
  • 81% deodorant
  • 75% shaving cream
  • 70% shampoo
  • 67% electronic hair grooming products (electric razor, nose-hair trimmer)

And what exactly keeps him buying? A combination of brand loyalty and brand quality. The study showed that:

  • 81% of men say not all grooming products are created equal
  • 72% of men say paying more for men’s grooming or personal-care products mean a higher quality, more effective product
  • 67% of men say they are brand loyal and buy all grooming products from one specific brand

“I’m seeing a rise in skincare products that have been typically thought of as a woman’s anti-aging regimen,” states Stansbury. She’s referring to serums, eye creams, and treatments. “You’re seeing companies like Jack Black deliver those things to men in a package that’s masculine, with a scent that’s appealing, with a clearly defined and substantiated benefit.” Portrait of man with clay facial mask in beauty spa.

On Serums & Guys Who Spa

Stansbury is right on about the rise in men’s anti-aging products. Michael Bruggeman, founder and CEO of the professional spa line, Om4Men, offers clinical intensive night treatment serums that are geared toward severe issues like cystic acne, significant sun damage, and significant wrinkles. While his number-one selling product is the shave cream, his next best-sellers are the serums. He attributes a large part of that success to the company’s focus on [the therapist’s] education in spas. The Shave Masks are yet another line within OM4Men that is selling really well.

One of the big changes Bruggeman is noticing is that “Guys are picking up the phone and calling the number on the back of the bottle. They have a lot of questions, but sometimes their ego doesn’t allow them to ask.” Often, during a spa treatment, a guy will pretend he’s sleeping rather than speak with the therapist, notes Bruggeman, or he’ll say his wife buys all his products because he feels uncomfortable talking to an esthetician.

Close up of attractive man lying and relaxing at spa. The beautician is applying facial cream on his skin

When it comes to men’s spa-going, the numbers are also up. “Over the last several years, the International SPA Association (ISPA) data has shown an increase in male spa-goers,” shares Lynne Walker McNees, President of ISPA. “In 2017, 49% of all spa-goers were men. Increasingly, both men and women are looking for ways to unplug and manage stress in today’s 24/7 connected world.”

However, “When you look at marketing through a woman’s eyes and try to market to men, it doesn’t work,” says Bruggeman, who believes we are too enculturated into the female ethos of spa and beauty. “Having men who are very much more basic in terms of communicating on those positions would be beneficial, because they have the key to the language that appeals to men.”

Are men an underserved population? Bruggeman believes so. “Culturally, when you have women running spas and women practitioners, it just reinforces that female ethos that until we get serious about tapping into the men’s market, we have to examine the whole culture.”

By: Mary Bemis, Founder & Editorial Director, and Co-Curator, Cosmoprof North America Discover Green & Discover Green Leaf




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