The increasing popularity of male skin and hair care is a great opportunity for brands to increase their market share and extend their personal care product lines.
In 2017, male skin care crew over 7 percent, an estimated value of $345 million1, specifically in cleansers, moisturizers and grooming products. The strongest growth was seen in the 35-44 year age groups, and in 2018 in the APEC region, 73 percent of men were found to use skin creams every day2.
In this ten-minute video, you’ll learn:
- The difference between male and female skin
- The types of personal products in which men are interested
- Materials to use in male skin and hair care products
- How to market personal care products to men
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Hi. I’m Belinda Carli, the Director of the Institute of Personal Care Science. And today, I’m going to talk you through how to create some great male skin care products to appeal to this growing category.
The Growing Trend of Male Skin Care
This category has grown so strongly. In 2017, it grew by over 7% in the U.S. to reach an estimated value of $345 million. Now, we’re not talking about shaving and hygiene products here. We’re talking about specific growth of male skin care, cleansers, moisturizers and grooming products that they didn’t normally use. The strongest growth has been seen in the 35 to 44 year category. And later statistics from 2018 has shown dramatic growth in the APEC region with on average 73% of men using a skin cream every day.
The Differences Between Male and Female Skin
So, with such a strong growing market, how do we create formulas that men are going to love? We first need to understand some of the key differences between male and female skin. You can’t formulate their products the same way that we’ve been formulating female skin care.
First of all, hormonal differences mean they make a lot more sebum than women. They need to wash this off. It can also affect their hair. So products need to be foaming; they need to be cleansing. But remember, he’s generally got shorter hair than women anyway, so we need to balance the amount of deep cleansing to remove excess oil but over a much smaller amount of hair.
What this means for the skin is that men will tend to have oily and acne problems when they’re younger, but then as they age, they definitely don’t develop wrinkles anywhere near like women. In fact, by the time a Caucasian woman is about 35 years old, she’s already looking for anti-aging skin care. A man needs to be at least 55 if not older before he starts to be concerned about wrinkles and anti-aging skin care. So the message just won’t work.
Collagen and Suppleness
Instead, and another key difference between male and female skin is that their skin is a lot more supple than ours throughout their lifetime, and they also have a lot more collagen content. The collagen content also declines gradually as they age compared to women, where hormones can make it be quite abrupt once we reach menopause. So he’s going to look for suppleness in his product rather than anti-aging. He’s also going to be attracted by claims to help restore suppleness, energy and vibrancy to his skin because he will associate some of this loss of suppleness with his age where his energy levels also start to decline. So that’s the type of message that will appeal to that consumer.
How to Formulate Products for Men
In terms of what we put into the products, remember his skin already has more sebum than a woman which means he’s less prone to trans-epidermal water loss, and he definitely doesn’t want a greasy feeling product.
So any cleansing products need to be foaming to ensure an effective claim. And because he likes to keep his skin care routine simple, he’s probably going to want a product that cleans and exfoliates at the same time. And if that’s the case, then it needs to be an exfoliant that’s suitable to use on a daily or regular basis.
As far as it goes for his creams and lotions, he’s only really going to want one moisturizing product. At the most, he might use an aftershave serum with some herbal extracts and actives added to boost the marketing story, but he’s going to look for a moisturizer preferably with some SPF added, again, another dual function product, and he’s going to want that to be a gel-cream form rather than a traditional heavy cream.
This product should be formulated with a relatively low input of lipids, and those lipids should be light skin feel esters or silicones. You should increase the amount of humectants you use in male skin care because they provide non-greasy hydration, and they’re also going to provide him with that suppleness he likes to see in his skin. Any actives you pick need to convey the message of energy and vibrancy because that’s what he’s looking to restore in his complexion.
Men have bigger pores than women and they get bigger as they get older. So it’s also a great idea to include some astringent or other actives that help to minimize or blur that pore size.
Steer away from ethanol because he’s getting more savvy about his ingredient lists too, and he’s going to look for other options than ethanol because he doesn’t want to dry his skin out. He wants to leave it feeling hydrated and supple, but he wants to minimize those pores.
Now, another thing you need to remember when formulating for male skin care is their cultural needs are very different around the globe.
While Korean men and some other Asian countries may even give a little bit of subtle color a go, you won’t see a lot of western men applying too much color anytime soon.
You will also find that western men tend to spend more time outdoors, so they’re going to look for SPF or after sun actives in their products.
And the amount of hair a man grows differs around cultures too. Western men tend to grow more beards, so providing more beard grooming products is a great idea if you’re a brand in western countries.
Marketing Skin Care Products to Men
So there’s some tips on how to create some great formulas, but then how do you market those products to a man effectively?
Number one, keep the message simple. He’s relatively new to this whole skin care thing, so let’s not bombard him. While complicated and scientific messages are what women are looking for because there’s been so much competition in our sector for such a long time, men are looking for a product that works.
They want a product with a very simple message about hydrating, energizing, reviving their skin, keeping it clean, minimizing pores. But that’s about it.
They’re also going to look at celebrity or sports people endorsements for their products or the types of products those celebrities and sports people use.
He’s also very specific about the type of fragrance or aroma that he likes in his product. He definitely likes it to smell nice and masculine, so give him an aroma that’s going to really work for him.
Men also don’t like layering, they don’t want a lot of product. And this goes with the whole “keep it simple” message as well.
While women will typically use two or three types of cleansers every day and two or three types of moisturizers, men like to use one. So they will use a foaming cleanser. Don’t give them a cream cleanser. And they’ll probably want some sort of exfoliant or abrasive particles in that product so he can stick to one product only. If he’s going to use two, he might want a foaming cleanser daily and then a gentle exfoliant a couple of times a week. That’s about as much as he’s going to look for.
When it comes to moisturizing, he’d like to combine his aftershave product with his moisturizer if possible or you may get him combining his aftershave product with a serum with actives to boost the energy and vibrancy of his skin, and then perhaps a lotion with SPF that doesn’t feel greasy.
That’s about as much as you’re going to get him to use. So keep the message simple, keep the packaging and the product use simple. And remember to make it smell great for your specific age target market.
Materials to Consider for Male Skin Care
Some final points to remember. Hydration is key because he wants supple looking skin, and that’s best achieved with a high level of humectants or actives to give him that suppleness and hydration.
Keep any emolliency low. And in any case, make sure it’s light esters, mineral oils or silicones to achieve that small amount of emolliency.
Include some actives or astringents to help minimize pore size, and make sure the cleansers are foaming but not stripping to the skin and the hair.
Any lotions or creams should be more of a serum or gel-cream type consistency with some energizing actives added as well as those humectants.
Keep the message and the product use simple. And if you’re going to enter into the field of color, keep it subtle. They might look for spot products, they might look for tinted moisturizers or similar to help balance out their complexion. But most men don’t want you to know they’re using color cosmetics to enhance their complexion or hide a spot. So keep it subtle. And if you’re going to get really adventurous, you might look at some subtle lip tints or eye pencils as well.
The male skin care category represents and a great opportunity for brands to grow and extend their lines, and it’s what men want. So make sure you formulate with their specific skin and hair needs in mind and what’s going to really attract them to purchase your product.
I’m enjoying seeing a world of well-groomed men. Happy formulating.
More skin care formulation videos:
- Peelable face mask formulation
- Start Fresh with Exfoliating Encapsulates
- Make It Personal: Formulating Customisable Cosmetics
- Silky Smooth Creams: Creating High Internal Phase Emulsions
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13 Responses to “Formulating Male Skin Care”
Excellent work! Concise and good information.
Very informative and educative for R & D Cosmetic Chemists.
Thank you – happy formulating!
Am in South Africa with a keen interest to formulate grooming skincare products for men.
Please kindly assist am not a formulator or hold any chemist degree but an entrepreneur.
Any feedback will be appreciated.
If you would like a FREE copy of this formula with full formulation, method and supplier details, please email: [email protected] directly.
I love this woman Belinda is amazing my dream is to make a course with her… she learn very clear.
Cheers from Brazil.
Thank you! Happy formulating 😊
Wow excellent work. Very good information and meaningful. I am very impressed formulating male skin care. I hope that all men who have a lot of problems with their skin will benefit a lot. I have seen your skin care formulation video. I learned a lot. Thank you so much.
Thank you for reading, and happy formulating!
Hi! Thank you so much for all of the helpful information you write!
I’m so grateful that you have found the time to provide us all with this information.
Thank you for watching! Happy formulating.