Business ideas for 2017: Men’s haircare

Men's haircare has been limited to clippers and gel but a new dawn of male grooming has arrived. Could you find success in men’s haircare?

2017 is the year of the groomed man. In the past two years, the UK has given more attention to men’s haircare as the lumberjack style beard became a fashion staple and ‘the man bun’ and ‘fades’ became common phrases in men’s hair styling.

No longer seen as taboo, a number of men are keen to find products that will not only give them a certain look but also keep their hair in tip-top condition, meaning they are willing to spend more than ever.

In light of this new attitude to grooming, men’s haircare is becoming a massive market which presents entrepreneurs with the chance to profit from this changing male aesthetic – because he’s worth it too…

Starting a men’s haircare business: Why it’s a good business idea

The men’s haircare and grooming market has seen exponential growth as men embrace beauty products that were once traditionally the domain of female consumers.

In 2016, Mintel reported that the men’s haircare market is forecast to grow 11% over the next five years to reach £94m by 2020.

This is not just an increase in the amount of products being used but a whole new segment of products that can be marketed at men. For example, 22% of 16-24 year olds who use haircare products say they use heated styling appliances.

As a result, a category of the grooming industry that was very much restricted is now growing and opening up new opportunities for haircare entrepreneurs. Mrporter.com reported 300% growth in men’s grooming products in 2015, considerable success given that Net-a-Porter only added the section to their site just over two years ago.

What’s more, male grooming is no longer limited to shaving products as it incorporates moisturisers and hair products that cater to the new aesthetic that many men are aspiring to. In Selfridges, American fashion designer Tom Ford’s oil free moisturiser is a bestseller; proof that men are adapting their beauty regimes and becoming even more ‘metrosexual’ than the mid-1990s generation that inspired the term.

These findings look promising compared to the rather lacklustre story of women’s haircare products, with sales having declined over the past few years.

So if you’re looking to start a beauty-based business, men’s haircare could be the opportunity for you…

Men’s haircare business opportunities

First off, you could launch your own line of men’s haircare products and focus on what is more popular in the market right now. Create a line of products that can be used as part of a beauty routine and incorporated into men’s lifestyle and routine.

Beards are a huge trend right now and so, with a rising number of hirsute men, comes demand for various conditioners, shampoos and oils that maintain the full and effortless look. The London Beard Company specialises in – you guessed it – beards. Offering everything from oils, to hand crafted combs, to hair wax, the business proves that honing in on one aspect of haircare can be lucrative.

Changing attitudes to the types of ingredients used in products mean there is more emphasis on natural ingredients and oils such as argon and olive oil that claim to be better for the skin so you could also consider a natural haircare range.

Although a well populated market there are opportunities to find your niche within the men’s haircare market. Shear & Shine is a London based start-up which caters specifically to African-Caribbean hair types – an area still relatively overlooked by the male grooming market in the UK as a whole and a route to promote more diversity in the market.

Alternatively, you could open up a men’s barber shop/hairdresser and offer more treatments and styles to cater to this new dawn of male grooming. Estée Lauder recently launched a string of new Aveda barber shops offering a range of facials and treatments in addition to traditional barber services.

Insider opinion

Linda Evans, PR for TIGI Bed Head, said:

“As a product company one of our key functions is to support our pattern (independent) salons to build their businesses. We see the growth in both men’s hairdressing/fusion barbering – and traditional barbering as a key to the development of our Bed Head for Men range.”

Charlotte Libby, senior beauty editor at Mintel, has commented on the type of men’s haircare products that are likely to take off:

“As fashion moves towards facial hair, the industry is challenged by a reduction in usage occasions, since most men apply products post-shave. Opportunities exist for product innovation in the beard care market, but this must be matched with marketing to convince men of the need to use specifically designed products instead of basic, generic substitutes.

“In terms of haircare, treatments and conditioner products are taking an increasing share of launch activity, pushed by the trend of celebrity-inspired longer hairstyles and man buns, and by worries about hair loss and thinning.”

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