5 Male Grooming Trends of 2018 You Need to Know

by charlottegw / last updated August 27, 2019

male grooming trends barber equipment

This Season of Giving HJ Men digests the 5 male grooming trends that have caught our attention this year. And with the male grooming industry set to triple in size by 2020 according to global industry analysis, we’ve included how you can use these trends to boost business.

Barbershop boom

There’s no denying that the rise of traditional barbershops has been one of the key male grooming trends for the last couple of years. But between January and June 2018, nearly 350 new barbershops opened on Britain’s high streets, according to research by the Local Data Company. Why the huge increase? Well, it is thought to be attributed to a growing interest in male grooming from social media, TV and the internet. Keith Conniford, registrar at the Hair and Barber Council thinks it has something to do with how barbershops are now operating too. “The change in the public’s perception of barbering as an industry has changed dramatically these past few years. I believe there has been a rise in professionalism of the barber industry and they truly provide an excellent service for customers.” It’s no longer a ‘chore’ to go to the barbers. You can easily book appointments (goodbye waiting time!) and with free beer, sports channels and even video games on tap, barbershops have cleverly tapped into the ‘experience economy’ (the trend of buying enjoyable experiences rather than things).

How to respond: If you’re a barbershop, set yourself apart from the others on the high street offer services that they aren’t. Maybe offer facials, free beer or male-only grooming evenings. If you’re a salon, why not tap into the barbershop boom by having an in-house barber that can offer cut-throat shaves?

male grooming trends shaving brush

Body hair, men care

A new study from Mintel* revealed that Britain’s men are embracing the trend for a smooth look. It wasn’t just hairless bods that were du jour, but also noses and eyebrows that were being waxed, plucked and preened too. Here’s the  evidence: in 2018, as many as 46% of all men removed hair from their bodies (up from just over a third in 2016). The number of Brits removing hair from their eyebrows has risen from to over four in ten (42%). Meanwhile, the number of Brits removing hair from their nose has pretty much doubled to 20% in 2018. Interestingly the male hair removal market is split into two age-related camps: “Whilst young men are leading the trend of body hair removal, older men are driving facial hair removal,” explains Roshida Khanom, associate director, beauty & personal care at Mintel.

How to respond: Could this be a reason to revaluate the services you are offering in your barbershop or salon? Which audience are you targeting? Would the inclusion of hair removal services be a canny money maker? There’s definitely an opportunity to discuss with your staff / colleagues.

male grooming trends

Personalisation in the male market

The trend for ultra-personalisation, as shown by the recent success of NIKEiD’s custom trainers for example, was key in 2018. Personalisation was one of the key male grooming trends too. Wella Professional launched System Man which offers a staggering 262,109,210 unique combinations for the client. And just like its female-focused sister brand System Professional, the barber or men’s hairdresser plays an integral role in finding a client’s perfect product combination. Also treading the personalisation path, American Crew came out with Acumen, a line of premium grooming products developed for the ‘measured man, precise in the choices the makes’. It’s the first regime-focused men’s brand separated into shower, shave, care and style sections. However, it’s still clear that men want simple routines and clear information. Research presented by Coty revealed that women use 21 products, whereas men use just eight.

How to respond: Although men are definitely open to new grooming products it’s clear they want a streamlined approach and a personalised regime. That’s where you as a barber or men’s hairdresser come in! Retail correctly ­– demonstrated the product on your client and give them simple instructions to follow – and you’ll be their first port of call for buying new products. Kerching.

male grooming trends scissors

Outdated ‘gendered’ services

From steam facials and manicures, a visit to a traditional barber is no longer just about a haircut. Diversifying your treatment menu is a good idea if you want to stay ahead of the curve. We noticed an array of traditionally ‘female services’, especially at our live shows. At HJ Live North on the HJ Men in association with Wahl stage in October this year, Carlie Firth from Ruger showed the audience how to execute a men’s facial on stage. Ross Charles showed that short hair is not the default for men with his wavy, plaited style. Even hair colour (think bright hues rather than ‘Just for Men’ vibes) was seen on the HJ Men stage at Salon International, courtesy of Andrew Smith and milk_shake and Luis Chevere and Tom Baxter used the vivid OSMO Color Psycho range to create bold, bright looks.

How to respond: Are you or your staff trained in these areas? It could be worth thinking about investing in courses in facials, hair colour and cutting and styling long hair for your staff.

#selfie culture

The rise of selfie culture and the explosion of Instagram over the last couple of years has seen male influencers and the ‘everyday’ man become more invested in their image. They are more open to trying new things and less likely to stick with one look. “With the growing influence of social media, TV and the internet, there’s an emphasis on people looking and feeling good. This applies just as much to men as it does to women,” explains the Hilary Hall, chief executive of National Hairdressers Federation (NHF). Coty has responded with Seb Man, with a campaign themed around the ‘slasher’ generation – people who don’t want to be restricted by one label. HJ Men was lucky enough to be at the launch in Milan to meet their campaign models – Billie Huxley a Boss / Biker / Music Producer from London and Matthias Dandios a Champion BMX Rider / Actor / Thrillseeker from Paris. They brought to life a modern man that’s not defined by labels or set looks.

How to respond: Think about whether you are offering men a diverse array of looks in your barbershop / men’s hair salon. Are you taking into account your clients lifestyle and identity when you are cutting hair and beards? Consider a treatment menu that features looks for inspiration or encourage clients to show you images from Instagram that they like.

*Research for Mintel‘s Shaving and Hair Removal UK 2018 Report was carried out among 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in June 2018.

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