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A whole new man-scape

A whole new man-scape

Sales in men’s grooming products are expected to hit $85 billion, with men trimming, clipping and shaving more than ever before. Gulf Marketing Review meets the razor-sharp Philips’ exec who’s capitalizing on the ‘man-scaping’ trend.

January 28, 2010 2:51 by

Initially this was mostly associated with an alternative lifestyle until, the way Engelsman tells it, David Beckham got in on the act. That’s when the hairless burst forth from the closet and into the mainstream.

“That released something bigger,” Engelsman recalls. “People were starting to talk about it and not feel ashamed about it. It was quite interesting. Now if you go to a sauna or a sports club in the larger part of Europe – definitely in the UK and Germany – and parts of the US, you will see that men have trimmed hair, and armpit hair is gone.”

He concedes, though, that this is largely true among 16-35 years olds.

Yet even where the less indigenously hirsute reside the trend is prevalent. Philips recently surveyed China and discovered that 27 per cent of Chinese men, in his words, “groom their chest”. You can argue, he says, that they don’t have a lot of hair in the first place, but they do it because they want to conform.

Grooming behavior has changed so radically that, Engelsman feels, consumers need clarity over what to use, and it’s his mission to provide that clarity.

“We have so many products for your hair, your beard, your chest, your nose, your eyebrows and then normal clean shaving, that men are starting to become insecure about what to use for what purpose.”

He elaborates: “If you want to have a goatee, there is a particular product for that. If you want a one- or two-day stubble there is a product for that, too, and it’s up to us to try to explain to consumers what to use.”

I begin to understand what he means by clarity of purpose, because the margin for operational error is already looking as wide as Yas Island and that’s before we’ve even considered the danger of scalping oneself by accidentally resetting the hair clipper.

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