These men's skincare brands want to convince men to invest in their skincare routines

As more brands launch in the men's skincare category — including a few celebrity-founded offerings — they are also figuring out how to speak to a customer who may not have a deep knowledge of skincare.

Lumin, which launched in 2018, sells skincare products for men. (Photo: Lumin)


Men want more from their moisturizers — as their increased spending on skincare products shows. According to Grand View Research, the men’s skincare market was valued at $25 billion in 2021, and is growing at a rate of around 10% year-on-year.

And there are plenty of brands catering to this growing need, with direct-to-consumer brands like Lumin and Huron kicking off the new wave of skincare for men brands when they launched in 2018 and 2019, respectively. More recently, celebrities have been jumping on the bandwagon, with Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and Pharrell Williams all having launched their own skincare brands, highlighting the growing demand for products that cater specifically to men's needs.

The involvement of male celebrities in launching new skincare products is significant, given that historically female celebrities have tended to head up skincare brands. By showcasing their own skincare routines and endorsing products to their audiences, celebrities are in turn helping push the men’s skincare category further into the mainstream.

What do men want from skincare brands?

There is a significant opportunity up for grabs when it comes to men's grooming — but it’s not simply a case of taking products that have worked for women and switching out the models when advertising it. Men have specific skincare needs: beards, for example, can leave the skin underneath dry. Men typically also have oilier skin than women.

According to a survey by skincare brand Clarins, 41% of men surveyed say their top skin concern is dryness, while 35% say it’s dark circles under the eyes, 27% say acne and acne scarring, and 26% cite ageing and wrinkles.

As for what men actually want to buy, “we found that guys want something simple,” says Ben Feys, the cofounder of men’s skincare brand PrettyBoy. When preparing for the brand’s 2022 launch, the team quizzed men on what they wanted from their skincare routines. Fey says the most common concerns cited were dry skin, oil control and acne control. “They also said three steps or less for any daily routine.”

Marketing to men

Because women are so used to having skincare brands marketed to them, brands can assume that these shoppers have a certain level of product knowledge. Men’s skincare brands, on the other hand, have to help their shoppers get up to speed.

Fey says that brands marketing to men therefore need to be careful when talking about the benefits of their products, or how they might fit into one’s routine. He references niacinamide — a skincare ingredient that can target excess oil production and redness, while also moisturizing and brightening the skin — as an example. While a brand marketing to female shoppers might talk about how this ingredient can ‘minimize pore size’, PrettyBoy instead opts to talk up this ingredient’s “Swiss army knife” qualities, Fey explains.

The brand’s website also features messages around value for money — saying its moisturizer essentially functions as six products in one — and it also features before-and-after pictures featuring real customers. This is, in large part, to send a message that this is a product that’s going to work. Fey says that, broadly speaking, male consumers are “resistant to trying new things, and they are reactive — we often don’t do something until there’s a problem, and then we try to fix it.”

“They focus very much on product characteristics, and they want to see results,” Fey says.