Changing attitudes towards men and self-care have caused an increase in the number of companies offering male-friendly grooming and beauty products.
Male celebrities now have their own nail polish lines, while A-Rod sells men’s makeup from Hims. Not to mention all the male-centric skincare brands like Disco, Caldera + Lab, Jaxon Lane, and Lumin that hope to help you, a man, take better care of your manly skin. (And that list barely scratches the surface.)
For the record, we are not against this booming market. We always encourage you to wash your face, wash your ass, apply concealer and apply SPF every day with items from many men’s grooming brands that offer quality products in accessible packaging.
There’s no denying, however, that the beauty industry is a crowded space filled with serums and eye creams all claiming to age you and rejuvenate your tired skin, and for newbies who are plunged into a bottomless pit of goop and goo, it can feel overwhelming. You want to take better care of your appearance, but where to start?
That’s a question Drishay Menon and Rob McIntosh set out to answer with their company Bottlecode, a personalized men’s skincare service.
The two co-founders say men know what skin issues they want to tackle, but the shopping experience is often vague, intimidating, and dominated by retailers that typically cater to women.
“Skincare is a very confusing product category filled with too many options and a ton of conflicting information,” CEO Menon says. “Men, in particular, benefit from a personalized approach like Bottlecode because we aren’t taught the importance of skincare at an early age, and most of these products are new to us.”
Bottlecode works in two ways. You can shop at your own risk from a selection of products from well-known, yet “expert” skincare brands, or customers can book a free consultation where they will receive product recommendations from a skincare expert.
Like other personalized grooming services, Bottlecode’s free consultation starts with a quiz that covers your top skin concerns and budget preferences. Once complete, a licensed esthetician reviews your responses and develops a personalized set of product recommendations, along with personalized notes, which you will receive within 24 hours. From there, you can decide if you want to buy those items. If you do, you’ll not only receive your personalized routine, but a step-by-step guide on how to use the products, as well as ongoing access to your skincare expert who can answer questions and make new product recommendations based on seasonal changes and preferences.
Other custom grooming sites help consumers establish a solid skincare routine tailored specifically to their needs, including Geologie, Hawthorne, and Proven. However, unlike Bottlecode which brings you skincare products already on the market, these companies tap into their own personal line of expertly formulated moisturizers, cleansers and eye creams.
This same model is also used in the world of hair care. Brands like Headquarters and Prose want to give you a highly personalized hair regimen that includes shampoos, conditioners, styling creams and exfoliating scalp masks – all free of sulfates, silicones, dyes and other ingredients that can damage your hair and scalp.
“In the past, hair education for men was not a popular topic of conversation,” says Carly Rappoport, director of communications at Prose. “Yet proactive hair care is one of the best ways for men to maintain healthy hair and potentially combat hair loss. Knowing what products to use, the ingredients, and how to use your hair care products can do wonders for your hair and scalp in the long run.
Like the companies mentioned, Prose and Siege also ask you to complete a short questionnaire to determine the best path to take to start your journey to healthy hair. “Prose’s consultation looks at over 85 different factors to determine a custom formula,” Rappoport adds. “Everything from your location and diet to workout regimens and age – all factors that can impact hair and scalp.”
Echoing Menon and McIntosh, Rappoport says Prose’s long-term goal was to create a new shopping experience that solves the problem of “choice paralysis.” “We recognize that the beauty industry has become oversaturated and customers are inundated with choices, so we wanted to offer a simplified solution,” she says. (While the onset of the deluge of bespoke skincare brands is debatable, this market is also becoming increasingly crowded.)
Still, custom grooming brands can be very beneficial for men looking for an effective grooming routine, but have no idea where to start. Interestingly, they also reflect an evolution in consumerism and take us back to the days when a hyper-individual approach was taken to remedy a problem.
“Personalization has been around for years. Think back to the 1600s, when apothecaries were the tried-and-true approach to buying cosmetics and medicines,” says Rappoport. “Then came the Industrial Revolution, which led consumers to believe that mass production was the right and only answer when it came to producing products on a large scale. With the rise of technology and the shift to e-commerce, Prose and other like-minded brands are proving that personalization can be scalable.”
Think about it, the solution to your skincare or haircare problem could be one (or two or three) two-minute quizzes.
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