Friday, July 01, 2005

Stretching the shaving ritual

The New York Times has an article about the expansion of products in the men's shaving market (registration required). In a market that was once just about razors and shaving cream (and maybe some alcohol-based aftershave), there are now pre-shave oils, razor bump healers, soothing aftershave balms, and skin toners.
For the past few weeks Mr. Ragaza, a magazine editor in Manhattan, has been stretching out his shaving ritual to almost 10 minutes. He starts by moisturizing with a citrus-scented preshave oil, then applies a frothy swirl of foaming shaving cream with a badger-hair brush. Then, after shaving as usual, he gives himself a final soothing pat with after-shave lotion.
Apparently, the shaving products industry is hoping to adjust consumer expectations among male shavers, and convince them to think about it not just as shaving, but skin care. This isn't an easy sell to men, as we typically don't pay much attention to our skin (according to the article, men spent $22 million on skin care last year, while women spent $6.7 billion).
"It's easier to upgrade a consumer than to convert him or get him to start doing something new like skincare," said Eric Malka, a founder and president of the Art of Shaving. His company makes a four-step shaving system and a line of soaps, scrubs, masks, moisturizers, eye gels and lip balms for men.
I know that more of the guys I communicate with about shaving are using multiple products and taking care of their skin better than they used to. It's not too hard to understand: we're looking for a comfortable shave, and some of these products really do contribute to an easier, less irritating experience.

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