There’s a conversation I have on a regular basis. It’s happened ever since the day I started Southsea Bathing Hut on a market stall in 2015. Today, happily settled into our skincare lab and shop on Albert Road, people ask the same. It goes like this:
A customer pops in looking for a gift (let’s say Valentine’s Day is coming up). They ask me, ‘Have you got anything for guys?’
They know he’s into skincare. But they’re not sure what he likes just yet.
As the owner of a natural, vegan, cruelty free business (just don’t call me a hipster) my inclination is always to start with, ‘Well, our products are unisex really.’
Because, for the most part, that’s true. But it’s not the whole story.
At Southsea Bathing Hut, we don’t believe in stereotypes. The fact is, in our experience, blokes are just as likely as ladies to like buffing themselves with a Salty Sea Scrub. They’re just as partial to an aromatic soak in Blooming Bath & Shower Oil. And some of our best customers for the super-hydrating Vitamin Sea Hand & Body Balm are proper old school Pompey plumbers - their poor palms need a bit of love.
But there are two kinds of facts about gender and skincare. There’s the ‘gender stereotyping is over’ cultural fact - and thank your higher power of choice that’s true. And then there are some biological facts. For example, we don’t recommend any gents to use the vaginal wash! And when it comes to facial care, we *do* do different for fellas.
You see, men’s facial skin is subtly different to women’s. Ladies love our Facial Treatment Oil because it gently plumps their skin. But men don’t tend to experience the same level of collagen loss as they mature. They need a different kind of skincare. Their skin is oilier, and tends to be hairier. Shaving is harsh on the skin and facial hair needs TLC. So we’ve developed the dual-purpose Shipshape Face & Beard Oil - great to soften and tame facial hair; equally perfect to moisturise biological male faces and replenish skin after shaving.
Luckily for me as a small business owner, there’s a third fact about gender and skincare. Globally, the men’s grooming market is growing at a phenomenal 5.23% - outperforming the female cosmetic industry.
Why? Because of growing skincare consciousness, a breaking down of traditional gender stereotypes around grooming generally, and a social trend for body care.
Men are just as likely as women to want to try skincare that’s more natural, more ethical, less cruel to animals. They’re just as likely to be vegan.
So here’s what I say when that customer asks, ‘Have you got anything for guys?’
I say: ‘Well, our products are unisex.’ And then I ask about the guy as a person. Because yeah, he might love a Shipshape Face & Beard Oil. But it’s 2019. He’s just as likely to be crazy for Bath Bombs. Luckily, at Southsea Bathing Hut we’ve got him covered any way.