When I was pregnant. I assumed I was having a girl. I don’t know exactly why, but my family is mainly female, I went to an all-girls’ school and I work in a women-dominated industry, so go figure. I had ideas of taking my little girl to beauty launches, plaiting her hair and helping her do her makeup when she got old enough. Turns out G-d had other plans and I was blessed with a beautiful little boychik. While still delighted, my fantasies of shopping trips and girls’ nights in were replaced by images of standing on a freezing football pitch on a Sunday morning and working out how to get grass stains out of cricket whites. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Beauty can be a little bit of a girls’ club, but that’s soon to change.
More and more gents are discovering the joys of preening, which is in no small part thanks to social media platforms like TikTok, where men’s #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos racked up a massive 83.2 billion views last year. And then there’s the rather dapper Eylon Levy, Israeli government spokesperson whose irreverent Instagram posts included one of him casually tweezing his eyebrows. Seeing chaps share their daily rituals with beauty and grooming products is breaking down stereotypes and making grooming more acceptable and relatable. And it’s about time too. Many women know the the joys of a little primping and beautifying and how it can lift the mood – and if anything can help men’s mental health (young men in particular, who are among the most vulnerable), then I’m all for it.
Big players like Boots are stepping up their game when it comes to beauty for the boys – giving their entire grooming section a facelift. They're even introducing their first-ever premium men's lineup, featuring big shots like Hanz de Fuko for hair care and Anthony for skin and body care. They’re also diving into the world of men's makeup with indie sensation Shakeup Cosmetics. Superdrug are also expanding their male grooming lineup with brands like Aaron Wallace for Black men’s skincare, Shakeup Cosmetics, and War Paint for guys dabbling in makeup.
When it comes to a few top picks for men, I spoke to my friend, fellow fragrance writer Haydn Williams (on Instagram as @YouSmellGreatWhatIsIt). “Brother Earth Shampoo Bar (£12 including tin) has made me change some of my habits, trying to use less plastic in the bathroom,” he tells me. “While Baz & Co Restore & Awaken Body Wash (£22) is made with basil from indoor vertical farms, using far less water and no toxic chemicals. It has a great scent of basil, mint and grapefruit.”