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WHAT IS “SPOTTED”? WELCOME TO THE SECOND “SPOTTED” REPORT FROM SMG’s YOUTH HUMAN EXPERIENCE CENTER! Spotted reports are intended to provide a snapshot into the latest youth trends on a specific topic. They shed light onto emerging attitudes of youth globally, as well as drawing out some regional nuances. Our online community, the Youth MIC, fuels our inspiration for these reports. The community consists of a group of bright minds, aged 18-24 across eight diverse markets including Australia, China, France, India, Mexico, Russia, UK, and USA.



Spotted in my city: male grooming (guys and girls welcome!) Tell us what male grooming trends you’ve noticed near where you live! This could be anything from new products to trendy hair styles you’ve spotted.






MICers all around the world told us that they think young men are paying more and more attention to their looks. In many countries, celebrities and male characters in popular TV shows have been the drivers behind this trend. Seeing their admired film stars groom eye brows and use facial creams is encouraging 18-24s to follow suit. Beauty habits that used to be female for the most part, are increasingly considered appropriate for men too.

For brands this opens up wide opportunities to cater to men’s grooming needs across a range of categories from hair to make-up,.

“I think there is more of a trend these days for men to look well groomed rather than unkempt, eyebrows are manicured “I have noticed lot of guys and shaped […]that andabeards styledyounger to lookthan a certain way.” me are starting to really care about how they Leanne, Australia look, they're really trying to outdo their friends in terms of appearance.” Sam, UK

“I see a lot of guys shaping their eyebrows which used to be very common only among gals.” Aarti, India

 CASE STUDY: MALE SKINCARE RANGES Male MICers are telling us how they are starting to subscribe to skin care regimes: facial washes and creams becoming increasingly popular. Men’s skin cleansers, scrubs and moisturizers are no longer a niche category, with brands such as Garnier, Clinique, Olay and Dove all either launching or extending their men’s offerings. “The no. 1 trend I see in guys is face washes. A face wash is no longer a female thing. Guys prefer no oily skin and want to look good and do take very much care of their skin.” Sana, India

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Overall, beards (in some shape or form!) are increasingly considered attractive. However, male grooming is all about being “a manly man”. MICers brought up multiple reasons why men around the world are sporting beards these days. Some have linked the beard trend to the “Hipster” fashion, while others attributed their dwindling economies and costly razor blades. Some MICers suggested this trend might be a reaction against the metrosexual clean look of the 90s and 2000s. The trick is to look masculine while still looking “groomed”.

Brands can leverage this trend by embracing this new somewhat “engineered” masculinity and helping men feel very groomed and masculine at the same time.

“I've definitely noticed that beards seem to be quite big right now. I'm assuming it's a backlash at the clean shaven look that was quite big in the 90s. Nowadays it's all about being a manly man.” Tim, USA

 CASE STUDY: TED’S GROOMING ROOM While money might be saved on razor blades in some places, the art of shaving is glorified in others. Young men are rediscovering the traditional barber shop. Fashion brand Ted Baker has taken advantage of this trend by launching a number of “Grooming Rooms”. Five outlets around London offer traditional barber services, massages, hair cuts and even manicures. One of the shops, “The Ottoman Lounge” is intended as a modern take on the old Turkish grooming experience. Meanwhile, New York’s F.S.C. Barber, a hipster barber outlet, has been met with resounding success since launching in 2006 and opened another four stores across New York and San Francisco since.

“My husband just found a traditional barber shop that does massages and uses cut throat razors. He went a few weeks back and said it was good as the shave was a much closer one.” Maxine, UK

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Russia: Grandfather’s beard

Australia: Movember Moustaches

China: Beard no-go

“It's a suave and chic look”, according to Bollywood stylist Hakim Aalim, as well as some Indian MICers who are loving the new beard trend.

While well-groomed short stubble might be attractive, Russian MICers told us that long beards remind them of their grandfathers.

Australian MICers linked the beard trend to the Movember movement, which encourages men to grow moustaches during November for charity.

Chinese MICers mentioned that they find beards unattractive. Some explained that growing a beard is even associated with being lazy!

“I don’t like [guys] in beards or moustaches, but nowadays French beards are in fashion.” Puja, India

“If a guy has bristle, I think it's ok, it looks manly. But when I see a man with beard I think: 'The same beard wore my grandfather‘.” Anet, Russia

“Everyone is growing Mo’s for charity. I have seen a lot of people rocking moustaches.” April, Australia

“In [my] city almost nobody grows beards. The Chinese think a man who grows a beard will be an idle fellow.” Bo, China


A large number of MICers spoke about hair “short on sides, long on top” being trendy (also aptly called the “Faux-hawk” by some members). The “long hair on top” trend is one of a few niche hair trends that has gained traction with 18-24s recently. (Undercuts are another example!) What started out as an alternative trend is making its way into mainstream culture all over the world. Similar to the hipster movement, this trend reflects youth ‘s longing for being part of something new and exclusive. Some MICers pointed out that the hipster style has long gone mainstream, but that doesn’t lessen it’s appeal. The ‘underground notion’ is what counts.

This trend is shows how youth increasingly long for being part of underground culture (even if this culture is on its way to becoming mainstream!).

“I've seen some men with long hair across the middle of their heads and shaved sides (both or just one).” Adriana, Mexico

“Long hair is a big thing where I live. everyone looks like a member of the beetles.” Jacqueline, US

“Men style themselves according to their favourite counterpart from a movie/TV show, they will change accordingly when they find a new style and adopt it instantly.” Hariprasath, India

THANK YOU For more information about this report or the Youth HEC please contact any member of the team: Emma Montgomery, Donna Booth, Seema Patel

Spotted! Male Grooming Trends