Here's How Men’s Grooming Industry is Expected to Change Post COVID-19

by | July 31, 2020, 11:43 IST


COVID-19 has hit almost every business world over as the industries cease their functions to prevent the possible spread of the  infection, and companies in India are no exception. However, after three months, the government has allowed a few businesses and industries to resume their working under the Unlock 1.0 phase.


Among all the industries that were hit by the pandemic, grooming and salon businesses suffered a terrible dent. Needless to say, the situation has also hit one of the fastest growing contributors to the beauty industry—men’s grooming and salons. The men’s grooming business graph—including the at-home grooming products and in-salon services—that witnessed a mammoth growth in the past decade, dipped massively in the last three months. Despite the new guidelines allowing salons to open in certain areas, consumers are hesitant to visit fearing compromised hygiene.

“We witnessed a substantial decrease of 40-60 per cent in the first two weeks as compared to the same time pre-COVID-19. There is still a lot of fear which will continue for the next few months, and we do not see our footfalls reaching the same numbers for at least six months,” says Krishna Gupta, co-founder and managing director, Lloyds Luxuries - TrueFitt & Hill India.

The current situation has called for the two immediate steps from the industry leaders—to make salon safety measures stronger and develop more at-home products specific to men. “The pandemic has changed the dynamics of the salon industry – new methods of working, new patterns of consumption, and new ways of interacting with people is key,” says Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever.

Changing Times
In order to maintain limited contact with the customer, salons are revising their service menu as well as the appointment process. “We have restricted a few services which required direct hand-to-skin contact for long durations, as this would limit the exposure,” says Gupta. Restricting the number of customers inside the salon is seen as an alternative to preventing the spread of the virus. “We are maintaining social distancing through limited pre-booked appointments and reduced staff strength in the salons. But we have retained all the services on our menu,” says Shenai.


The major change in the business will also be facilitated by stringent hygiene processes. Regular check-ups of the staff,  customers and maintaining hygiene in the salon space is of utmost importance. “Given the situation, discerning customers will trust brands with a strong focus on hygiene and safety—salons will be judged on these as much as their professional skills. With strict social distancing, pre-screening, protective gear for experts and new service protocols, a salon visit will be a completely different experience,” explains Shenai.


All Hands On Hygiene
While most of the salons are particular about their hygiene measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has called for a stricter  implementation. Gupta states that in his salon, the temperature of each staff member is recorded and registered on a daily basis.
Disposables have replaced lush linens. All technicians wear disposable gloves as a part of the SOP for each customer. They also  wear face masks, and face shields to limit exposure.

It’s a two-way measure where not just the staff but customers will also be checked upon visiting. The common measures include  temperature checking, filling in health declaration, safety validation through Arogya Setu App, and hand and feet sanitisation.


The salons have been instructed to follow guidelines issued by the government and Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council. “We are carrying out daily deep cleaning and regular disinfection of every touchpoint throughout the day with a biosurfactant cleaner. Apart from the protective gear for the team, we are focussing on using only single-use kits for 90 per cent of the services. Though, we haven’t taken off any service from the menu, we have revised the processes for skin, hair and make-up services to reduce touch. This has been done after the review of a medical professional we have on board. We are also encouraging contactless billing and payments,” says Shenai.

Plan It Well
If you decide to visit the salon, what is expected of you? Apart from wearing your masks and gloves, cooperate with the staff. “We would request customers to follow the government guidelines to ensure safety for themselves and the salon teams. This includes pre-booking their appointment so we can manage social distancing, avoiding a visit if they are unwell, allowing the teams to check their temperature, using the Aarogya Setu app and making digital payments,” says Shenai.


Grooming Products—New v/s Old
Another grooming fact that has surfaced during the lockdown period is an increased need for the at-home grooming products. To understand this, it’s imperative to look back at the men’s grooming industry that it was five to seven years ago. The use of at-home men’s grooming products was still at its nascent stage. Men were more dependent on their local barber, barely used specific skincare or hair care products, ignored their skin type and skin issues before investing in a product, and their grooming needs were restricted to a monthly haircut and regular beard trims.

Since the last five to seven years, the men’s grooming industry has evolved. There has been an increased awareness regarding the product need, ingredients, and specific grooming ranges. The industry has become inclusive of men’s needs and men have become aware of their grooming needs. During the lockdown, brands cashed in upon products catering to at-home skin and hair treatments. “Our sales have increased by 40 per cent annually since we started, and that has taken a sharp increase during this period where we were overwhelmed by orders for our grooming products during May/June once deliveries opened up,” says Gupta regarding the TrueFitt & Hill men’s grooming product ranges.


What’s important to note is that going forward, not only will the grooming needs change, customers will have more time to research and make an even more informed choice. “Proximity, transparency and trust will be the key elements in the post COVID-19 world as more consumers will become particular about the quality of the personal and skin care products they are buying. This would further boost the demand for natural and high quality beauty products which have a high trust and credibility value,” explains Neha Rawla, Head Brand Communications, Forest Essentails.


The pandemic has also made people think about unsafe practices which harm the environment. Now, it is expected that the customer will look at the ingredients used, their sources, product packaging and efficacy among other things. “Modern consumers are not only conscious of what they are putting onto their skin and hair, but are also considering the environmental impact of the products they are choosing to purchase. This is a very apparent trend,” concludes Rawla.

Also Read: #DIYDiaries: Natural Ways To Lighten Underarms, Elbow, Knees And Ankles
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