The Future of Male Grooming


Over the past decade it has been really interesting to see how attitudes have changed towards men’s grooming. To think that the UK’s grooming market is worth an estimated 1.5 billion a year is truly astonishing.

Now, male only grooming emporiums are emerging as the new barbershop with all the latest technology and gadgets creating a unique modern environment. 

The History of Barbering

Barbering is widely accepted as one of the oldest professions on earth. The Egyptians were instrumental in developing tools and techniques that we might use in hairdressing today. Even before the Egyptians, archaeologists have unearthed simple cutting implements for shaving and cutting hair. With its varied past, barbering has had a dual role of surgeons performing bloodletting and tooth removal. The community barber held one of the most esteemed and privileged positions in society. Barbershops were the hub of debate and topical conversation. 

The fact is that barbershops have been under threat from unisex salons for quite sometime. The image of barbering has been one of non-creative, form and function hairdressing where as unisex salons offer men’s latest in fashion trends. This all started in the 70’s and 80’s where men started growing their hair and wearing it much longer after the footballers and celebrities of their day. Traditional barbers found it difficult working with longer hair, on the other hand hairdressers had no problem perming, colouring and blow drying (it’s all in a days work). Slowly but surely barbering lost some of it’s cachet.  The art of shaving was on the verge of being lost. This was due to the fact men could readily practise shaving at home. With less and less demand for this service in a barbershop, generations of men were not shown the right shaving techniques and correct products from a professional barber. 

 The Empire Strikes Back!

Since the 90’s product companies have responded swiftly by providing men only product lines exclusively focusing on men’s needs. Cashing in on this highly lucrative male market which has now evolved providing a large range of traditional services with a modern twist. At present we are seeing a massive rival of male only establishments. Barbers have now re-trained themselves to provide a much wider variety of services, including traditional wet shaves, colouring and hair tattooing. This is a true evolution of the modern barbershop, which had to keep ahead in a very competitive market. What we are seeing now is a skills shortage in unisex salons. With some hairdressers not fully understanding the principles of cutting a masculine shape and understanding key principles of finishing techniques.

 The Future

There is truly a bright future in the men’s grooming industry. 

As long as hair professionals continue to embrace new ideas and skills whilst not forgetting age old principles. Men’s grooming is now well supported by large companies pouring millions of pounds into research and development of products for the professional and consumer market. We still have a long way to go to match the dizzy heights of the hairdressing industry. I guess that’s why there is still so much more potential in the men’s grooming. 

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