Why Men’s Skincare Is No Longer Niche

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DTRT/Malin + Goetz/Maapilim

The morning routine sequence of the cult hit American Psycho offers a peek into the sociopathic and narcissistic protagonist’s rather elaborate skin care routine. But what was meant to be a jab at the elitist and vanity-obsessed lifestyle of the high-flying Wall Street banker is now an actuality. Male skincare has arrived. And it’s not just the rich finance bros who’re all up in it. Millennials and hipsters alike have given in to the undeniable pull of the complex skincare routine.

According to a Mintel study that surveyed about 1,000 male personal-care product users in the U.S., 70 percent said they use sun protection items while nearly two-thirds said they used facial care products. The study also showed a sharp increase—as much as 84 percent—in the use of facial skincare among those between 18 and 44.

Moreover, a men’s personal care market report by Allied Market Research estimates that the global market is expected to garner $166 billion by 2022. While Europe and Asia currently hold the lead in this category, America is catching up.

There are many factors responsible for this sudden upsurge: Shift in lifestyles, disposable incomes, a growing interest in health and wellness and just a general disposition to look and feel younger.

And rest assured, brands are milking this boom for all its worth. The thriving industry has been instrumental in giving a significant push to large skincare players including Clinique, Kiehl’s and Tom Ford, all of whom have launched entire skincare lines dedicated to men. But serious skincare aficionados don’t want to invest in big brand names. They want to know what is in their products. Niche and emerging brands are the underdogs of the industry that cater to these exact needs by offering straightforward solutions.

But what are they and should you be using them? We look at the best niche and cult skincare brands that are on our list for 2019.

Olivina Men

“Classic and Essential Grooming for Men Who Care”—this Nashville-based brand stands by their motto by creating practical products that are focused on function, fragrance and ingredients. Although limited, their line of products includes almost everything essential from scrubs and soap bars to beard oils and anti-aging creams. Their hero product? The All-in-One Bourbon Cedar Body Wash.

You can also rest assured that unlike most skincare and beauty brands that are owned by L’Oréal or Estée Lauder, Olivina Men is part of an independent creative studio called Designworks, which relies on quality instead of flashy advertising.

Recipe for men

You’ve heard of Scandinavian style, but following in its footsteps is the local grooming industry. Just like clothing brands that align themselves with sophisticated tailoring and minimalism, the skincare industry is also using simplicity as its biggest sell. One such brand is Recipe for Men.

Started in 2002, the skincare label currently runs three different lines: Logical Skincare Recipe for men, C/O Recipe and Raw Naturals Brewing Company. All products are developed in Sweden and focused on problem-solving by using cutting-edge formulas. Each product is designed with a particular skincare issue in mind, hence their range is more elaborate than most.


If Swedish skincare doesn’t catch your fancy, try Maapilim, a grooming and skincare brand that offers handcrafted products created with natural ingredients from the Mediterranean.  A fairly new name in the industry, the brand got its start in 2015 in Tel Aviv and has already generated huge buzz within skincare buffs. Their products use a blend of the region’s naturally occurring extracts and safe synthetics and are meant to reflect “life by the sea.”

You can choose from a variety of face cleaners, mud masks, lip balms as well as a mix of grooming and hair products. Although not stocked extensively within the U.S., the online shop offers quick delivery and free returns.


We all know Korean skincare is all the rage and for good reason. The country has mastered effective skincare routines and formulated an international reputation for flawless glass-like skin. However, until recently, that was limited to women’s skincare brands. DTRT is the latest and a rare entrant straight from Korea that caters to men.

The brand offers an array of hair, body and skincare products. Some of their best sellers include foam cleansers, toners and “matte” lotions, which aim to tackle oily skin concerns and promise to hydrate your skin without drying. The all-natural range of ingredients that contain chamomile, lavender, rosemary, sage and peppermint are also a great option for anyone with sensitive skin.

Malin + Goetz

Perhaps the most popular brand on this list, but still a winner, Malin + Goetz claims to offer “simple skincare solutions” without “sacrificing luxury.” Although priced a little higher than most other brands, you don’t have to stray too far to grab a bottle of their rum body lotion or their brightening enzyme mask.

Based in New York, the brand is locally owned and operated and uses advanced technologies to craft their products. Drop by their Chelsea outpost to try their delicious smelling range of moisturizers made from botanical-based fatty acid technology or facial cleaners that use amino acids in order to hydrate but not leave the skin dry.

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