Natural Foods Merchandiser

Men save skin with natural shaving products

It?s a quintessentially American image, one played out in countless greeting cards, television commercials and movies: a father in front of a bathroom mirror, his face covered in white foam, teaching his young son how to shave. For a lot of men, shaving isn?t just a daily chore; it?s a time-honored masculine tradition, a ritual passed down from generation to generation.

Which is why it might be difficult for these men to step outside the world of conventional shaving products and give the expanding varieties of natural shaving supplies a try. Shaving behemoth Gillette?s advertising campaigns tell us that the company?s products are ?The Best A Man Can Get.? How could natural products be any better?

?I have to say, it?s a challenge,? says Stan Ades, founder of Pacific Shaving Co., a San Francisco-based manufacturer of an all-natural line of shaving oils. ?For men, shaving is a routine they?re used to, and changing that routine can be hard.?

But if the recent media hype surrounding the so-called ?metrosexual? male is any indication, there are plenty of men out there who are interested in going above and beyond the personal care techniques their fathers taught them.

Market research firm The NPD Group reported in 2003 that $52 million worth of men?s skin care products were sold in U.S. department stores, an increase of 10 percent from the year before. Accordingly, several lines of all-natural shaving products have recently sprung up. Big industry players such as Jason, Kiss My Face, Burt?s Bees, Avalon and Tom?s of Maine have thrown their hats into the ring, while smaller upstarts like Ades? Pacific Shaving Co. and Pleasantville, Penn.-based Herban Cowboy have emerged as well.

Some in the industry think the market for natural shaving supplies has always existed, but that there simply weren?t many products available. ?There?s been a lot of attention in the media given to the rise of the ?metrosexual male,? in addition to the hype surrounding [Bravo Television show] Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,? says Janette Barredo, public relations manager for The Art of Shaving, a New York-based retail store and producer of premium, all-natural shaving products. ?But we believe that men have always been ready for skin care. They just hadn?t been catered to.?

There?s a definite distinction between conventional shaving products and natural shaving products. ?The purpose of conventional shaving is hair removal, and that?s it,? Barredo says. ?The benefits of our products are twofold: We?re helping to remove hair, but we?re also taking care of the skin. The conventional shaving products often have synthetic fragrances and dyes in them that can be very irritating to the skin.?

Ades has been plagued by sensitive skin since he first reached shaving age, suffering, as many men do, from skin irritation, razor burn and ingrown hairs. ?It was a case of necessity being the mother of invention,? he says. ?I had yet to find a shaving product that gave a close shave but still treated my skin right.?

Ades, whose background is in consumer marketing, got together with a chemist and spent six months developing a shaving oil that met his criteria. The result was Pacific Shaving Co.?s all-natural shaving oil line.

Made from a variety of essential oils and fruit extracts, the shaving oil has met with extremely positive feedback from users, the company says. It offers a close shave, and its essential oils are therapeutic for the skin, acting as conditioner and moisturizer. And it?s worth noting that, while the company skews toward men, a good 20 percent of its customers are women.

?I?ve found that there?s quite a niche to fill—a lot of people like me who were looking for an alternative to [conventional shaving products],? Ades says.

Myriam Zaoui and Eric Malka, the wife-and-husband founders of The Art of Shaving, discovered the same thing when they opened their first retail store in New York in 1996. Zaoui, a certified aromatherapist, formulated a line of shaving products that uses all-natural ingredients and pure essential oils.

?Most of the men who came into the store complained of razor burn and skin irritation [as a result of conventional shaving],? Barredo says. ?The products and techniques that Myriam came up with were very effective in getting rid of these problems.?

Today, The Art of Shaving also boasts retail stores in Las Vegas and Miami and produces a full line of shaving creams, brushes, razors and other skin care paraphernalia. Additionally, the company?s Web site has a wide array of shaving tips, including the ?Four Elements of a Perfect Shave.?

?People think that the techniques we recommend will take much longer than they actually do,? Barredo says. ?But they won?t take you more than four or five minutes.?

According to Barredo, men are extremely open to these conventional shaving alternatives?they just need to know about them. ?We?ve found that the best way to get to these customers is through education,? she says. ?Once you explain the benefits to them, they?re excited about upgrading their shaving routine.? To this end, the company has a number of shaving specialists around the country who travel to retailers to extol the virtues of the all-natural approach to shaving.

Ades agrees that once the benefits are made clear, men will purchase these kinds of products. ?I think that it?s starting to become more acceptable for men to take better care of their skin,? he says. ?They?re less concerned about their idea of masculinity, and they?re seeing the benefits. You know, they?ll try some moisturizer and say, ?Wow, it really works!? I liken it to TiVo?you?ve just got to try it, and then you?ll understand.?

It?s a quintessentially American image, one played out in countless greeting cards, television commercials and movies: a father in front of a bathroom mirror, his face covered in white foam, teaching his young son how to shave. For a lot of men, shaving isn?t just a daily chore; it?s a time-honored masculine tradition, a ritual passed down from generation to generation.

Which is why it might be difficult for these men to step outside the world of conventional shaving products and give the expanding varieties of natural shaving supplies a try. Shaving behemoth Gillette?s advertising campaigns tell us that the company?s products are ?The Best A Man Can Get.? How could natural products be any better?

?I have to say, it?s a challenge,? says Stan Ades, founder of Pacific Shaving Co., a San Francisco-based manufacturer of an all-natural line of shaving oils. ?For men, shaving is a routine they?re used to, and changing that routine can be hard.?

But if the recent media hype surrounding the so-called ?metrosexual? male is any indication, there are plenty of men out there who are interested in going above and beyond the personal care techniques their fathers taught them.

Market research firm The NPD Group reported in 2003 that $52 million worth of men?s skin care products were sold in U.S. department stores, an increase of 10 percent from the year before. Accordingly, several lines of all-natural shaving products have recently sprung up. Big industry players such as Jason, Kiss My Face, Burt?s Bees, Avalon and Tom?s of Maine have thrown their hats into the ring, while smaller upstarts like Ades? Pacific Shaving Co. and Pleasantville, Penn.-based Herban Cowboy have emerged as well.

Some in the industry think the market for natural shaving supplies has always existed, but that there simply weren?t many products available. ?There?s been a lot of attention in the media given to the rise of the ?metrosexual male,? in addition to the hype surrounding [Bravo Television show] Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,? says Janette Barredo, public relations manager for The Art of Shaving, a New York-based retail store and producer of premium, all-natural shaving products. ?But we believe that men have always been ready for skin care. They just hadn?t been catered to.?

There?s a definite distinction between conventional shaving products and natural shaving products. ?The purpose of conventional shaving is hair removal, and that?s it,? Barredo says. ?The benefits of our products are twofold: We?re helping to remove hair, but we?re also taking care of the skin. The conventional shaving products often have synthetic fragrances and dyes in them that can be very irritating to the skin.?

Ades has been plagued by sensitive skin since he first reached shaving age, suffering, as many men do, from skin irritation, razor burn and ingrown hairs. ?It was a case of necessity being the mother of invention,? he says. ?I had yet to find a shaving product that gave a close shave but still treated my skin right.?

Ades, whose background is in consumer marketing, got together with a chemist and spent six months developing a shaving oil that met his criteria. The result was Pacific Shaving Co.?s all-natural shaving oil line.

Made from a variety of essential oils and fruit extracts, the shaving oil has met with extremely positive feedback from users, the company says. It offers a close shave, and its essential oils are therapeutic for the skin, acting as conditioner and moisturizer. And it?s worth noting that, while the company skews toward men, a good 20 percent of its customers are women.

?I?ve found that there?s quite a niche to fill—a lot of people like me who were looking for an alternative to [conventional shaving products],? Ades says.

Myriam Zaoui and Eric Malka, the wife-and-husband founders of The Art of Shaving, discovered the same thing when they opened their first retail store in New York in 1996. Zaoui, a certified aromatherapist, formulated a line of shaving products that uses all-natural ingredients and pure essential oils.

?Most of the men who came into the store complained of razor burn and skin irritation [as a result of conventional shaving],? Barredo says. ?The products and techniques that Myriam came up with were very effective in getting rid of these problems.?

Today, The Art of Shaving also boasts retail stores in Las Vegas and Miami and produces a full line of shaving creams, brushes, razors and other skin care paraphernalia. Additionally, the company?s Web site has a wide array of shaving tips, including the ?Four Elements of a Perfect Shave.?

?People think that the techniques we recommend will take much longer than they actually do,? Barredo says. ?But they won?t take you more than four or five minutes.?

According to Barredo, men are extremely open to these conventional shaving alternatives?they just need to know about them. ?We?ve found that the best way to get to these customers is through education,? she says. ?Once you explain the benefits to them, they?re excited about upgrading their shaving routine.? To this end, the company has a number of shaving specialists around the country who travel to retailers to extol the virtues of the all-natural approach to shaving.

Ades agrees that once the benefits are made clear, men will purchase these kinds of products. ?I think that it?s starting to become more acceptable for men to take better care of their skin,? he says. ?They?re less concerned about their idea of masculinity, and they?re seeing the benefits. You know, they?ll try some moisturizer and say, ?Wow, it really works!? I liken it to TiVo?you?ve just got to try it, and then you?ll understand.?

A nice clean shave
Conventional shaving products may produce a fabulous lather, but they do little to benefit the skin and may even harm it. Scan the ingredients on a can of conventional shaving cream, and you?ll see butane and triethanolamine, both possible human carcinogens. At the end of the list, you might find aloe, but little else listed can give the skin the soothing it needs after a shave.

Natural personal care manufacturers have remedied this situation by introducing shaving products that get the job done and soothe and moisturize the skin. Check out the label on a natural shaving product, and you?re likely to find the following:

  • Aloe (soothes and moisturizes)
  • Calendula extract (calms and heals)
  • Chamomile extract (soothes)
  • Essential oils of citrus (fragrance)
  • Hazelnut oil (nourishes and moisturizes)
  • Lavender oil (mild astringent)
  • Olive oil (moisturizes)
  • Passionflower (calms and soothes)
  • Vitamin A (an antioxidant)
  • Vitamin E (moisturizer and antioxidant)
  • Witch hazel (astringent)

—T.W.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 9/p. 96

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish