Changing lifestyles, demographic variations, demanding routines, vaster product choices and wider availability avenues have emerged as the key reasons for the escalating demand for "self-care" products among men in India.
"The possibilities for re-shaping masculinity to a more fluid definition with male-focused cosmetic products are infinite. Masculinity as a subject has been long overlooked, and with cosmetics for men, India will have a highly democratised beauty category", Gaurav Bansal, Brand Head, India Times Lifestyle Network (ILN), says.
According to a 2018 report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the market for men's grooming products is one of the fastest-growing product categories in the country, and it is expected to grow 45 per cent to cross $3 billion ( Rs.35,000 crore approx.) in three years.
In India, men aged between 25 and 45 spend more money on grooming and personal care products than women in the country. However, even today, the "Beauty For Men" business in India remains surrounded by stigmas and homophobic references.
"You'll be called a gay brand, the so-called alpha masculine community will boycott you, and men won't want to associate or interact with men's beauty brands here," notes Angad Bhatia, founder of India's largest online men's lifestyle brand – MensXP.
"But, in India's case, more than the stigmas, you get to know about the opportunities that are available, because of the new-age community of very progressive Indian men who are unique and comfortable in their skin and body," Bhatia adds.
Currently, Indian shaving products, deodorants and antiperspirants contribute the most to the men's grooming market in India.
Broadening the product portfolio in the beauty category, brands like MensXP are introducing blemish balm (BB) creams, beard shaping pencils, face packs and special make-up products for men in India.
"We are a country obsessed with fair skin, and I will not shy away from crediting a certain brand that launched a special cream for men, because they were aware that most men in India were buying fairness creams which were made for women," Bhatia continues.
The young men of India are open to the concept of relying on cosmetics and make-up brands to look their absolute best for office, dates and even selfies.
"I am an aspiring actor-in-training and sometimes for performances, I need to use women's make-up on my skin. It's great to know that we are going to get our own range of products based on our skin types," Prashant Sharma, a 23-year-old student from Pune, explains.
"I am looking forward to beard pencils. The shape of my beard is never the way it would look good on camera," says Ravi Mishra, a 26-year-old journalist from New Delhi.
In 2007, Indian skincare brand Emami launched "Fair and Handsome" – a fairness cream for men, endorsed by superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Over a decade later, today brands like Garnier, Ustraa, MensXP Mud, Nivea, Gillette, Himalaya Men and Ponds Men among other brands are catering to the particular requirements of "beauty-conscious" males in the country.
"It feels really good to know that there is huge market potential and healthy competition in this category in India," Bansal notes.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.