2010 Is the “Year of the Beard”

by Paul Kaniewski

Year of the BeardFrom George Clooney’s close-cropped salt-and-pepper stubble, to Brad Pitt’s wild whiskers, facial hair is making a come-back in a big way.

Until recently, men with beards have had few choices when it comes to salon services and products.

Clean-shaven men can go to a local barbershop (and more recently to high-end men’s grooming salons), to have their facial hair taken off with a hot towel treatment and a straight razor shave. There they can relax, be pampered and perhaps purchase a shaving cream or shave kit for touchups at home.

For men with beards, the grooming option is often reduced to a trim at the kitchen sink with a pair of manicure scissors.

For barbers and stylists, the current beard trends and the lack of services and products provides a real opportunity to reach out to men and generate more business.

At Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers in New York City, which provides men with classic services such as shaves and shoe shines, there are a number of options for men with facial hair. Truman’s has offered beard shaping, moustache trims and neck shaves to men since they first opened their doors four years ago. Recently they’ve seen an increase in both men with facial hair and beard shaping.

“We’re seeing more men with beards. Right now, there’s a lot of interest in beard shaping and old school styles, like goatees and Van Dykes [a goatee-moustache combination]” said Garrett Pike, a barber at Truman’s. “There are more men with beards, but there are also men who have always had beards and who are taking more pride in them and in their appearance overall. If they didn’t come to us, they might be taking care of their beards at home.”

One misconception many people have is that men with beards just let them grow -- no maintenance required, but that is far from the truth. Most men with beards are taking care of them on a regular basis, whether it’s with daily neck shaves or a pass with clippers every few days. Exemplifying the pride that many men have for their beards is the proliferation of beard websites and online beard trimming tutorials. YouTube, for example, has over 500 clips dedicated to beard trims, and hundreds of other videos showing how to care for goatees and moustaches. Websites such as BeardLife hold beard contests and allow readers to submit pictures and comments about facial hair.

A barbershop or salon can easily integrate facial hair services and products into their existing menu. For salons that already offer shave services, the transition to the beard is an easy one. In place of a full shave, offer a neck shave, beard wash and beard shaping session to provide the “hot towel” experience to men who do not wish to part with their beards. “We have a lot of men that come in for a combination, where they’re getting a beard trim and also a shave,” noted Pike. “A good shave to the neck and cheeks can help define the beard.”

For salons with hair services only, a beard shaping can be a great add-on service to a man’s haircut. Truman’s offers a beard trim with clipper services and beard shaping for $30. For other ideas, just look to the world of hair care. Beard hair tends to be coarse, so one option is to provide a conditioner to help soften hair and provide shine. Many men with beards are familiar with color treatments (just look at the success of “Just for Men”), so beard coloring options may be just the thing for a man who wants to get out the gray. A good facial massage and beard wash can combat stress.

Salons and barbershops can increase the potential for retail sales by using products designed specifically for the beard. These products can be used for treatments and then offered for sale to customers. This increased potential for retail sales is a fairly new opportunity for barbershops and salons.

Until recently, there were no products for the beard available in the marketplace. Barbershops and salons offering beard services had to rely on hair shampoos, with mixed results. Since the skin under facial hair is even more sensitive than the skin on the scalp, this can lead to irritation, rash and itchiness. Fortunately, the interest in beard grooming has helped spur new product innovation, and there are now many product choices for individuals or salons looking to offer beard services.

Paul Kaniewski is the co-founder of Bluebeards Original Beard Products, a company dedicated to providing high-quality products to men with facial hair. He can be reached at paul@bluebeardsoriginal.com. For information about Bluebeards Original products, please visit the website, www.bluebeardsoriginal.com or contact the company at wholesale@bluebeardsoriginal.com.

Untitled Document