When Barbie Dumps Ken for Michelin Man - Beauty Industry Meets Automotive Giants, FaceLube Announces Summary of Multi-Year Study

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With the women’s beauty segment approaching saturation, increasing competition and diminishing profits, the beauty industry, like a seductive siren with its melodic promises of youth in a bottle, turned its attention toward assimilating new prey - men. Despite the much touted growth, the new FaceLube study shows that the size of the men’s skin care market is a scrawny disappointment compared to the women’s.

FaceLube Masculine Men's Grooming & Anti-Aging Skin Care Products

FaceLube Masculine Men's Grooming & Anti-Aging Skin Care Products

The automotive industry is the white knight that the beauty industry has been seeking all along. No one knows men as well as the automotive industry

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FaceLube just released the summary of its multi-year study, ‘Beauty Meets Beast: Behind the Scenes with Beauty Industry & Automotive Giants’. Barbie and the Michelin Man are as unlikely a pair, as beauty creams and motor oils. Having little in common, their chance meet-up's are car shows, where the Michelin Ride is the star attraction and Barbie takes her place on the side as optional equipment.

In the past decade there has been an accelerated interest in the men’s grooming sector, with several major beauty companies jockeying for prime retail and ad space for their newly minted men’s skin care products line. Meanwhile, small players followed suit with independent retailers and online.

Although the men’s grooming segment, particularly the men’s skin care and anti-aging sector, consistently surpassed all other beauty segments in the personal care category, the size of the men’s grooming market is still relatively small compared to the women’s.

According to the study's author, FaceLube founder, Candace Chen, “Several major beauty companies either pulled their men’s skin care lines from premium retail shelves, or otherwise limited their exposure. Today, the majority of the largest beauty companies in the world have no men’s skin care line, or no foreseeable plans of pursuing one”.

Fascinated by this phenomenon, FaceLube began a multi-part study starting with extensive interviews with beauty industry's senior management, whose companies are among the twenty largest beauty companies in the world ranked by revenue, and with small regional beauty firms.

FaceLube found two fundamental problems, with which the beauty industry struggled. One, male consumers did not embrace men’s skin care and anti-aging products as expected, because of the social stigma and psychological barrier attached to men’s use of cosmetic products. Two, the beauty industry lacked the opportunity to educate men about the need for proper skin care routine, because men did not feel comfortable shopping at female-centric beauty retail venues.

When the beauty industry was asked to describe their ideal customer and the optimal retail environment for him, they were able to recite with perfect clarity his characteristics, income level, even make/model of cars he would drive. However, when told that the ideal customer and environment described was remarkably similar to those offered by the automotive industry, the beauty industry met the news with incredulity.

Chen recalls that, “Beauty companies large and small, denigrated the automotive industry as ‘grease monkeys’ and categorically dismissed the automotive retail environment as ‘dirty and dingy’. The beauty industry’s perception is far from reality. The US automotive aftermarket segment is a $210 billion per year sector. In comparison, the US beauty industry’s skin care market is around $4.5 billion per year. An average new car dealership generates more sales than a department store. A car is a significant investment and usually the second largest next to a home. Today’s automotive waiting rooms and showrooms offer car owners both comfort and convenience. Millions of dollars go toward making sure that these properties are inviting.”

Part two of the study involved interviews with both niche and major automotive industry insiders. When the automotive industry was asked for their impressions about the beauty industry, automotive generally belittled beauty as ‘girly fluff’ and minced no words in expressing their dismay at the beauty industry’s assaults on masculinity.

The two industries swapped misconceptions, until part three of the study, which brought both industries to the table in search of common ground, with FaceLube as facilitator. The study suggests that the automotive industry was unapologetically masculine, taking pride in the biggest, baddest engines with all the trimmings and reveled in pure muscle and horsepower.

Chen explains that, “The automotive industry pointed out that the beauty industry’s solution to eliminating the social stigma and psychological barrier attached to men’s use of skin care products - by idealizing the metrosexual image and ads touting the use of cosmetic products as a ‘masculine decision’, are unrealistic. The beauty industry should strive to work with men’s nature, not against it.”

The study notes that automotive industry demonstrated vision by being far more receptive about helping the beauty industry reach the male consumer and disseminate information about the lifestyle benefits of a properly maintained men’s skin care regimen, than the beauty industry, which needed time to digest a proposal that required courage and foresight.

Chen concludes that, “The beauty industry would benefit from these findings tremendously. An alliance with the automotive industry would offer the beauty industry unprecedented opportunity to cross promote with powerful world class brands and tap into a sophisticated retail network with strong ties to local communities. The automotive industry is the white knight that the beauty industry has been seeking all along. No one knows men as well as the automotive industry”.

With a proposal this tempting, Barbie may very well dump Ken for the Michelin Men.

About FaceLube -
FaceLube is a line of high performance results-based masculine men’s grooming and men’s skin care products. FaceLube was founded by Candace Chen, a 20 year veteran of the automotive industry and small business advocate. She is an appointed trade policy advisor on SMEs (Small & Medium Sized Enterprises) to two cabinet level officials - the US Secretary of Commerce and the US Trade Representative. Ms. Chen is a Next Generation member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the western affiliate of the Council on Foreign Relations. For more information please visit http://www.FaceLube.com.

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