When I think about male grooming, years of living with Mr Allen had me believe that they only worry about the three verbs beginning with the letter “S”. Sorry, I tried to put that as discretely as possible. So you can imagine my surprise when I was out the other night and found out that the grooming and skincare concerns of Australian men are actually a lot more complex (and a little bit amusing).
Let me set the scene. Out at a party. Arrived late from work.. Everyone else… merry on truth serum. I join conversation with four twenty-something men.
I hear the following things:
Male A: “…or the worst is when you have the dreaded nose hair and you hold the tweezers there for ages because you know the pain that is coming. And then when it does come out, you cry.”
Rest of males laugh in agreement. Then stop and make pained faces.
Me: “Why don’t you use nose clippers?”
Male A: “No don’t like them. You can cut yourself and then it scabs.”
Never knew this. I was intrigued to see where else the conversation would go.
Male B to rest of males: “And back hair, don’t get me started on back hair. I once waxed but it hurt so much I want to try laser. Have you guys tried laser? Where is good laser?”
This conversation went on for quite some time and more revelations ensued. I deduced that Australian men are becoming increasingly interested in grooming but they perhaps don’t know where to turn or what services/products exist to address their needs. This got my blogging brain going…
So I got together with Elliot Waldron, founder of Melbourne male skincare brand Hunter Lab to get his thoughts on the rising interest of grooming amongst Australian men.
How did your involvement with Hunter Lab come about and how long have you been at it?
Hunter Lab was born in 2013 when we realised that a men’s skincare revolution in Australia was being held back not by a lack of manly motivation, but by an absence of skincare brands which men associate and engage with, and are not embarrassed to add to their daily grooming routine. Add a desire to craft products made from the best of mother nature and we had the nucleus of a business concept.
Do you think Australian men worry about their grooming and/or appearance more than they like to let on?
Men worry about a lot of things more than they let on! The way you look and feel has a direct impact on confidence levels, so when you’re not feeling at the top of your game it’s often due to feelings of insecurity around appearance and health. I’m not sure if the average bloke worries about skincare, but he’s definitely curious.
Do you think there is much of a difference between Aussie men’s attitudes towards grooming and European men? What are the most distinct ones?
Europe is further advanced along the skincare path; their serious exposure to skincare began back in the ’90s. It’s taken 10 or so years to reach those levels in Australia, and because of that our attitudes aren’t as developed. So we’ve been slower to get over the skincare stigma and stop confusing wanting to look good and paying attention to our appearance as something feminine (no offence ladies). We are now realising there is no shame in wanting to get the absolute best out of ourselves in all facets and that includes the health of our skin.
During your time at Hunterlab have you noticed trends in male grooming?
The biggest trend has been the amount of guys who are really enjoying using skincare daily, and who have taken it to the next level by adding an anti-ageing product to their routine. And that’s because they have now become aware of the later-in-life effects of the ageing process and, because of their new found confidence to spend time on themselves, have decided to take the fate of their looks into their own hands. Guys are absolutely amazed at the noticeable difference a 10-15 second daily application can make.
How does your brand stand out from other brands marketed to men?
We’re natural and we’re Australian, we’re all about efficacy and pleasure of use, and we’re a brand men are proud to tell their mates about and display in their bathrooms.
I took it one step further and issued some of the guys involved in the earlier conversation (and a few others) with Hunter Lab products to test out for three weeks. At the end of the three weeks I asked the obliging gentlemen to let me know how they found the products and if they would consider making them a part of their daily routine.
Meet the test group:
Each participant was given one of the following Hunter Lab products to road test:
Without telling you who-said-what, here were their responses at the end of the trial period (some of these guys should consider an alternate career in comedy!):
And there you have it, whether they’re 27, 35 or 41; a plumber, a radiographer or a public servant; someone who takes inspiration from Mohammed Ali, Heston Blumenthal or Adam Sandler; these Aussie men on the whole enjoyed using these skincare products and found improvements to their skin.
Gentlemen I hope you continue to enjoy these super natural skincare tools and for anyone else who is interested, you can find out more about the Hunter Lab range via their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Website. They are stocked
Many thanks to Hunter Lab for their involvement with this story and to the nine gentlemen for participating.
If you think you can work out who gave which reply, feel free to leave your guesses in the comments below- see if you can pick the twins and the two brothers! And if you enjoyed this post, you can also read my other skincare reviews here.