Whisky with a wax? South Africa rides ‘metrosexual’ wave

Viet Nam News - - LIFE&STYLE -

JOHANNESBURG — Be­fore male beauty par­lours be­gan pop­ping up in South Africa a few years ago, im­age-con­scious men like Ger­hard Jou­bert felt awk­ward be­ing pam­pered and preened in sa­lons filled with women.

“It’s a male en­vi­ron­ment. They give you a whisky if you want a whisky. In the old days we had to go to fe­male hair sa­lons,” said Jou­bert, re­clin­ing in a lux­ury leather chair for a pedi­cure in Sor­bet Man, a men-only par­lour in Johannesburg.

“I think we need to look bet­ter after our­selves. I think it’s of­ten been ig­nored, par­tic­u­lar in South Africa.”

Two decades ago, well­groomed celebri­ties such as David Beck­ham be­gan to change tra­di­tional at­ti­tudes to­wards mas­culin­ity, en­cour­ag­ing swathes of men to take greater care of their ap­pear­ance and em­brace the use of beauty prod­ucts.

South Africa has been slow to catch the “metrosexual” wave, but a grow­ing mid­dle class and the spread of fash­ion trends on so­cial me­dia has seen global com­pa­nies such as Unilever, Proc­ter & Gam­ble and L’Oreal tar­get more prod­ucts at African men.

Sa­lon chains are open­ing menonly par­lors to sell these prod­ucts and to meet the de­mand for ev­ery­thing from man­i­cures to eye­brow thread­ing.

Sor­bet Man was launched as a spinoff from a women’s sa­lon brand three years ago and now has 20 fran­chise stores. It ex­pects turnover to rise 50 per cent this year.

Ri­val male beauty shops are spring­ing up.

“I think over the years the stigma about male groom­ing has re­ally lim­ited men from ba­si­cally ex­press­ing them­selves,” said Dex­ter Pil­lay, co-owner of Be­spoke Man, a sa­lon in Johannesburg’s busi­ness dis­trict.

“It’s changed now so dras­ti­cally where men are more metrosexual.”

The global male groom­ing prod­uct mar­ket is ex­pected to reach US$76 bil­lion by 2023 from $58 bil­lion in 2017, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try re­search.

Africa of­fers com­pa­nies the chance to tar­get mil­lions of new con­sumers.

“Africa’s youth­ful pop­u­la­tion is seen as a mar­ket op­por­tu­nity as man­u­fac­tur­ers look to tar­get the young mod­ern male who is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly con­scious about ap­pear­ance,” said Ni­cola Cooper, a trend an­a­lyst. — REUTERS

Sor­bet.co.za

Groovy groom­ing: Sor­bet Man was launched as a spinoff from a women’s sa­lon brand three years ago and now has 20 fran­chise stores. Male beauty shops are spring­ing up in Africa. — Photo

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