Bluemercury founder barry beck talks about men’s grooming

by Brian Lipton
Barry Beck BlueMercury
Barry Beck

When it comes to grooming, men are becoming just as fastidious as women in making sure their skin and hair look and feel perfect.  Just ask Barry Beck, COO and co- founder of Bluemercury Inc., (now a division of Macy’s Inc.), which opens its 10th New York City store on Thursday, June 2 at 275 Greenwich Street.  Here, Beck shares some of his thoughts on this growing category, including the latest trends and hottest products.

MR: How would you categorize the men’s skincare market in 2016?

BARRY BECK: The men’s grooming market is a continually expanding component of our business. We see no signs of this slowing. Market intelligence agency Mintel predicts the men’s personal care category is expected to grow steadily into 2018.The shift stems from a perspective on men’s maintenance. It’s now considered a necessity rather than a luxury. At Bluemercury, we’re seeing men make repeat purchases – namely on fragrance, hair care, skincare, and shaving products. Although we’re seeing more men develop grooming routines, they do lean towards fuss-free care.

MR: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in that market in the past five years?

BB: Presenting a polished image now extends beyond apparel and a great watch. It’s hairstyle, fragrance, good skin. We’re seeing more men interested in luxury products and a curiosity about their ability to enhance image. There’s less fear around experimentation. Men still prefer a pared down routine, however, so multi-function, efficiency-centric products are popular.

BluemercuryMR: Are there any other trends you’ve noticed?

BB: We have spas in nearly every Bluemercury store, and we’re also finding more men requesting spa services.

MR: What kind of products are men gravitating to these days in Bluemercury?

BB: Men typically look for texture, packaging and scent when selecting their products. M-61 Skincare is a highly technical, natural cosmetic line we created. We find its sleek identity and efficient ingredients appeal strongly to both men and women. Some of Bluemercury’s other standouts are classics like Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair. It’s from Kiehl’s Age Defender, a line of men’s products with advanced, anti-aging properties. Products from the Jack Black line are also very popular. The Jack Black Protein Booster Eye Rescue and Double-Duty Face Moisturizer are formulated from plant extracts, herbs and botanicals. They’re also fragrance, colorant, cruelty-free and sulfate-free. The straightforward, natural approach of the line is appealing to our male customers.

BluemercuryMR: What about products for their hair?

BB: Bumble Smutch wax is popular. It’s another high-tech product, a molding compound – a wax, paste, crème combination. Men like the technology behind products like these. Oribe’s Rough Luxury Molding Paste is a very pliable product that works extremely well on both short hair and longer layers

MR: Are men more confident in what they want/need, or do they rely on the help/opinion of others?

BB: All of our beauty experts are highly educated in the field and genuinely want to find the right product for our customers. They’d rather a customer leave with an armful of samples to try than purchasing a product that won’t work for their needs. We’re huge samplers at Bluemercury. Since we’ve created a knowledgeable, in-store culture, men aren’t afraid to ask questions. We find they often know the function they are looking for but not necessarily the product itself.