SAO PAULO: In the wealthy Jardins neighborhood of Sao Paulo, one street boasts five beauty salons, but the Mr. Jardins shop stands out from the pack – catering to a male clientele.
Men stop in for traditional haircuts and shaves, but also come for other treatments – waxing, waist-slimming massages, youth-boosting facials, skin cleanses, and even manicures.
In Brazil, men are the new target of a booming beauty industry.
Gregorio Mendes, the owner of Mr Jardins, says his salon, which opened five years ago, welcomes new clients “every day” who come in for a haircut, and end up taking advantage of the other services on offer.
“It’s a growing market. The misconception that a man who waxes is maybe not a real man is beginning to disappear,” Mendes said. “Men of all ages come here, either because they want to or because their wives, girlfriends or daughters bring them. It’s not a gay or straight thing. The important thing is that they want to look good.”
Marcos Costa, a tall, slim 44-year-old entrepreneur at Mr. Jardins, explains he does “everything possible” to make himself more attractive, but still sees a bit of a stigma attached to male primping.
“Women love for us to be well-groomed and smell good, but if they see us at the hair salon getting a manicure, that bugs them,” Costa said.
According to the Brazilian Association of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Industry, the beauty sector has grown 10 percent annually over the last decade, as 40 million people joined Brazil’s booming middle class.
Last year, the beauty market in Brazil generated $42 billion in sales, accounting for 10 percent of the world market, putting it in third place behind only the United States and Japan.
Dyes and tinted shampoos, matte nail polish, beard grooming products, moisturizers and hair removal creams for those afraid of hot wax are just some of the products being peddled to men, industry professionals say.
A spokeswoman for French cosmetics giant L’Oreal said: “We all see that this is a growing market that we are following carefully.”
Sergio Piao, an official with U.S. consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, noted “growth in sales of products for men practically doubled last year.”
With the Brazil World Cup in less than a year, football stars Lionel Messi and Pele are part of the company’s advertising campaign for its just-launched male anti-dandruff shampoo.
At Mr. Jardins, Mendes says his biggest problem is finding male estheticians trained in beauty services for men: “We need more professionals.”