Posted by All-Nutrient Professional on Mar 14, 2017
Women have been dominating the salon industry for years, but more and more men want the same perks women get.
In fact, 25% of salon customers in 2015 were men! That’s a quarter of your entire clientele that is often getting neglected. So, as men are a rapidly growing part of the salon industry, we decided to dig deeper with master barber, Melissa Medeiros, to unveil reasons behind the surge and how salons can get on board.
As a graduate of the Menswork Academy, Melissa mastered barbering and learned logical and practical approaches, fused with modern cosmetology concepts. With over 20 years of experience, she holds a true talent for advanced techniques with clippers, shears, and razor cutting, including clipper-over-comb and free-hand clipper cutting skills.
What has changed in the salon industry in regards to male clientele?
According to Melissa, the word "metrosexual" has really taken on a different meaning. “Before, metrosexuals were the men who wanted the head massage and the full pampering of a salon visit, but now I think most, if not all men are metrosexual.”
For so long, our society has plugged into our heads that barbershops are for men and salons are for women, however the perception behind male grooming has completely shifted, making it more acceptable to visit a salon. Men are taking pride in their appearance now more than ever. So, because there is less stigma nowadays when it comes to male grooming, men in general are not only taking better care of themselves, but are also paying attention more to trends and salon services.
Why have stylists and salons tended to focus more on women over men?
"Money. That's what it all comes down to,” Melissa says. In the past, women typically spent more money in the salon because of straightening services, perms, color services, highlights, and more. But, that's changing as more men are coloring their hair and receiving more services in general, rather than just a quick trim. In 2016 it was predicted that men would bring in 21 billion dollars alone into the salon industry. So, if money is what it all comes down to, it’s time to start marketing to your men!
Why are many stylists afraid, or hesitant to cut men's hair?
Melissa says, “it's because we are not being trained for it in school. I remember back when I was in cosmetology school we spent one day, ONE DAY, on men's hair cutting. It was ‘okay, you have a clipper, you have a guard, now comb it this way and that.’ I think stylists would feel a lot more comfortable if the schools took some cues from barbering, or if they attended some barbering classes.”
Men’s haircuts can also be more challenging than women’s. According to Melissa, men have more cowlicks, or their hair might split, whereas women's hair tends to lay flatter. Men's haircuts are all about geometry, so there is more structure and a technical aspect to it. You can't hide in a men's cut, which is why it is all the more important to learn how to properly cut men's hair.
How can that change?
Education, education, education! We can’t stress this enough. The beauty of our industry is that it is always changing and with that comes the opportunity to constantly learn something new and improve or adapt your skills.
Melissa says, “If you feel nervous cutting men’s hair, go take a class, or become certified!”
To change the industry as a whole, Melissa thinks barbering techniques should be required in cosmetology school (and not just one day)! “When you think about it, 'what is cosmetology?' It's the study of all beauty, which is why my license covers things like nails and facials as well. Cosmetology touches on everything in the beauty industry, so why shouldn't it include all aspects of it? I think that once you have a general cosmetology license you should then choose a specialty and go from there.”
Why are more men nowadays visiting salons over barbershops?
A lot of barbershops have the "get them in and get them out" mentality; there's no added bonus, according to Melissa. Salons, however, offer more attention, including a complete service with a consultation, a head massage, and more.
Men have become more knowledgeable in the beauty industry, so they now know exactly what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. They're following more trends and learning about more services, so they are demanding more.
Men's trends are also a lot more acceptable in the workplace now. They used to cover up styles, such as undercuts, but with edgier looks becoming the norm, more men are comfortable with what's trending.
How can salons increase their male clientele?
The first step is to make men feel more comfortable in your salon. They don’t want to feel out of place while sitting in the waiting room, or at the chair. So, how do you go about making your salon “male-friendly?”
- “Imagery!” Melissa says. Salon imagery tends to be geared towards females, making men feel like they don’t belong. Fix this by adding more imagery that appeals to men, such as photos of males getting services done, or of men’s trends themselves.
- Look at your waiting area. What magazines do you offer? If all of the reading material in your waiting area is aimed at women, men again will feel out of place. Add in some sports, men’s, and general interest magazines so that it feels like a place for men AND women, not just one or the other.
- Consider having a “Men’s Services” menu. Men tend to want things simple and direct. They typically don’t want to have to scour through a list that includes bikini waxes, or that sounds “girly.” While they can still choose anything off of the women’s menu (and vice versa), this makes it easier for men to find exactly what they are looking for. Also, take a look at the names of your services. Again, keep them simple. Men are more likely to have a “skin cleansing” facial over an “exfoliating and purifying” one. Why? It’s brief and right to the point without sounding feminine.
- Become certified in barbering and have the certificate in a place where clients can easily see it. You can't have a salon that complements both sexes, but not be able to execute a men's cut. Men will feel confident having their hair cut in a salon when they can see the stylist is experienced and trained in barbering specifically. In turn, they’re more likely to recommend it to other men. Women are also more likely to tell their husbands, boyfriends, family members, ect. about it. Bottom line: Salons should offer the same quality of a cut for a man as they do for a woman.
- Have a men’s night! One of the reasons why men like barber shops is the comradery involved, but salons can do this too. Turn the TV to the big sports game that night and have beer and snacks available. Of course, include a special deal for men on that night as well. This is a great way to attract more men into the salon because they will SEE more men in your salon. You can also up the perks by adding in a referral discount for existing male clients that bring a friend.