Discerning tastes: Indian males ready to splash the cash on grooming products as knowledge soars

By Nurul Ain Razali

- Last updated on GMT

The D-Tan scrub is gel-based with various bioactives like ‘palash’ extract for the cooling menthol effect and Carica papaya. [Braavoking]
The D-Tan scrub is gel-based with various bioactives like ‘palash’ extract for the cooling menthol effect and Carica papaya. [Braavoking]

Related tags men's grooming Gen Z hemp oil India

Indian males are becoming more willing to invest in skin care products, with the sector tipped for double-digit growth over the next four years, claims a former Coca-Cola and Mondelez exec who co-founded male grooming brand Braavoking.

From 2015 to 2016, Gaurav Modi, 32, said his own market surveys observed that college-level students or the Gen Zs spent around 100 to 300 rupees (US$1.20 to US$3.70) a month on simple grooming products like deodorants.

Today, the Gen Zs in college spend around 2,000 to 3,000 rupees (US$25 to US$37) a month for targeted grooming products like wax, shampoo, beard oil and cleansers.

Based on such spending habits, Modi said the Indian male grooming market is forecasted to grow 12% to about 5.5 crores (US$700,000) by 2026.

“Grooming is among the more important factors today due to the presence of social media and feeling the pressure to look good. Movies are also portraying characters with beards. Five to 10 years ago, we were good at saving.

“Today, people are spending good amounts of money on this. They use shampoo, wax and beard products, promoting the growth of the men’s grooming sector and FMCG by 12% annually until around 2026.

“The Indian FMCG market is valued at 260,000 crores (US$32.7bn), of which around 50,000 to 55,000 crores comprise personal care. From the personal care segment, 5 to 5.5 crores are derived from the male grooming market,” ​he said.

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Braavoking, established in January 2021, produces nine SKUs like hair wax, shampoo, beard care and cleansers that cost between 349 and 699 rupees (US$4.40 to US$8.80). The products usually take 20 to 25 days to make following heritage recipes from Modi’s grandparents and could last up to five months.

The firm utilises online retail channels, such as its e-commerce website and platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Nykaa. Its products are also available at 200 hair salons across Gujarat (west India).

“Our firm utilises the salons because we observe that customers always ask their barber what to do. They won’t go directly to medical stores or pharmacies. These shops also usually have over 20,000 SKUs. Therefore, we want to focus on acquiring customers and growing 150% by Q4 2023. Our current revenue is five lakhs (US$6,300) a month,”​ he said.

The brand’s bestsellers are the D-Tan Scrub Gel and the two-in-one Face & Beard Wash. According to Modi, scrubs are usually cream-based, but the brand introduced a gel-base scrub with walnut beads, pomegranate oil, aloe vera, ‘palash’ or ‘kesudo’ extract (a Flame of the Forest tree species native to Gujarat) for the cooling menthol effect and Carica papaya​ so consumers could use it every day. Usually, scrubs are recommended to be done only once or twice a week.

The gel scrub costs 369 rupees (US$4.70) and could allow 20 to 25 scrub sessions. In contrast, one session at a salon with scrub and hair care would have set consumers back anywhere from 500 to 1,000 rupees (US$6.30 to US$12.60).

Braavoking has also introduced a waterless cleanser, but Modi said it required more exposure because the target audience could not fathom ‘washing’ faces without water.

“The audience needs more awareness and education on waterless products. To them, ‘washing’ a face without water is a miracle. They’ll ask what rubbish that is. Hence, we are executing an awareness campaign for it,” ​he said.

Another USP of the brand is its claim to using natural ingredients, such as Irish moss, ‘palash’, nettle extract and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. For CBD oil, Modi said the ‘male’ and ‘female’ seeds are used separately to capitalise on their respective benefits to penetrate up to the fourth of the seven layers of skin.

For its beard oil, the differentiating factor is its use of natural oils and not synthetic, mineral-based ones. It is a concoction of 31 herbs and cold-pressed sesame, coconut, olive, macadamia, argan and almond oils.

“Our firm is a self-funded company. My past experiences taught me how brands work, cost management, sales, operations management, marketing and people management. When discussing growth, I want something beyond what I got from Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Mattel,”​ said Modi.

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