Men still make up a small portion of salon customers in the US, but their numbers are growing, especially in the 18 to 34 age group, a global market research group said.

In a report aimed at the salon industry, Mintel said last Tuesday that 52 per cent of the men it surveyed had gone to salons, which it broadly defined as anything from a luxury spa to a corner barber shop.

Fifty-eight per cent said they’d gone for a mere haircut. But among men aged 18 to 34, 25 per cent said they had gone for a manicure or pedicure, and 20 per cent had treated themselves to a facial.

“The men’s market is growing, although it’s (still) a small portion” of the overall market for beauty health and services, said Amy Ziegler, global personal care analyst at Mintel in Chicago.

She attributed the trend in part to a growing number of male-specific salons – often promoted through social media – “that are not so scary, and less intimidating” than traditional, female-oriented establishments.

“The men who are engaged (with going to salons) are very engaged. You can call them your ‘metrosexual’ men who are very concerned with their appearance,” Ziegler added.

“But I think there’s still that portion of men who may not have been interested, but who are hearing about them, and who are willing to try... and then think, ‘This isn’t so bad’ – and they’re going back.”

Mintel, which interviewed about 2,000 men and women for its report, also found the market for grooming and beauty services growing at a higher rate among Hispanics, blacks and Asians of both genders.

Blacks are especially keen on nail care, while Hispanics and, to a lesser extent, Asians are more interested in facials and massages, Ziegler said.

Coming out of the recession, Ziegler said, there is a “shift away from DIY,” with American consumers returning to salons for such treatments as hair colouring that they had opted to do at home to save money.

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