Men’s grooming: Beyond bar soaps, razors and shampoos


The men’s section at Watsons Podium

Most men maintain a regimen limited to washing their faces, showering, shampooing and shaving. Using deodorant daily is a given, but the men’s grooming market is still a largely unfamiliar one, especially for Filipino males.

“Most Filipino men leave the decisions on what soap or shampoo to buy to their mothers, wives or girlfriends,” Karen Fabres, group marketing manager of Watsons Personal Care Stores, told .

If they had to do the buying themselves, it’s “grab and go”—the chore is over and done within a matter of minutes.

The Watsons team: Raissa Lerin, Luchie Arenas, Rizzalyn Tianzon, event host Victor Anastacio, Karen Fabres, Dharell Fontanilla and Ghera Ternal

In other countries in the region like South Korea, men are more particular about what they use on their faces and bodies. This is immediately apparent for visitors to Seoul, since standees—those glossy life-sized cutouts of impeccably groomed male celebrities—welcome them at the store entrances of numerous skincare brands.

“Social media has also made Filipinos aware of the wide range of skincare products targeted at the men’s market,” said Rizzalyn Tianzon, Watsons senior category manager for men’s grooming. “At Watsons, we want to communicate that we offer something for all markets.”

For two years now, Asia’s leading health and beauty retailer has been holding monthlong promotions featuring brands from the men’s category. At Watsons this June, Gillette razors and products from Safeguard Men are 50-percent off, while Old Spice, Axe and Belo Men products are 20-percent off.


Last year, Watsons focused on shaving and the wide selection of razors designed to give a cleaner, closer shave. “Now, we’re offering men a more wholistic solution with products for cleansing, shaving, moisturizing and refreshening,” Fabres said.

Watsons’ ongoing promotion until the end of June offers men’s products—including Gillette razors, Safeguard Men, Old Spice, Axe and Belo Men—at discounted prices.

While bar soap is still the most popular cleansing product among Filipino males, they wanted to make men aware that Watsons offers other formats like bath gels, liquid cleansers and facial scrubs and foams.

“These ‘higher order needs’ are there should they want to try them out at home,” Fabres said. “Another thing we have noticed is how men are really loyal to their brands. If they like how a product smells or if it works for them, they will stick with the brand and maybe later try a different format, like a shower gel.”


Many brands now also explore different ways to connect with their target market.
“It helps that brands like Ponds, Nivea and Axe have come up with more relatable communications,” Tianzon said. “For example, facial scrubs are being marketed now as key to ridding skin of the effects of pollution and everyday stress.”

Last week, Watsons held a “Bro Bootcamp” at the Watsons branch at Podium Mall in Ortigas where local celebrities Kiefer Ravena, Robi Domingo and John James Uy shared grooming tips using products that have worked for them and that are available at Watsons.

Most Filipino men still have a long way to go when it comes to building a grooming regimen, but things are looking up.

“Their involvement in the shopping mission is growing. They want to smell, feel and sample the products that end up on their face and body. They’re becoming more engaged,” Fabres said.

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