Millennial men are ditching aftershave, but some are picking up a new product: beard oil.
Aftershave dollar sales within prestige beauty have fallen 11 percent in the last year, according to NPD analyst Kissura Craft. The problem? More young men perceive the product as one for old men, and fewer young men are shaving.
Facial hair has evolved from shabby to trendy, and the movement has created an opening for new beauty products. Beard-related products, such as oils and softeners, represent less than 1 percent of the men's prestige beauty market, Craft said, but product introductions have quadrupled since 2014.
Beard oils could help lift the struggling fragrance category. Sales growth for prestige fragrances — which tend to be pricier than those sold at drugstores — has remained relatively flat over the last year, Craft said, while makeup and skincare grew 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
"It's small, but hopefully this is the kind of innovation that prestige fragrance needs to shake things up and to help get the ball rolling again when it comes to sales," Craft said.
Beard oils have been traditionally more of a niche product, with smaller companies such as Beardbrand sprouting up and leading the movement. Now bigger brands are starting to hop on the bandwagon.
Burberry launched its Mr. Burberry fragrance line last year. It includes an aftershave balm and splash, as well as a beard oil and a hair and beard clay. Cartier launched its L'Envol de Cartier line last year, and with it, a beard oil.
Other luxury brands may follow suit, helping to grow the budding category, Craft said.
"If I could look into my crystal ball, I would see this continue to grow," she said. "At the end of this year it would still be small, but I'm thinking in three years time it may be up to 5 percent."
One day, she envisions men walking into Nordstrom and being able to easily find beard oils in the fragrance department. There, they would also find aftershave.
Despite declining sales, Craft does not think aftershave will completely disappear anytime soon. Baby boomers and Gen X-ers are still using the product, Craft said, even if their children and grandchildren aren't.