Shave gels and creams are lathering up manufacturer and distributor support. Lynn Porter, health and beauty care category manager at Millbrook Distribution Services, Leicester, Mass., expressed enthusiasm about the new wave of shaving preparations entering the market.
"It started in the last year or two, with the introduction of Skintimate and then Gillette's Satin Care and Barbasol's Pure Silk," she said. Though men's products still outsell women's, with some industry observers citing the breakdown as about 80% men's to 20% women's, much of the growth in the shave prep business is in women's shaving products.
The women's shave preps as well as the high-end men's gels carry about 15% or 20% margins, while traditional men's creams, such as Gillette's Foamy, Colgate cream and Barbasol cream, are netting about 5%. Manufacturers have been quick to expand the women's shave prep category.
Gillette, Boston, entered the women's shave gel market in May, 1995, with two Satin Care entries: dry skin and sensitive skin. This past April, it introduced two additional Satin Care stockkeeping units: skin softening and extra protection.
Colgate-Palmolive Co., New York, has 11 different varieties or "flavors" of shaving cream in the United States, said Pat Weakley, senior product manager. Colgate considered launching women's products, but decided not to extend the Colgate name into the female shave segment, she said.