Blogs for men who are not ashamed to look after themselves

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Quentin Masnada

Started back in 2013, Gentleman moderne is a lifestyle blog for the cool 21st century guy. It covers films, society, the latest tech gadgets and… beauty! Founder Quentin Masnada talks with us about the new expectations of men who are not ashamed to look after themselves.

Guys like beauty columns

From men’s beauty salons to specialised magazines and websites, today’s trend is for men to take care of themselves without being afraid to say so. “Beauty has become a hot-button topic for men, so it makes sense that we talk about it on Gentleman Moderne.” The blog now features a standalone beauty/well-being section partly because of repeated demand from readers. “There is a shortage of educational content covering the latest beauty trends and especially the more technical aspects of grooming, such as beard care and hair removal, which need special knowledge. A decade ago, guys would have called a section like this “girly”, but now it seems quite at home”. For maximum credibility, Quentin works with web writers who specialise in beauty. He says the blog’s typical reader is a digitally-savvy working man of around 30. “Our readership remains fairly diverse and is not necessarily urban, since just 14% of the blog’s traffic comes from Paris. Over 50,000 people, including 40,000 unique visitors, connect to the site each month. “Some come to us through social networks, but most get here after doing an internet search on a topic such as ‘best beard care products’. Men will often use the web to get opinions on products that they are interested in but do not usually buy. They want to get the best so that they are not let down.” The blog format helps readers find the information they want quickly and for free. “Our readers check the site before, during and after buying beauty products.” The blog is the perfect way for them to get the information they want right away. Also, readers and writers can connect through comments: “That makes reading the blog more fun and interactive”.

What men expect: beauty basics and product tests

Experts dissect the latest trends in the beauty/well-being section of the blog. “Gentleman Moderne readers are especially drawn to two types of articles: reviews of beauty basics and product tests.” By basics, Quentin means the beauty routines that a man needs to have if he wants to take care of his body, including skin cleansing and moisturising, and selecting the right solutions for the right skin type. Reflecting today’s hipster sub-culture, beard care routines are especially popular, offering tips on achieving a better-looking beard, washing with special shampoos, facial scrubs for men with beards, brushing, combing and more. “Times have changed. It has become normal for men to take care of themselves. Now they want information about men’s beauty, which is what we provide.” Quentin recently asked four famous bloggers, including the founder of the widely-read Bonne Gueule, to talk about their morning routine. It turns out they spend an hour in the bathroom on average, are fans of anti-aging moisturisers, brush with bifluoride toothpaste, and like to use special oils in their beards. “This hands-on article took us into the lives of the writers and was extremely well received.”

Guys also like articles on product tests, which introduce readers to new articles selected by specialists. Fragrances, shaving equipment and facial products attract particular interest. The blog promises to test products over time and to provide information about optimal use and efficiency. “We act as guinea pigs for our readers – our bathrooms look like cosmetic aisles”, Quentin jokes. Gentleman Moderne is also on the look-out for new concept stores from the beauty sector, such as Ep’ils, a Parisian beauty salon for the hirsute man, which Quentin recently visited. “Offering services such as total or partial hair removal, beard trimming and special hair treatments, these new sanctuaries for the modern man have been booming for a number of years.” Quentin senses that the “real-life” aspect of his articles appeals to readers, who may have their doubts, especially about anti-aging treatments, and who therefore appreciate reassurance about the benefits of the growing array of beauty products. “They are glad to know there are real people behind the articles, who have tested the products and are giving them an objective opinion.” To go a step further, Gentleman Moderne plans to open a YouTube channel that will back up its tests with bathroom tutorials. “Vlogger channels specialising in men’s beauty are beginning to pop up online. We are still well behind women YouTubers, but we’re getting there. There is a lot of room for growth in this type of content.”

Readers want more

The approach is proving popular: traffic on the blog is rising all the time and Gentleman Moderne even received an award in the Lifestyle category at the 2014 Golden Blog Awards, which cover the French-language blogosphere. “There is real educational work to be done to promote the gradual advance of men’s beauty. Our success shows that there is huge demand around the topic and not enough supply. Alongside blogs like mine, in-depth books such as the recently issued Practical guide to men’s beauty (in French) are a welcome arrival in the drive to develop cosmetics specifically for men.”

Consumption | January 2016