Australian-owned Black Leopard is becoming a growing presence in the premium male grooming market.
Grooming products for men is an increasingly competitive space, developing in Australia from a fairly low base into a category with a range of old and new players and a growing range of products on offer.
In a smallish market like Australia, home-grown brands are a particularly brave and admirable breed, though companies such as Aesop and Kevin Murphy are proving success can be had both home and abroad.
Melbourne’s Black Leopard is one of the new breed, and has already distinguished itself by introducing a bold, overtly masculine, “men-only” skincare range onto the market that encompasses 11 products including moisturiser, after-shave balm, eye cream, shampoo, body wash and hair styling cream. The product range has been developed by Cosmetic Chemist Richard Gonano, who has previously worked with the aforementioned Aesop and Kevin Murphy, as well as Sukin and Red Earth, Gonano was sourced by the brand’s founders, the Collins family.
“We’ve taken a very hands-on and rigorous approach in the development process, ensuring only the best products have made the cut,” says co-founder Murdoch Collins. “Put simply, we’ve created a skincare range in the same way we like our whiskey – smooth, refined and handcrafted.”
While it’s clear the modem gent is far more focused on a personal grooming routine than his father or his grandfather, he’s also increasingly time-poor and as such, is more likely to favour products that offer more than one trick. The Black Leopard range has pre-empted this trend by ensuring the products employ triple-action frmulas to hydrate, rejuvenate and soothe the full gamut of male skin types. It describes its signature blend as “earthy citrus”.
“We set out to create an unmistakably masculine range that was simple to use, easy to maintain and most of all, effective,” says Collins. “After extensive research and development, were been able to produce a top quality product range.”
Gonano nominates the after-shave balm ($49, 100ml) as his ‘hero product’ from the range – “It has a beautiful, soothing, herbal complex and is great for sensitive skin,” he says.
With its first standalone boutique now open on Chapel St in Melbourne’s South Yarra, Black Leopard is also eyeing off potential overseas opportunities after a glowing reception at the Cosmoprof Fair in Hong Kong in 2014.
Men’s Style’s preferences from the range? While in the shower, we’re big fans of the Hydrating Face Scrub ($29, 100ml) – Glycolic acid and Aloe Barbadensis combine to remove dead skin cells and give the face a fresh, renewed feel. We also rate the 2-in-1 Shave Gel Cleanser ($29, 100ml), which combines lavender and tea tree oil to make shaving a far smoother and all round more pleasurable experience.
We’re also with Gonano – the After Shave Balm ($49,100ml) rehydrates and restores red, dry, irritated, frequently shaved skin.
It’s becoming a crowded segment, male grooming, but a home-grown premium brand like Black leopard with a broad range of product based on quality ingredients most definitely has its place.
As seen in the Winter 2016 issue of Men’s Style.
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