It was the happiest day of Devir Kahan’s life; he was getting married to the love of his life. The one problem? A monster zit on his nose is memorialized in every photo the couple has from that day.
When Devir thinks back to that time, he remembers being embarrassed asking someone for makeup to help cover up that pimple. He thought it was ridiculous because men always wear makeup in front of the camera, so why wasn’t it normal to wear it on important days like your wedding or an important meeting?
In 2019, he teamed up with his co-founder Jon Shanahan to develop Stryx, specially formulated cosmetics and skin care products engineered for male skin in sleek minimal packaging so that customers don’t feel like they are using the same makeup products women do.
Through intense social media efforts, Stryx has gained popularity and found a place in the market. Stocked in stores like Target, Nordstrom Men’s Store NYC, CVS, and UrbanOutfitters, Stryx is slowly breaking the taboo surrounding male makeup, one concealer pen at a time.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Jon and Devir came in with a hefty ask, $600,000 for 5% equity in their company, valuing Stryx at $12 million. Their pitch was simple; everyone wore makeup, even all the male Sharks sitting in front of the camera, so why are men so uncomfortable wearing it outside the house?
Devir explained the embarrassment men feel is due to beauty and skincare products always being marketed toward women, and that’s why they avoid them.
He showed his infamous wedding photos that started the whole idea. He had the Sharks reeling, but he used it to point out a gap in the market for beauty products geared to men.
The duo revealed Stryx, their specially engineered custom-formulated products for men, and their marketing strategy to educate men on how to use their products. They felt no one in the US market approached cosmetics from the angle they were.
In 2018, they raised $1.5 million and were selling $130,000 worth of products a month, with 95% of that coming from the Stryx online store. The other 5% came from stores like CVS, where they made it a point to place their products in the men’s shaving and grooming aisle so they would not be confused with the other cosmetics marketed to women.
With 85% gross margins, they believed they had a promising product.
The Sharks asked how they managed to raise so much money, and it turned out that they had given nearly 60% of their company to investors, just holding the majority share. This, plus the fact that they were losing $40,000 – $50,000 a month due to the high advertising costs, made the Sharks extremely cautious.
Lori didn’t mince her words; she didn’t like the name or the packaging because it told her nothing, so she was out. Daymond disagreed with the valuation, which he felt was too high, and since the duo was continuously raising money to cover their costs, he thought it was too risky to get involved. He was out.
Mark loved the category but didn’t like their approach because, right now, they were trying to hide the fact they were selling makeup; he was out.
Kevin decided to make an offer, a $300,000 loan for 11.5%, $300,000 for 2.5% equity, and a $2.00 royalty until he gets his money back, which then drops to 25 cents perpetuity.
Robert liked the products and made an offer of $600,000 for 10%, saying the sales were strong, but they needed to change the direction of their advertising to sell to men to like him.
The duo tried to bring him down to 7.5%, but Robert wouldn’t budge, so John and Devir took his deal and welcomed Robert on board.
Our Review of Stryx
Stryx features a line of makeup and skincare advertised as tools in sleek minimal packaging to appeal to the male customer who wants to improve his skin and brighten his appearance.
They have five shades of concealer, four shades of tinted moisturizer, bronzer, blotting powder, gel cleanser, eye cream, lip balm, a daily moisturizer, and pimple patches. Featuring everyday men and plenty of instructions, this company is trying to show that its products can help men take care of their skin easily.
Pros of Stryx
- Sleek, discreet design
- Range of blendable colors
Cons of Stryx
- Lack of customer education on how to use the products
Who is Stryx For?
These makeup products are for any man who has a people-facing job and needs to even out his skin tone, reduce black circles, hide blemishes, and disguise signs of aging.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There is no shortage of makeup in the market, with many beauty and skincare products already marketed to men. Some of the most popular ones are listed below.
Developed by a beauty industry executive, this US company strives to deliver sustainable makeup for men that are simple and effective. Providing vegan, paraben-free, and cruelty-free products made for all skin types to help deal with common skin issues like dark circles and blemishes. To learn more, check out their online store for more information about all their products.
War Paint. For Men
This UK brand founded in 2018 has everything a guy needs to even out his skin with a range of foundations, concealers, bronzers, anti-shine powders, and much more. Check out their website for more information.
This Toronto-based company has products stocked in over 55 stores across the United States, Canada, and Italy. founded in 2010 Formen has a line of low-maintenance grooming products for men on and off camera. The collection includes foundations, concealers, color correctors, and blotting powder, all available on Formen’s website.
Our Final Thoughts
Does the world need another brand of concealers in black tubes? Probably not. Then again, the makeup industry is overflowing with products in similar colors and formulations, and new makeup brands keep appearing every month.
So there is definitely room in the male grooming industry for new brands that cater to male aesthetics. However, brands like Stryx have to double their efforts to increase customer awareness and educate men on why and how they should use their products.