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To Heidi and Jay Woller, days spent outdoors coupled with the aroma of their teenage sons inspired a business venture: Guy Lively, a men’s natural bar soap and skincare company. “They weren’t really into the grooming and cleaning, the self care as much,” Jay says about their boys. “We were just really excited about the opportunity to find something that might get them inspired.

Dedicated to bringing the outdoors in, Guy Lively products rely on natural and organic ingredients to do the heavy lifting without harmful chemicals that can be damaging to the skin. With an uptick of headlines recalling beauty products containing cancer-causing chemicals, it’s become essential for people to know what they’re putting on their skin. 

When formulating the products, the Wollers were “super picky.” “We wanted ingredients that were natural and sustainable,” (something that they try to apply to their whole brand, up to the packaging), she says. But more importantly, “things that were effective, we wanted things that actually work.” So they worked on bringing the powerful essence of nature to men’s skincare with ingredients that have naturally occurring antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and carry essential vitamins and minerals to keep the skin hydrated, tackle blemishes, and fight free radicals so the skin can not only look fresh but stay healthy and clean as well.

But what’s the difference with “men’s skincare?” Heidi and Jay think it’s an important distinction. Since most effective skincare is marketed towards women, men are left believing their only options are cheap or all-in-one products that do more harm than good. “We’ve been using just the white bar soap and products that have been around for years and at this point, men are becoming more aware,” says Jay. Research has found that men are twice as likely as women to die from melanoma from lack of information and little use of sunscreen. So the Wollers have set out to educate their consumer base. On their website you can find the Guy Lively Blog, written by Heidi, the blog shares information from finding the causes of skin issues, stressing the importance of products, and debunking myths.

In the last few years the market has seen a big improvement. In 2021, the men’s grooming industry was valued at $55 billion and it’s expected to grow to $110 billion by 2030. Heidi attributes this largely to the younger generation as well as a cultural shift. “There are some barriers that have been broken. Masculinity has changed a bit, the concept of being this rough and gruff man, that’s not important.” She says social media has a lot to do with it, “they’re seeing other people care a little bit more about themselves, my kids take selfies all the time—they actually care what they look like.”

Jay believes that men might be able to adopt it as a form of bonding. “It’s become more apparent that guys like connecting and being part of a group,” he says. “I’m noticing people really want to find that connection and maybe being inspired by different products or fashion can be like a kind of network for that.”

Celebrities are also helping break down traditional gender norms, from A$AP Rocky’s Fenty Skin campaign to Frank Ocean sharing his strict skincare regimen and Jared Leto launching his new skincare line, it’s easier to find cool guys to get inspiration from. “Historically we’ve been a little underrepresented in that area,” Jay says. “Across any industry, having someone that’s healthy, looks good, and cares about their well being inspires people to do the same.”

Focused mainly in the Midwest, over 30 independent stores in the state carry Guy Lively products ranging from their shaving creams, face wash, anti-aging cream and their popular bar soaps like their Blackwoods Fir bar that “feels like you’re taking a brisk hike on a mountain trail.” You can find them in MartinPatrick3 downtown or at Mona Williams in the Mall of America. Treat yourself to getting started in self care or check all those men who are hard to shop for off your list.

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