Editor's Spotlight

Tomorrow’s men’s grooming customers are learning to love indie brands today

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Tomorrow’s men’s grooming customers are learning to love indie brands like Prep U today
Prep U brand founder Michelle Houp is leading one of those indie personal care brands. So Cosmetics Design checked in with Houp to find out how Prep U is helping adolescent and teen boys add good hygiene and self-care practices into their daily lives now and for years to come.

“Prep U is setting out to empower boys and let them learn how to care for themselves,”​ Michelle Houp tells Cosmetics Design.

But first, hygiene

“Getting [boys] to understand they can take care of their hygiene – and their bodies – is critical to their growth, comfort and confidence,” ​says Houp. And it’s critical to developing their life-long grooming and personal care habits too.

Good hygiene and grooming practices equate to social skills at every level of society—which is sort of what inspired Houp to develop Prep U in the first place.

“It started with a problem that I was trying to solve for my extremely active boys,” ​she says, describing the impetus for a selection of Prep U products. “I launched the Body Spray as I couldn’t stand the smell in my car after sporting events; the Active Dry Powder because the boys were complaining about the chafing of the baseball cups and I wanted something that was dual purpose to ‘kill the stank’ off the baseball gloves and shoes.  And, I launched the Sport Soak as both my boys were always complaining about their body being sore (legs, knees, back).”

Active recovery

Active beauty and recovery products are commonly targeted to women who workout, e.g. sweat-proof makeup, shower-sheet body wipes, and mini personal care and beauty items that are more practical to carry. (Read more about the active recovery niche here on Cosmetics Design​.)

But Houp knows this is a category that makes sense for growing boys too. “We took the idea of active recovery to develop the Sport Soak product​,” she explains. “Essentially, easing the muscles in a soothing fashion releases them from the tightness and soreness that the muscles and joints feel – much like true active recovery does when one goes for a very easy jog the day after intensity.”

“The beauty of this product,” ​says Houp, “is just that – that it feels as if you have gently moved, flexed, rubbed and calmed the muscles so the boys really feel like they’ve recovered.”

And she sees space for even more active recovery products in the Prep U product portfolio. As the brand continues to grow we’d love to add natural balms to help soothe sore muscles and more recovery packs that may include ice packs, the soak and other products,” ​Houp tells Cosmetics Design. “Our goal is to make active recovery a core part of every boy’s growing up and hygiene regimen.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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