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Brief Published: 11 Feb 2019

New Wellness Platform Manual Challenges Male Stereotypes


Digital platform Manual is challenging male stereotypes by offering men advice on taboo topics – from erectile dysfunction to hair loss – as well as the products to tackle them. Could it promote positive attitudes around men’s health and wellbeing in an ‘enlightened era’?

Launched in January 2019, British start-up Manual is focusing on providing affordable, medical-grade products and guidance for all age groups. The line includes prescription sexual wellness products like Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) to treat erectile dysfunction, as well as Finasteride – a hair loss pill that combats male-pattern baldness at the crown and in the middle of the scalp.

The grooming and wellness website is challenging the stigma around these issues, which men often keep to themselves, and empowering them to seek help digitally. British men are three times more likely to talk through technology about intimate issues than to a human (University College London & Harry’s, 2017). In this way, Manual taps into modern male consumers’ values by giving them permission to acknowledge their issues in a digital safe haven, and arming them with the tools to solve their problems. For example, an interactive guide provides information from experts about hair loss, sexual wellness and lifestyle.

Stylus’ Retail editor, Stefanie Dorfer, said: “We’re seeing a surge of direct-to-consumer brands that disrupt previously overlooked categories – including men’s health – by making products more accessible. Brands that look beyond the product and realise their role as health advisers will raise the bar. Serving a community by opening a sort of ‘safe space’ – online and/or offline – where consumers can openly talk about their problems, will catapult a brand like Manual into the mainstream.”

The brand also celebrates this new open and positive era of masculinity via its social media platforms. Its Instagram page fosters this growing community with inspirational quotes from budding entrepreneurs and artists about the changing perceptions of male health and wellbeing. 

The blurring intersection between beauty and health is a key theme in our 2019 Look Ahead. For more on male grooming and wellbeing, see The Male Beauty Moment, Hims: Reframing Hair Loss and Male Grooming: In Numbers.