Women have reigned in the skin care industry as the prominent, key consumers of products for centuries. Product lines based products off the female sector’s desires and needs, creating a plethora of stock keeping units (SKUs) to stock on shelves in stores. In the past, men’s products only consisted of a few SKUs, mainly a shaving cream and an after shave, taking up a tiny residency near the astronomical moisturizers, cleansers, and various other female-oriented products.
Growth in Men’s Skin Care
According to The NPD Group, Inc., a global information company, men’s grooming in 2013 reported to show positive signs in warranting more interest in their skin. Men’s Grooming Report NPD reported that men’s products grew seven percent in 2012 and continues to grow at a 12 to 14 percent rate, with shaving making up to 40 percent of the men’s grooming market. It also reported that men are consistently more optimistic about finances, are easier to sell and upsell than women, and are loyal to their products and routine.
In the 21st century, men are becoming more aware of their skin and less inhibited in taking care of it. Because they do not articulate to others in the same way as women, it is harder for them to recognize their skin needs. All they know is that when they look in the mirror every time they shave, their skin is changing and they would like to keep it from doing so. Unfortunately, they do not always know how. At this point, products and professionals become their educators.
Men do not talk about the latest skin care trends while hanging out with other men; it is not a normal choice of topic. It is usually a woman or a skin care professional who points out that a certain product would be good for them. In fact, according to the same report from 2013, 50 percent of women purchase products for men and it is women who are instrumental in helping them make skin care decisions.
Men like to be given a solution for their skin’s problem. If they look in the mirror and see that they are getting more fine lines around their eyes, they want something that they can put on them that will help. If they look in the mirror and see that their skin is red in certain areas, they want to know what can be put on to reduce the redness. There is no grey area when it comes to men and their skin. They want to treat what they see. Preventive skin care does not mean much to them because the less they have to do with their skin’s needs, the better. They are not searching for a miracle cream that keeps them from aging over time because they are not seeing future skin problems. They want the “now” treatment.
Men are very sensitive about their masculinity. Therefore, purchasing a product from a company that is packaged in shades of pink and yellow it does not appear “manly.” No matter how wonderful the product and how beneficial it would be, the packaging detours the sale. Men feel unmasculine when they reach for a moisturizer with white, pretty peonies on the bottle. They do not even use the word ‘moisturizer’ – that word alone is feminine. Men prefer the words ‘cream’ or ‘lotion.’
Men’s products need to be seen as manly. The product needs to make a bold and masculine statement. Men want to feel like whatever is in the package has gusto and a loud roar. The packaging has to stand out as a proud, in-charge lion in the jungle. If they do try a product that questions their masculinity and it does not show fast results, they will go back to their old skin regimen and not purchase skin products again for some time. Why would they spend a lot of money on a product that did not do anything different from their usual routine? They already have two perfectly good products, usually a body wash and lotion, that they have been using for years.
When they feel that their masculinity is not being stripped by packaging, another obstacle they have to surpass is scent. Scent is extremely important; he wants to smell like cologne, not like perfume, so more earth-tone scents such as woods and musk are ideal. Besides packaging that tends to appeal more to women, men also are very discouraged from purchasing a product that reminds them of their mother’s, aunt’s, or grandmother’s scent. There is nothing more emasculating than rubbing the smell of sweet rose, which reminds them of all the unbearable hugs they received as a child by the women in their life, all over their face. They would rather smell of elk urine than gardenia and marigold. Men cannot have their product being pumped out of a bottle with the scent of a Japanese cherry blossom flower; the product will either be thrown into the trash or given to a female because men usually do not return products.
Specific Skin Care Needs For Men
Skin care specialists and women are the main reason that men branch out of their habitual skin care standards and try a new product. While men have been using shaving products for years, they are now starting to purchase eye creams and targeted products for specific skin concerns. Men’s products are becoming part of the norm. It is no longer considered out of the ordinary to use a SPF cream on the skin or an eye cream to combat fine lines and puffiness around the eyes. Men are learning that they can take care of their skin with more than two products. They are also learning that their skin is not the same as women. Because their skin is different, it should be treated differently.
Men produce more testosterone than women, making their skin very different from women’s. Testosterone produces more oily skin among men and causes their skin to become thinner with age, whereas the estrogen in women helps keep their skin from thinning. Men also have thicker skin. In addition to testosterone-caused differences, men have smaller sebaceous glands than women, thus slowing down the rate of their skin’s absorption. It is extremely important that men recognize these differences and understand that men’s products are formulated specifically for their skin. The good old stand-by of a soap bar and lotion will not favor them in the long haul.
Women’s products have been a great precursor for men’s products. Throughout centuries, women’s products have been formulated and reformulated, paving the pathway for researchers and developers to tweak formulations to target males and treat their skin with care and attention. Men’s products are increasing in SKUs and, although they will never quantify to the exponential growth of women’s products, they are being purchased and sought out. Men need products of their own and with the 21st century, they are able to add to the global market of skin care.
Amra Lear is a licensed massage therapist and aesthetician. She has been working in the spa industry for over 19 years and is well-versed in many streamlined modalities and products. With her vast experience and knowledge, Lear has created a blog (www.amralear.com) in which she highlights spa treatments, skin care products, and massage practices.