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New Men, New Skin Care

Author : Callum Asterman

The use of skin care treatments by men is on the rise and it's not just women who are the targets of advertisers now. While the market for men and women may not be equal yet, or ever in fact (look at the size of shop displays in chemists as a guide), the sight of men using moisturising creams is not very accepted. And it's clearly a generational thing, too. Those born after the mid-1980s have probably grown up with it being normal, especially compared with their dads' and granddads' generations. So what brought about the change?

There are probably three or four phenomenon that have come together to create a climate where men and skincare products have been able to be used in the same sentence.

The early signs were there in the 1980s, and a marketing concept developed that was referred to as the "new man". Looking back, it's hard to believe that there was a recognised need for such a concept, but it was or it developed, and it was delivered to us via arty monochrome posters of muscular chaps cradling tiny babies, courtesy of Athena. Before this time, men were (we were told) basically roughnecks who cared little for anything other than beer, football and women. But the plan worked beautifully, and men were persuaded to get in touch with their feminine side rather than just getting in touch with the ladies themselves. Part of that was having a bathroom routine, so it's no coincidence that shops like Body Shop and Boots developed new ranges. This was also a time when we started becoming aware of the ozone hole, which led to more effective sun creams coming on the market, and men realised that they should cover up or cream up before a spell in the sun.

But then came the backlash. It appears men were not about to be dictated to by the cosmetic industry that had previously only had women as customers, and the trend of laddism came about in the 1990s and early noughties. Men even managed to persuade a few women to come down to their level, creating the laddette, a female hard-drinking party animal. Just to add more complication, the era became synonymous with football, lads' mags and drink, which was more or less where we left off in the 70s. Luckily, there was a branch of laddism that had a mod philosophy based on grooming and style, so the male skin care industry was not all lost.

Looking back in time now it's easier to see how things developed. Men needed to be men, but cultural values were changing significantly such that the behaviour of the past was no longer acceptable and laddism proved to be the final gasp of the old-fashioned attitudes to male values and behaviour. The modern man sees himself as a little more sensitive to other people's feelings but happier in being more individual. And if that means taking more care in his appearances and treating his skin with some respect then fine. The men's skincare market at least shows that this phenomenon is not just an imagined one.

We are now being told that it's OK for men to wear make-up, too. Unless it's being done very subtly, permission has yet to filter through to the high street, and besides many modern-minded men see this as just a little over the top. But as we have seen in the past, never say never when it comes to acceptable behaviour amongst men. When the England left back is wearing lipstick, we'll know something seismic has happened.

Author's Resource Box

There are some significant developments taking place with mens skin care and Callum has reported regularly on skin care developments and changes in trends.

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Tags:   skin care, men

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Submitted : 2011-07-22    Word Count : 725    Times Viewed: 674