Cosmetics for men: why not?
13 Jun 2017 by Nev Haynes
If Greeks and Romans devoted a reasonable portion of time to their grooming and personal care it would be for something. We all like to look good. We are not talking about effeminating the male body, although it may seem so. The Roman general Scipio Emiliano requisitioned more than 5,000 tweezers from the 10,000 men who made up the two legions with which he destroyed the Spanish city of Numancia, in 133 BC. I suppose that in this triumphant gesture it had more to do the laziness of his soldiers than the contempt of the famous Roman general for male aesthetics.
Historical anecdotes aside, we are already accustomed to seeing men’s cosmetics ads on television. Famous football stars joke in the locker room, boasting a clean and perfect shave, lacking dark circles and bags on their eyelids. Men with trapezoidal jaws wore a shaved torso and macho-men with herculean features roar with laughter while shaving between vapors and towels rolled at their waist. Other commercials promise to remove facial hair at a stroke, using small devices that would have wanted the most hairy soldiers of those Roman hosts.
We have gone from seeing unisex cosmetic products to having all kinds of products specifically designed for men’s care, where colors and shapes predominate, names and photos more stereotyped towards a man proud to continue to look like it. We are not talking about a profile of metrosexual man, sensitive and obsessed with his body, but a proper alpha male.
If my grandfather lived, I have no doubt that he would lay his hands on the head, astonished at the bombardment of messages and advertising impacts intended for men who want to take care of their appearance beyond hygiene and good manners. Some time ago, men only wore shaving foam and aftershave lotion. But today the situation is different from that lived by our closest ancestors.
Globally, sales of male beauty products (excluding shaving products, fragrances and oral or body hygiene) in 2015 totaled 17,400 million euros. This figure is growing year after year, but it only represents 10% of total expenditure on cosmetics. There is still a long way to go. The large multinationals in the sector have for more than 25 years satisfied the burgeoning demand for cosmetic products for men, and already prepare the assault on emerging markets outside of Europe and North America.
In Spain, 50% of men use some type of cosmetic product
90% of which are for facial care (anti-aging creams, moisturizers, exfoliants, anti-wrinkles, firming and sunscreens). The remaining 10% include male deodorants and beard products, now so fashionable. In Europe, we are only overtaken by Germany. We are tied by the Italians, followed by the French.
As for consumer habits, most men prefer to investigate the options offered by the market, protected by the anonymity offered by the Internet, bypassing the barrier of modesty that they could not avoid at the point of sale. Two out of three buy the product themselves. Finally, they are much more loyal to their choice than women, who frequent more the beauty and cosmetic sections of the shopping centers and bother to ask and compare alternative products and latest news.
Two out of three buy the product themselves. Finally, they are much more loyal to their choice than women
Are we living a fad? It seems that the beauty routines of men of the 21st century are dangerously similar to those of women. Perhaps someday we will look back and be amazed at the “primitive” customs of our grandfathers, hard-boiled men whose personal hygiene kits consisted only of a razor and at most a jar of lotion for Sundays. Or maybe we will recover that old Spanish saying that has been forgotten … “the man and the bear, the uglier, the more handsome.”