When it comes to bathroom pampering, the very mention of the word ‘beauty’ used to have men running for cover to the pub quicker than you can say World Cup kick-off.
But then the likes of David Beckham came along advertising guy-focused products and suddenly grooming became a whole different ball game.
A lot of it came down to the product marketing. If men thought eye creams and split-end serums were for wusses, they might have no qualms about stocking up on manly ‘anti-fatigue sticks’ and ‘hair putty’ instead.
Now it seems male grooming has gone a step further… Forget the alpha male-pleasing, turbo-charged products, men are now openly raiding their partners’ beauty haul and looking beyond the powdery scents and flowery packaging.
Over the past year there’s been a 50% increase in male customers requesting advice about buying women’s products for their own use at ChemistDirect.co.uk.
With products such as hair straighteners, waxing strips and St Tropez topping their must-have list, guys are unashamedly embracing the man-makeover. So ladies, keep your favourite products under lock and key. With the focus firmly on the boys for Father’s Day, your man might just be hogging the mirror more than usual.
Just in case you were in any doubt about how much the non-fairer sex value their mirror image, the male cosmetic market is growing at twice the rate of women’s in the UK, according to L’Oreal’s recent Men’s Grooming Report 2010.
But despite the growth of male-targeted products, the study identifies 39% of men are still opting to use products designed for women as a part of their daily grooming routine.
On a list of can’t-live-without products, fake tan came second only to shampoo in L’Oreal’s survey, so Tango hand culprits should be easy to spot! “Whilst male grooming is big business, this is a new development – we’re talking about men contacting our sales teams for advice on how they can use women’s beauty treatments,” explains Mitesh Soma, founder of Chemistdirect.co.uk.
“Enquiries include asking which hair straighteners are best, how they should apply fake tan and whether they should use concealer before or after they shave.
“Some tell us they started secretly using their partner’s beauty gear out of curiosity and they liked it so much they now want their own,” he reveals.
The male grooming business in the UK has swelled to more than £600 million but guys are also shunning the masculine hype and seeking products and treatments that work for them.
“The typical grooming consumer is changing,” explains Dr Sach Mohan, non-surgical director of Transform.
“Men are becoming far more skin-savvy and less gullible when it comes to the sales and marketing techniques that brands are using. I now spend at least 15 minutes with most male clients discussing clinically proven skin products, and what they really should be using and how.”
Signing up for the likes of Botox, fillers and dermarollers, fellas make up around a third of Dr Mohan’s client list, who says: “The stigma is firmly lifted, though not to the point where men ask their mates ‘Who do you go to, dahling?’ down the pub!
“It’s a closely guarded secret for most men, where their booking entry will be for Botox ‘for migraines’ or ‘curing excessive sweating’, when in most cases they’ll eventually end up having Botox or fillers for virtually total cosmetic reasons.”