There has been a big development in male grooming products in recent years. Cosmetics companies have turned their marketing gaze upon the male grooming business in a big way. Men, it appears, are just as much ‘worth it’ as are their female counterparts, at least as afar as L’Oreal are concerned.
It wasn’t that long ago when the only grooming products advertised for men on television were shaving, deodorant and hair dyes. Remember those ‘Just for Men’ ads? Now there are television adverts for men’s shampoos, facial washes, moisturisers, anti ageing creams, and even light makeup!
Now I am all for a man looking his best. Indeed, most of us would benefit for a little more careful personal grooming. Moreover, as an eczema sufferer I have a great deal of sympathy with those who feel the need to moisturise.
Nonetheless, I do wonder about the developing trend for male cosmetics. Do I really need to be buying concealers? And what in the world is going on when it takes a man longer than the woman in his life to get his face ready to ‘face the world?’
More importantly, who and where are the men buying these products? Cosmetics companies would not develop products that no one buys. There is clearly the perception that there is a market out there. So whether we men are actually using these cosmetics or not we are almost certainly buying them, or at the very least our loved ones are buying them on our behalf.
And it’s big business. A little over a year ago Hugh Laurie became an ambassador for male cosmetics for L’Oreal. He is seeking to demonstrate that there is no inherent tension between masculinity and the use of cosmetics. I wonder however if that is true why is an ambassador being employed by the folks who want to flog this stuff?
I’m trying to work out what my objections are. Some of it is just plain prejudice. I admit it. Unless you are on television, where everyone wears makeup to cope with the harsh lighting, I think if a man is wearing nearly as much makeup as the woman in his life then something has gone wrong with the world.
But I think it’s more than that. I think it is the blurring of the boundaries that I object to most.