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Katrina Selwyn

Men's beauty
products are big
business these days

These days when a woman runs out of moisturiser, she is most likely to ask her boyfriend or husband, ‘Honey, can I borrow yours?’ Men's cosmetics and toiletries are the fastest growing area of the huge beauty and skin-care industry.

In the past, men have thought of cosmetics as strictly for women. The cosmetic companies catered for women and their success in this area is measured by the number of products available. Recently cosmetic companies have decided to appeal to men's vanity, and have been surprisingly successful. With profit margins of up to 1000%, the cosmetic companies are eager to satisfy the growing demand.

We recognised that a man's skin is different to a woman's,’ says Emma Dawson of Clinique. Clinique was one of the first to make men's cosmetics 20 years ago. ‘We've also changed the name of our products to make them more attractive to men. For example, women's 'Gentle Exfoliator' is men's 'Face Scrub'.’ Clinique have made the packaging simpler with manly colours such as navy blue, dark green or grey.

There are a number of reasons for this change in male attitude. Young men have more money to spend these days. They are much more likely to buy their own clothes and toiletries than their fathers. Thirty years ago, men left such things to their mothers and then, when they were married, their wives.

The enormous success in Europe of men's magazines - lads' mags - such as GQ and FHM, has helped make beauty products for men seem ‘cool’. There is no danger of feeling like a girl reading about exfoliating lotion if it is part of an article about Formula One racing cars.

The cosmetic companies have another reason to love their male customers too. Men use up the products more quickly than women. ‘We splash out twice as much as we need,’ says Peter Waterman, a market analyst, ‘so we have to buy a new bottle twice as often.’ Another attraction is that men are very loyal. Clinique have just four men's products. Contrast this with their women's range where they regularly launch new products to stay in competition.

Slowly the trend is catching up with older men too. Your father may make fun of your toiletry collection, but today's father is likely to have in his bathroom cabinet a tint to remove the grey in his chest hair

Source: New English Digest


runs out of: exhausts the supply of (se queda sin)
: a product used to make skin more humid (humectante)
: enormous (enorme)
catered for: provided (proveían, atendían)
men's vanity
: pride that men have for themselves (la vanidad masculina)
exfoliator: a product for removing hair (depilador)
the act of cleaning a surface by rubbing it (eliminador de vello)
manly: masculine (masculinos, viriles)
lads' mags: short colloquial form for young men "magazines" (revistas para hombres jóvenes)
use up: consume (consumen)

splash out: spatter liquid (nos ponemos, nos aplicamos)
twice as often: two times as often (el doble de veces)
loyal: always supporting the product by buying it again (leales, fieles)
launch: put on the market (lanzan a la venta)
trend: tendency (tendencia)
catching up with: gain another market niche (ganando un nuevo nicho de mercado)
tint: a small amount of colour (tintura)
to remove: to get rid of (para eliminar, para quitar)
chest hair: thorax hair (vello del pecho)