Talk to men 10 years ago about the five clinical signs of ageing, and you would have been met with a response of resounding indifference. But these days it’s all changed.
So says L’Oréal Paris, anyway, which at the start of this year launched Men Expert, a comprehensive range of products for men of all ages that help combat the signs of growing older.
Jenny Galimberti, PR manager for L’Oréal Paris, says: “We know men are more interested in looking after their skin. The attitudes of men are changing, particularly the younger generations. Men tend to be more concerned about looks in general. There is much greater interest in grooming - it’s no longer just shaving and splashing water on the face.”
Skincare is indeed becoming more important to men, says TNS.Its data shows that, in 2004, 17.9% of British men used a skincare product compared with 10.6% in 1995 (six months to December).
L’Oréal’s Men Expert range includes Anti-Tightness cleansing gel, Hydra Energetic eye cream, Pure & Matte moisturising gel and Vita Lift moisturising cream.
And while they may sound just like something straight out of the women’s bathroom cabinet, Galimberti says a lot of work went into ensuring the products worked for men.
“We had to take a step back and look at the physiological differences between men and women and target different products at different ages.
“We have adapted the formula to the men’s market. Men’s skin is after all 22% thicker than women’s.
“We also developed a way of understanding how men’s skin ages over his lifetime.”
Sanex has also worked hard with its Men Active and Men Sensitive ranges, which were launched in February.
The ranges include aftershave balm, shave foam, deodorant and shower gel.
Julie Baker, marketing director at Sanex, says: “Today men are increasingly aware of the importance of good skincare and have an open mind to new products, but
these have to be their own innovative products, which address the needs of male skin. Men’s skin is very different to women’s - it’s thicker, more acidic and contains more colagen. It also has larger pores so it produces more sweat and odour.”
Expect more entrants in the category in the future, says James Griffin, category manager for deodorants at Unilever Home and Personal Care. “Men’s face is very much a small niche group of consumers yet to be cracked - but it is one of a whole number of areas where we will really begin to see the repertoire build up.”
However, companies have to be careful about how they target skincare products at men, warns Mark Wickens, chairman at brand agency Brandhouse WTS, as men want different things.
“There is a thread of beauty that runs through all women’s products, either science or nature, but the same thread doesn’t run through male products. The youth end is all about getting laid while the older end is maintaining the looks they’ve got.”
Sanex’s Baker also voices caution about how brands ‘talk’ to male consumers.
“Men don’t want any of the sciencey stuff. If you make a
claim it has to deliver. As one male in our research said - ‘I don’t buy into hope, whereas women do’.”
Baker is also aware that skincare products can be seen as pertaining to vanity. “Men aren’t vain,” she says. “While they are certainly demanding specific benefits, men in the UK are still way behind their
Continental counterparts. In the UK, if you talk about it too much you are seen as gay.”
David Jones, director at design consultancy Vario, says L’Oréal treads the line well. “Its Men Expert range is spot-on.It has focus and freshness, with just the right amount of masculinity,” he says.
Kimberly-Clark is also
treading the masculine line to promote its Andrex Moistened tissues, a product relaunched last month with much greater emphasis on attracting male consumers. A range of adverts in consumer magazines are playing to the rise in cleanliness among men by asking them, ‘Are you as clean as you think you are?’