www.iggesund.com #30  • inspire 17 But some argue that men’s fussing over their appearance is nothing new. “Quite frankly, men wore makeup before women did,” says Michele Probst, founder of Mënaji, an eight-year-old company that manufactures several lines of men’s cosmetic products. “The Egyptians seem to be the first. It was a sign of nobility.” And in 18th and 19th century Europe it was fashionable for upper-class men to wear expensive cosmetics, frilly clothing and long wigs. Nature also plays a big role. Says Probst, “Men have 20 percent thicker skin than women do, they have almost 15 percent oilier skin then women do, and they shave their face.” Men actually have more of a need to maintain and repair their skin than women. This doesn’t, however, mean that they are eager to do the work. In recent times, men have generally only practiced basic grooming, i.e. showering, hair cleaning/maintenance and shaving. Unlike women, they rarely maintained their appearance more than was strictly necessary. If basic hygiene was met, their job was done. But underneath it all, men have always had a craving to look their best, and this taps into a deeper need. According to KenMen’s Gilbert, ultimately men “want to better themselves – the same way women do. Their self-image is very important to their level of confidence.” since the 1990s, the segments that have accounted for the bulk of the growth in men’s cosmetics – bath/ shower and skincare products – contain offerings more sophisticated than simple hand soap or shaving cream. Sales in the bath/shower segment increased a striking 240 percent from 2002 to 2007 to total USD 218 million, according to figures from Euromonitor International. Meanwhile, skincare enjoyed 168 percent growth and total sales of USD 193 million in the same time frame. Sales of male hair care products increased less significantly (50 percent over the same five years), but they still constituted the largest piece of the sales pie at USD 967 million. According to industry experts, the low growth in hair care is because osmetics are no longer overwhelmingly the domain of women. The men’s market for such goods has accelerated to the point where it’s not unusual to see a man wearing “guyliner” or showing a smooth, clean, made-up face to the world. The broad twentieth-century stereotype of the slovenly, unkempt male is slowly giving way to a more refined, polished version that places a higher value on appearance. This has resulted in a rapidly growing market for male cosmetics. According to data from market research firm Euromonitor International, revenue from such products totalled 23 billion US dollars worldwide in 2007, a 61 percent increase over the 2002 figure. By comparison, growth in the overall cosmetics sphere with the male and female segments combined was 49 percent in the same time period. Credit is often ascribed to the “metrosexual.” The term was coined back in the embryonic days of the 1990s to describe a man who spends significant time and money on his looks. The metrosexual has become an increasingly important role model – witness sports stars such as David Beckham and Rafael Nadal, and any one of a number of meticulously groomed celebrities. Though still not universally accepted in all corners of the male world, metrosexuality has started to creep into and influence the image of Ideal Man. Societal shifts also affect this trend. “All over the world, gender roles have changed,” says Lee Gilbert, founder and president of KenMen, a Canadian manufacturer of male cosmetics. “[Men] are switching roles with their female counterparts.” One example of this, says Gilbert, is the increase in the numbers of men taking paternity leave from work, formerly only an option available to women. Men are joining women in the battle to keep up their appearances, buying everything from skin cream to hair products as key weapons in the war. Welcome to the world of looking good, guys. Text Eric Volkman Photos Vince Reichardt S ales of men’s bath or shower and skincare products have made huge leaps in recent years.