We All Have The Same Skincare In The Game. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Randa Zaid. Randa is a skincare expert and the founder of Hayatay Natural. She will share with us whether men and women really need different skincare products. We have been conditioned to classify some things as ‘for men’ and others as ‘for women. In recent years there has been a societal shift towards gender neutrality.
Yet, there is still an invisible line in the toiletries department of some retail stores separating products designed for women from those designed for men. Is this just an old-fashioned, sexist marketing ploy, or is there any evidence that we need to differentiate between skincare for men and women?
We All Have The Same Skincare In The Game
We have been conditioned from a young age to classify colours and images as feminine or masculine. However, in recent years there has been a societal emphasis on utilising a more inclusive language to advocate equality.
The decisive move towards gender neutrality avoids discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. So why is there still an invisible line in the toiletries department of some retail stores as the flowery pastel packaging meant for women gives way to darker, monochromatic skincare products with the reassuring signage that states ‘suitable for men.’ Is this not now an antiquated, sexist marketing ploy, or is there any evidence that we need to differentiate between skincare for men and women?
Does Skin Have A Gender?
We all have skin, and all genders need skin care. Human skin has almost the same structure regardless of gender, and a good skincare routine benefits both men and women. People of all genders need to care for their skin. It’s a health thing.
The focus in any skincare routine should be the needs of your skin, not your gender. Is your skin oily, dry, sensitive or a combination? Your gender doesn’t determine your skin type, and by specifying products this way, many people might miss out on optimising their skincare routines. Men and women eat the same food, after all. They might prefer different flavours, and some might eat more than others, but many ingredients are the same and enjoyed by both. We don’t market food to feed male and female bodies differently, so why do we do it when it comes to providing our skin?
Why Are Products Currently Marketed At Different Genders?
Gender sells. A historic binary generation goes back a long way, with many toys defining differences between the sexes: skipping ropes and dolls for girls; marbles and toy boats, trains, and cars for boys. Girls liking pink and boys liking blue is instinctual for most of us. This conditioning informs our thinking well into adulthood, and the cosmetics industry has had the same mentality for some time. It bought into the masculine versus feminine trope and used stereotypes as practical marketing tools.
The colours in women’s products are soft and muted, and the fragrance is flowery—roses, lilies, cotton and spring meadows. While men’s products are dark and smoking with an emphasis on strength. The packaging is scattered with adjectives such as ice, glacier, shark and savage to ramp up the tough guy image. Solid and earthy smells are associated with masculinity, but shouldn’t it be up to individuals what type of smells they prefer?
GlobalData, which provides expert analysis for companies in the world’s biggest industries, reports that rising consumer expectations drive the transition to gender-neutral products. Innovative retailers are already re-designing their stores to shift away from the traditional male and female sections.
Don’t Buy Into The Hype
Just because a product says, it is for women or men doesn’t mean both can’t use it. It might be marketed differently, but it doesn’t mean it’s not the same. In 2015 the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that women’s skincare products cost up to 13 per cent more than those marketed to men. They also found that women tend to buy more skincare products than men.
Indeed Men And Women’s Skin Are Different?
Everyone’s skin is different. Men’s skin is around 20 – 25 per cent thicker than women’s. It contains more collagen and elastin and tends to produce more oil due to the amount of testosterone in the male body. This can make men more prone to breakouts. But women, too, have certain levels of this hormone; it’s not exclusive to men. Although some minor differences exist, they are not enough to warrant a gender-focused skincare industry.
There have been concerns in the past that male skin would be sensitised due to shaving, leading to products for men being branded as lighter. But it’s unnecessary to differentiate in this way, and these traditional views are rapidly disappearing. The American Academy of Dermatology has found no medical or scientific reason for products to be divided by gender. Products should be all about feeding the skin, regardless of gender. A product for oily skin is just that and can be used by both sexes for the same results.
Do It Like An Egyptian
Beauty held significant value in ancient Egypt, and the possession of an x or y chromosome had no bearing on the products they used for their self-care. Both men and women went to great lengths with their skincare routines, emphasising cleanliness. Taking care of the body was necessary for good health and warding off evil, and the same products have been found in the graves of both men and women.
In modern society, we have tended to view self-care as just for women, and many men haven’t wanted to be seen taking that sort of care for themselves. But that is changing. We must avoid the idea that taking care of our skin is about preventing wrinkles or focusing on anti-ageing. It’s not about vanity. It’s about nourishing our skin and taking care of ourselves. It’s less about gender and more about being holistic. Today’s men and women are more likely to be focused on greener, cleaner formulas than gender.
Choosing Suitable Products
Start with products that suit your skin type. Please keep it simple. We don’t need hundreds of different products. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it. The days of husbands and boyfriends having to be coerced into using a face wash or moisturiser are diminishing in our enlightened world. Still, if men embrace a skincare routine for the first time, it makes sense to look for natural products. Don’t leap from never using skincare to suddenly slapping on something with a harsh retinol base.
The key ingredients to look out for are products with antioxidants and vitamins, especially A, C, D and E, and B12 for hydration. The fewer elements, the better. A gentle cleanser with milk and honey or an olive oil soap won’t strip away the skin’s natural oils. A high-factor sunscreen in the morning should set you up for the day. Overnight an oil-based moisturiser will calm and nourish. And that is all anyone needs, with perhaps a serum boost a couple of times a week for added hydration.
Skincare In The Future
Society’s perceptions of gender are constantly being changed and blurred. Although there has been a sharp rise recently in gender-neutral skincare, with some well-established brands being joined by newcomers in this market, other brands need to work hard to be a part of this inclusive environment.
In 2021 CosmeticDesign-Europe, a leading online news source for the cosmetics industry, predicted a ‘beauty for all’ trend over the next five years. And Beautystreams, the insight platform for the beauty industry around the globe, says the market is set to move up a further gear from gender-neutral to gender-freedom. It would seem skincare brands now need to focus less on the gender of their customers and more on how their products make people feel. And as customers, we need to focus on our skin type and needs and ignore the gender-focused hype.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Randa Zaid is the founder of Hayaty Natural, a genderless skincare brand inspired by the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians. Using medicinal botanicals like Black Seed (so beloved by the Ancient Egyptians that they called it the ‘blessed seed’) and a combination of plant-based ingredients sourced from local communities in Randa’s homelands of Egypt and Italy, each formulation follows ancient recipes developed by the Pharaohs to provide a holistic approach to self-care. Hayaty is Organic, Vegan, Fairtrade, Cruelty- and GMO-free. Packaged in recyclable glass and card, each bottle comes with a hand-made Egyptian papyrus to inspire us to love ourselves and our environment.