Why the Beauty Industry Hates Men (Part II): Real Women Love Men the Way They Are

But the Beauty Industry Doesn’t.

Men, we love you just the way you are. Honest. But we’re fighting a losing battle with a beauty industry that wants to change you completely.

According to that old, sexist joke, women’s primary purpose in life is to change their men. It’s the premise behind a thousand comedy routines and zany sitcoms. But in reality, women love men the way they are. We really do.

Now you might doubt us when we bring home skincare products for you that don’t even remotely fit your needs, nor your lifestyle. You might even wonder: “Why is this woman bringing me something called a lifting serum? Does she think I look droopy?” Or: “Does she really want me to smell sweet and fruity? What’s wrong with smelling like motorcycle leather, or motor oil when I’ve just been working on my wheels?” If you judge our feelings for you by the so-called beauty products we sometimes buy for you, you’d think we want to transform you into a primping, eternally youthful, metro-sexual playboy kind of guy, rather than the masculine man we’ve come to love.

Let’s set the record straight. Your wives and girlfriends don’t want to change you.

Please understand. We don’t want to change you. We just want you to feel good about the skin you’re in, confident about the image you project, and ready to meet whatever challenges life throws your way. Because we love the masculine man that you are and you deserve the very best we can find for you. That’s all. Simple, right?

Unfortunately, when we hit the stores looking for high-end Masculine Face Care ™ products that reflect this philosophy, we can’t find them on the shelves. They’re not there. You see, we women have counter upon counter, aisle upon aisles of the latest and best skincare and anti-aging options, but for masculine men like you, there is a scanty assortment of misguided lotions and potions designed for some totally imaginary guy. A guy who doesn’t mind committing to a 10-step program. A guy who would tone, peel, scrub and moisturize. A guy who “exfoliates”. A guy whose overpowering scent lingers in the office elevator long after he’s stepped off. In our heart of hearts, we know that’s not you, but in the absence of any other options, we do the best we can with what’s available.

You see, it’s not women who want to change you. It’s the Beauty Industry. They have a not-so-hidden agenda to turn you into someone you’re not. Every product on that shelf is subtly sending out a message to men, and that message is: you really need to be someone else – in fact, you need to be more like a woman. Why? What have they got against you? Well, a few things, as it turns out…

You are the most mysterious creature since the Sasquatch.

The beauty industry creates products that don’t fit men’s needs, because they are totally mystified by masculine men. Historically, the industry has been 100% focused on women. (That’s why it’s called the ‘beauty industry’ and not the ‘grooming industry’.) It’s really only in the past decade or so, that the industry has woken up to the fact that masculine men – actually have skin. Skin that they’d want to clean and maintain as part of a healthy lifestyle. Slowly, the beauty industry responds by creating products that they think will appeal to men. But after decades of exclusively targeting women, the beauty industry is completely in the dark about who men are and what kind of face care routine will fit their needs and preferences – and not just those of any men, but masculine men. Having ignored you for years, they have no idea what to make of you. Masculine men are a complete mystery to them, a wildly elusive, rarely seen, quite possibly fictional creature.

That’s why in these early attempts at designing men’s products, they’re making goofy mistakes – like assuming that packaging men’s grooming products in an aluminum cylinder will appeal to your manly side and somehow one look makes you feel powerful and virile. Or how about the beer bottle approach – and I thought beer belonged in the fridge, rather than on the bathroom counter… It’s a totally superficial approach-and more than a little insulting, no? But without spending the time and effort to truly understand you, it’s all they’ve got. Which brings us to our next point…

You’re messing with billion-dollar profit margins.

The beauty industry is big business. Beauty companies have poured untold billions into their existing infrastructure. And they have built that infrastructure around marketing to women. They have a lucrative business model in place, and they really, really don’t want to have to mess with it. So they’re hoping that they won’t have to change it-that they can change you instead. They figure that if they can convince you to develop feminine sensitivities, embrace feminine products, feminine skin care regimens and a feminine purchasing environment, they can pretty much keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing – while doubling their market share.

It’s a pretty great setup for the Beauty Industry. But for you, it means having to put up with products designed to appeal to women and repackaged to fit the Beauty Industry’s unrealistic ideals of being “manly.” It means having to walk into a glossy beauty kiosk to shop for men’s products. It means having to deal with an (invariably female) beauty consultant who looks at you blankly when you ask about masculine face care. Or even worse, steer you to the women’s section – because skin is skin and if it works for your mom, girlfriend, or wife, it’s supposed to work for you… Never-mind that you really don’t want to smell like a woman. It means that you are nothing more than an afterthought.

Is this fair? Of course not. It’s outrageous that masculine men should have to make do with products that weren’t designed with their needs in mind. But it’s happening because the beauty industry is too arrogant and complacent to create new products and new retail environments exclusively for masculine men like you. They’re hoping that you’ll save them the trouble by changing your essential masculinity and embracing the feminine milieu that they’ve already invested so much time and money in. The beauty industry would rather change you, than understand and embrace your masculinity.

You don’t flex enough purchasing muscle.

You may have lots of actual muscle, but when it comes to lifting your wallet at the beauty counter, spa or salon, you’re a 90-pound weakling. In fact, statistics show that about 70% of men’s skincare products are purchased by women. We buy them for our boyfriends. We buy them for our husbands. We slip them into dad’s Christmas stocking. We just can’t help it. We have seen for ourselves what a difference it makes when you take good care of yourself, and we know looking good and feeling good can enhance your lifestyle, your career and just about every aspect of your life. So when we’re shopping for ourselves and we see something labeled “for men”, we pick it up for you and hope for the best.

The beauty industry has figured out that women are doing most of the buying, so they’ve decided that women, not men, are the target market for high-end men’s skincare and anti-aging products. This means you’ve got a wholly feminized beauty industry creating men’s products designed to appeal to women. Apart from being a very complicated situation, it’s one that’s guaranteed to make masculine men feel uncomfortable and slightly alienated by the face care choices available to them.

When we bring one of these poor, confused products home for you, it’s no surprise you end up wondering, “Who does this woman think I am?” To this unvoiced but deeply felt question, we women would just like to go on record and say, once and for all: we know who you are. And we love who you are.

But the Beauty Industry – well, maybe if they take the time and make the effort to get to know you, they’ll learn to love you as much as we do.