Male beauty: skin deep
In 2011, a study by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) featured in The Guardian revealed plastic surgery among men was up by almost 6% since 2010, with more men opting for lunchtime nip and tucks. It reported that male breast reduction, eyelid surgery and liposuction were popular treatments.
America, however, appears to be falling out of love with surgery, turning instead to holistic methods. According to Health Today (March 2012), the Broga movement (yoga for men) is taking off there. It embraces guys hanging out and enjoying health; neither overly serious, nor ignorant of yoga principles. For those targeting health-led males, the dialogue could be about natural oral formats, or "Nutricosmetics".
Undeniably, celebrities are key to driving male grooming. David Beckham is an obvious example of an ambassador. A more surprising candidate though, is David Cameron. His youthful appearance has been under debate for some time. Perhaps there is truth in those Decleor facial rumours.
Non-western cultures are also obsessed with celebrities and perfection. Where would Colgate be in India without Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan's dazzling smile? But in recent years, there has been a marked shift in the Indian male beauty market, and everything from soaps to skin lighteners are making their way into male shopping basket. Salon visits from older, affluent males have been growing too. Yet the range of premium products for the emerging 40 and 50 male is still limited, with few credible brand ambassadors to represent this demographic.
Times change, and so do attitudes; we know a lot but we still know so little. New demographics emerge while others evolve, so brands need to engage in a meaningful dialogue with unusual suspects.
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, June 2012
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2012