What’s the difference between men’s and women’s skincare? Is there even a difference at all? Just because you’re a man, should you only buy the ranges made specifically for men? There are tonnes are questions which companies marketing strategies make people ask themselves every time they want to buy something as simple as a face wash. Do I have to use this because it’s in a pink bottle with a flower on it, or can I not just buy the original version? I am collaborating with John Wharff of Mr Wharff, who has extensive knowledge into skincare products and their ingredients, including why they are even there. Working at Lush and having a completely unisex range has meant that I now completely disregard Men’s skincare, Teen’s skincare and any other age group or segregation of skincare to be complete and utter rubbish.
For people who have tried gender orientated products, you’re probably wondering why. Well simply because, skin is skin. If you’re a male with an oilier forehead, then you’ll need the same products as a woman with an oiler forehead. Just because you’re a man it doesn’t suddenly mean that you need a blue bottle saying ‘FOR MEN’ across it. You’ve probably seen this topic in the news a lot lately (I’m afraid I wasn’t quick enough with this post to get there first) so everyone is definitely aware there’s a clear gender based market, but still there will be some people thinking that men’s skin does need different because they shave, grow more hair, or have different hormones to women. I asked John to share his knowledge on the ingredients that skincare products have inside of them to make them appeal more to men. Not only is it the packaging, but it’s also the smell and consistency as 9/10 men’s skincare seems to be something that foams and washes off easily.
So, what’s really in skincare aimed at men?
There are different variations of alcohol and most of the time this common ingredient is normally high on the list, especially when it comes to men’s products as this is classed as a ‘manly ingredient’ purely because of the sharp stinging effect it leaves on the skin. In reality, alcohol breaks-down the skins natural barrier causing all kinds of havoc; redness, severe dryness, irritation and ageing, long term! My advice would be to try and stay away from this naughty ingredient and consider using tea tree oil as an alternative. Tea tree oil is a much safer option and has far more superior skin benefits; super soothing, anti-bacterial and cooling.
PERFUME / ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE
An ingredient which has always raised an eyebrow or two from myself, and, I have honestly noticed that men’s skin care products always smell far stronger, why is that brands? This ingredient causes more harm than good to the skin; a rash, hyper pigmentation or even dizziness are the signs to look out for when using synthetic fragrances, especially after a close shave where skin is more likely to become irritated from anything fragranced – just imagine that sharp stinging sensation, skin is telling you that its irritated. Men’s skin becomes very sensitive after a shave so opt for something odourless/un-fragranced. Personally, from past experience, I would stay well away from anything that smells good enough to eat!
Probably my worst enemy ingredient! A bully who always used to affect my self-esteem every time I applied a product on my face, good morning pizza face! Mineral Oil is highly known to clog pores leading to blemish breakouts, a cheap ingredient which unfortunately is used in low-end and high-end skin care products. Developed by heating crude petroleum, this no nutritional value ingredient cannot fully absorb in the skin, leaving a dreadful film and stopping skin from breathing. Many men’s’ products contain this nasty ingredient so be cautious when buying a new aftershave balm or moisturiser.
Switch to products that contain safer ingredients such as balancing jojoba oil, nourishing sunflower oil and hydrating sesame seed oil.
SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE (SLS)
A surfactant that gets a lot of finger wagging from the media, unfortunately this particular ingredient is found in nearly every cosmetic product around. This chief irritant likes to turn your skin into a massive foam party minus the drunkenness but instead your skin faces the consequences such as skin dryness, irritation, and leaving skin unprotected from the environment. Now, many people get confused with a similar ingredient ‘Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)’ which in fact is derived from pure coconut and is officially classed as safe to use. Phew!
Next time you’re shopping for grooming products, always look on the ingredients list, that way you can’t make the mistake of buying the wrong product, if the ingredients list isn’t available, don’t be afraid and just ask.
FACT! Did you know that shaving products contain around 80% of water and the remaining 20% contains actual ingredients.
Products that have been specially altered to suit men’s skin could be rounded up in one word, but I’ve made a point of not swearing on my blog. Obviously some people will find that gender orientated products have worked amazing on their skin, and good for you, we’re not debating that. This is simply to show you that there is no need to go out and shop specifically for your age or gender, just check the ingredients instead as these can be found in any ranges of skincare for any gender as well.
If you’re interested in what you actually put on your face, check out Mr Wharff!