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January 31, 2008

Man-boobs and what to do with them!

From official story on ibnlive.com = Of moisturisers and men with breasts

"Baggy eyelids, receding hairlines, wrinkles, frown lines and sagging necks… these are just a few areas that people want fixed," says Dr Anup Dhir, senior consultant, cosmetic surgery, Indraprastha Apollo hospital. When Dr Dhir says "people" though, he means Men. Welcome to the 21st century world of the Moisturiser Man: The man who takes "personal care" beyond the usual of shaving his daily facial fuzz. This new age man is as comfortable dealing with the crazy stock market swings as he is getting a pedicure, shaving his underarm hair, slapping on moisturizer or even trimming the curls down under.

In a world where first impressions are fast becoming lasting impressions, men in (face) masks is going to become more of a common sight. With competition growing and more young people getting into the work field, standing apart from the crowd is not just about talent anymore. You need to talk smart, you need to look smart and a starched shirt can only make that much of a difference. Looking young and projecting a youthful, energetic image can give a man the cutting edge he needs to stand above the clutter. It's happening the world over and it's happening in India as well. If statistics show that men in the US are spending more than $ 4 billion a year on grooming products – hair colour, facial scrubs etc – the scene is warming up on the home front too. According to industry estimates, the male grooming market is Rs 750 crores (approximate) and growing.

What's good for the girls, is not good enough for the guys
For long men have used beauty products that have been 'found' at home. Many an Indian family has had boys pinching Fair and Lovely tubes off their sister's dressing tables, going in for that occasional hot oil champi at the local barber or getting their mothers to trim extra long nose hair. Today, a man will walk into a pharmacist and ask for a face scrub with as much comfort as he would ask for new razor blades. While there are still men out there who'd use a detergent soap for bathing when nothing else is to be found, the number of men picking up man-specific toiletries is increasing. Age-old brands known to cater predominantly to women's products are quickly catching up and introducing products specifically targeted at men.

Out goes women's fairness creams and in comes the Rs 320 crore beauty giant Emami's Fair and Handsome. If it was 'love or Dove' for women, it was "toughness and tenderness" for the design concept of Shiseido Men's products. Even Nivea, one of the most popular global women's skin care brands has a separate range for its male customers. With male grooming products being one of the fastest growing segment of the personal grooming category, almost every major cosmetics company has jumped on to the bandwagon. While Clarins, Lancome, Biotherm, Shiseido are some of the international players, back home we have Emami, Amway (India) and even Dabur looking at tapping into the segment.

"Male grooming is an exciting market and Dabur India plans to tap this segment soon with a range of products," says Vikas Mittal, Vice President-Marketing (Personal Care), Dabur India Ltd. "The demand for male grooming products is definitely on the rise, which is reflected in the growing number of products available in the market today. According to industry estimates, spending on men's grooming products is expected to rise 24 per cent to Rs 1450 crore over the next five years," he adds. And it doesn't stop just there…

Mark of a man, nip, tuck?
While regular shaving products and hair dyes account for a bulk of sales in the male grooming market, toiletries – i.e. grooming products other than shaving aids – has now emerged as the fastest growing segment in the male personal care market. Hair styling creams and gels and fairness creams and moisturizers are expected to be the fast-movers. But why this sudden desire to spiffy-up from the men?

Perhaps it's the advent of the metrosexual mania, first seen in 2000, the many David Beckham-type men who were the picture of macho but did not mind changing their hairstyles frequently or lathering on lotions to look good. Or perhaps it was the rise of the 'fun, fearless female' clan: The women who demand that if they can suffer a Brazilian to look good for men, the men better shape up and spruce up too. Beauty consciousness has grown amongst the men thanks to the media – from Will Smith advocating looking good to get a date in Hitch to all male characters in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. being soft on overt machoness – and other reasons. Changing lifestyles, demographics, changing work scenarios – especially in the IT, BPO, hospitality and other service sectors – deeper consumer pockets, greater product choice and wider availability along with retailing and economic developments have all contributed to the rising demand for these offerings.

And it's not just in the realm of what-comes-in-a-tube or bottle. More men – young and old – are looking towards cosmetic surgery to fix their looks as well. "Hair transplants top the list of the most common procedures, followed by liposuction, nose surgery, eyelid surgery, collagen injections, microdermabrasion and chemical peels and breast reduction. Male breast reduction is also a commonly requested procedure in India," adds Dr Dhir. While many slave in gyms to get a sculpted Hritik Roshan-like body, others go in for chest implants and calf implants to have a more manly anatomy. Men increasingly want to change the things they don't like about themselves in the mirror and statistics available from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) show that surgery is becoming increasingly popular with men as a way to deal with image maintenance and change.

The ASAPS figures from 2000 list the top cosmetic procedures for men (surgical) to be liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), hair transplantation, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and gynecomastic (breast reduction). In non-surgical procedures, botox injections, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and collagen injections are most popular. Cosmetic surgery seems to come in handy where gravity and age play truant: Body contouring to lift the buttocks, thigh, arms and abdomen help to reshape the body and remove excess, hanging skin for people who lose weight are the other "in" procedures.

Men, like women, are ready to shell out anything from Rs 6,000 – Rs 25,000 to look good… and this is just the beginning. As Dabur's Mittal puts it, "What's key is that it's an emerging market and the consumer need is sizeable and is expected to grow rapidly." So this year when data on consumer spending comes out and shows rising expenditure in the cosmetics segment, don't think it’s just the women.

PS: What's the world coming to?!

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