Beauty trends take root among China's male pop­u­la­tion

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Wang Han

Skin­care prod­ucts, per­fumes, sham­poo and gels, trendy clothes, ac­ces­sories and cosmet­ics – these things are no longer lim­ited to women, at least not

in China. More a and more lo­cal men are in­vest­ing in t their ap­pear­ance. The global male groom­ing mar­ket was val­ued at $47.2 bil­lion in 2015, and the amount is ex­pected to reach $60.7 bil­lion by 2020, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics re­leased by Euromon­i­tor, the world’s lead­ing in­de­pen­dent provider of strate­gic mar­ket re­search. So what do for­eign men think about the trend? To glean insight into how males from m dif­fer­ent coun­tries take care of their ap­pear­ance, the Global Times re­cently in­ter­viewed a num­ber of for­eign­ers in Shanghai about their per­sonal groom­ing habits, as well as their opin­ions on beauty and fash­ion. Ben Al­magor, 34, from Is­rael, is a fash­ion de­signer in Shanghai. He said he takes care of his ap­pear­ance in lay­ers, from body, to skin to hair. “I go shop­ping some­times for stuff that I feel is cool, and I go to the gym; I go run­ning and dosports to build up my body. I also go to a hair­dresser,” he told the Global Times. An­other fash­ion de­signer, 30-yearold Ra­mone Turn­quest from Lon­don, said he pays at­ten­tion to his ap­pear­ance and en­joys groom­ing him­self. “I usu­ally shop at places like Zara, and I do a lot of on­line shop­ping. My style is a bit more for­mal, as you can see how I’m dressed now – very pro­fes­sional,” he told the Global Times, adding that he rarely wears jeans. In terms of beauty prod­ucts, Turn­quest said he is not a big fan of per­fume, but he uses a range of skin­care prod­ucts. He ex­plained that in Lon­don, adult males tend to dress daily life, such as semi-for­mal in dress shirts and dresstrousers. “Peo­ple tend to be very su­per­fi­cial, so ev­ery­body is mak­ing sure their hair is look­ing right. They use a lot of prod­ucts on their hair and their face, like mois­tur­izer. Mois­tur­izer is the key,” he added. An­other Bri­tish na­tional, Richard, who is in his early 30s, said men in the UK usu­ally pay at­ten­tion to their clothes. As for skin­care, he said more guys use skin­care prod­ucts, es­pe­cially when they get older; hair gel is also a males com­mon prod­uct among Bri­tish But per­son­ally, Richard said he does not place too much at­ten­tion on his dress style, skin or hair­style. “I don’t do it very well. I go to a gym a few times a week. I use a lit­tle bit of mois­tur­izer,” he said.

Like Richard, 23-year-old Amer­i­can Don­nie Oland said he uses the same prod­uct for his en­tire body. “I use a non-harm­ful biodegrad­able soap that I can put ev­ery­where on my body and keep my skin [look­ing] good,” he said. “Keep it very sim­ple. Don’t do all these other prod­ucts and makeup things be­cause it is not nat­u­ral for your body. Do some­thing nat­u­ral and keep your body healthy. You’ll feel good and look great!”

Less mas­cu­line?

An­other in­ter­vie­wee, 30-year-old Poland na­tional Matty, said he does not use skin­care prod­ucts, ex­cept some soap when tak­ing a shower. “But I use cologne. I love cologne. But I don’t care much about my ap­pear­ance. I don’t like to spend money on my ap­pear­ance. I like to spend money on trav­el­ing,” he said.

But what do our male in­ter­vie­wees think about the trend that Chi­nese males are in­vest­ing more and more in their ap­pear­ance? Does it make them less mas­cu­line?

Oland told the Global Times that the def­i­ni­tion of mas­culin­ity is more about whether a man feels good about his body or not – not about what prod­ucts he uses or what clothes he wears. “I don’t think there is any­thing un­mas­cu­line about feel­ing good about your­self,” he added.

Turn­quest also thinks be­ing well­groomed does not make a man “girly,” and he hopes more cos­metic brands will ex­pand their men’s col­lec­tions. “I am a fash­ion de­signer, and I de­sign men’s wear. So, I find men now are ex­per­i­ment­ing more with fash­ion.”

“Back then, peo­ple thought if you look too fash­ion­able you are con­sid­ered soft or gay,” he added. “But guys now seem to be more open with their style. And that’s good. I like the trend and hope­fully the trend con­tin­ues.”

Sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments were echoed by Al­magor, who also said be­ing groomed is not in any con­flict with be­ing mas­cu­line. He be­lieves an “ad­vanced” man can be good at tak­ing care of his ap­pear­ance while also feel­ing mas­cu­line in­side.

But he sug­gested that a gen­tle­man should not look more groomed than his girl­friend or wife. “Let your woman be the queen. That is im­por­tant,” he said.

More style?

Al­most all of our in­ter­vie­wees said be­ing well-groomed tends to bring them some spe­cial ben­e­fits, such as be­ing more at­trac­tive to women. “A lot more peo­ple are be­ing su­per­fi­cial. A lot more women ex­pect their guys to be clean­cut,” Turn­quest said.

Like­wise, Richard said men who take good care of their ap­pear­ance might find it is eas­ier to find girl­friends. Al­magor and Oland be­lieve how a man looks can re­flect his per­son­al­ity.

“The way a per­son presents him­self ex­ter­nally can re­flect how the per­son takes him­self in­ter­nally,” Al­magor said. “And be­ing well-groomed can show that you love your­self and treat your­self well both in­side and out.”

Oland ex­plained that if a man is able to take good care of his ap­pear­ance and body, it sug­gests he might also be able to take good care of oth­ers.

When asked which coun­tries’ men have the best style and taste, most in­ter­vie­wees agreed on Italy and France. “I think Ital­ians gen­er­ally have a good rep­u­ta­tion for hav­ing good style. That be­ing said, I am an Amer­i­can and some­times my style is not so bad,” Oland joked.

Like­wise, Al­magor said, “I have to say Ital­ian and French guys are most at­ten­tive, most well-groomed and have more sense of style.”

But what do they think about the dress code and style of Chi­nese males? Many said men in Shanghai are quite well-dressed and good at groom­ing. Al­magor felt the dress styles of young men in Shanghai are even more ad­vanced than the av­er­age man in West­ern coun­tries.

“They [men in Shanghai] ac­tu­ally are cooler and more at­ten­tive to trends,” he said. “But if you take a look at the older gen­er­a­tion and the men who live out­side of Shanghai, their styles are less trendy and less cool.”

Al­magor found a vast dif­fer­ence be­tween the styles of men in first-tier cities like Shanghai and in other cities. “There is a gap ob­vi­ously in how you get the trends ear­lier or later, and how you per­ceive the trends and in­cor­po­rate them into your ap­pear­ance,” he said.

Sim­i­lar ideas were echoed by Richard, who said the av­er­age Chi­nese man in Shanghai is well-dressed, but he no­ticed that in other parts of China, the fash­ion is dif­fer­ent.

Oland thinks the av­er­age Chi­nese man takes good care of their ap­pear­ance, ex­cept that some mid­dle-aged men here have pot bel­lies.

Turn­quest felt there is no huge dif­fer­ence be­tween the dress styles of Bri­tish and Chi­nese males. “A lot of Chi­nese guys dress the same way, un­less it is hot, then you see the style changes a lot,” he said.

Photo: VCG

More and more men are in­vest­ing in their ap­pear­ance.

Pho­tos: Xiang Jun/GT and VCG

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