THE MANICURED MAN
Beauty trends take root among China's male population
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!”
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.
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.
More and more men are investing in their appearance.