Skincare is for Men, Too

It’s winter and that means I’m with a lot of other BirminghamMoms trying to get our husbands to internalize this message: You are no less a man if you use basic skincare products.

It amazes me that even sensitive, thoughtful men can be so unilaterally opposed to skincare of any sort. Somewhere the John Wayne decision model (If the Duke wouldn’t do it, neither would I) has done a disservice to men everywhere. If John were still around, I’d recommend some skincare company get ahold of him as a spokesman to assure our defiant fellows that it is okay to apply a moisturizer. Of course, John would probably have too much residual sun damage to be very convincing.

Although men can bear the signs of aging more distinctively than women (would a women’s hair product called “Touch of Gray” ever make it commercially?), there is a point at which the pure discomfort of chapped skin should overrule any misplaced worry about being seen as a sissy. Although men’s skincare is evolving, the market is a long way from Gift With Purchase.

Sunscreen on the golf course might pass muster, but the only luck I have had in launching a skincare mission is  to bring home products that are almost medicinal in their marketing approach:

  • No attractive people on the package. Any man whose photo is on a package must be a sissy, thus destroying any perceived credibility.
  • No pleasant fragrance, since this would be too great a leap from the menthol odors of Bengay and Vick’s Vapor Rub, the only other skin potions the manly man would approve.
  • No promises of softer or glowing skin. Vanity is pursued through machinery like cars or lawn mowers, not unctions and creams.
  • Nothing can be considered a skincare regimen. A regimen means trying, and John Wayne wouldn’t try
  • A few suggested products that meet these criteria and are reallly good:

    Neutrogena’s Noreweigan Formula Cream – The package claims the formula began with Norweigan Fishermen who worked in the unforgiving icy sea waters. This is appealing since fishermen are often featured on “Deadliest Catch” risking their very lives just to trap crabs. Also, the Nords have that Viking ancestry, which makes any Norwegian Formla sound stout enough even for today’s mighty office man. 

    No Crack Cream – The product has been around awhile, and maybe it’s the straightforward name that makes it so non-threatening to the reluctant male (or is it a Bart Simpson sense of mischief?). Anything that claims relief for farmers, gardeners, and factory workers has to be an earnest, non “beauty” product.

    Udder Cream and Bag Balm, available at drug stores, were originally created for dairy cows. Moms need no further explanation.

    These fine products that have stood the test of time and work very well. However, I refuse to open a medicine cabinet in my home and see something called “Bag Balm” looking back at me. Call it a regenerating serum, a beauty butter, or an anti aging break through, but not something that suggests an old bag. It turns out I, too, have some skin care hangups.

  • Beth

    Some men just take some time getting use to things especially if raised in a mostly male household. I will say that JRC has never used anything but Vaseline Intensive Care not even when I gave him a father’s day present of Aqua Velva Ice Blue. Many men just don’t know about grooming products. “Do you frost your hair?” :)