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Destigmatizing Men’s Self Care

It’s 2020. The dawn of a new decade, 20 years into a new millennium then, are we still having to write about driving a more progressive attitude towards men’s well being and grooming?

It seems incomprehensible that this should be required, we have come so far in the last 20 years, but equally, there are still the less progressive attitudes that prevail in some families and sectors of society. That means some of the misplaced judgment over male self-care still features. 

In this article, we explore the shifting landscape and conversations surrounding male grooming and self care, mental health, and the generational norms that need to be de-stigmatized.

Equality is in a progressive era, however there is still a widely held opinion that men should repress emotional vulnerability, as it otherwise threatens a more fragile masculinity.

A study led by gender equality advocacy group Promendo and Unilever, conducted in 2018 covering the US, UK and Mexico, established the term “The Man Box.” Adopted to illustrate the sense of internalizing, this phrase refers to the pressure to fall in-line with normative masculine expectation, boxing oneself in to actually avoid the key elements of self-care by projecting resilience, self-sufficiency and “toughness. In all countries, those falling inside the definition of “The Man Box” showed greater bias to mental health issues.

Obviously, there are some men who are able to reject social pressure to conform and embrace the more modern approach of unrestricted access to emotional well being, self-care and skin health. But many, most arguably, are still confined by “the rules.”

The reality is, gender norms are changing.

OK, so we aren’t there on the big picture stuff: mindfulness, work-life balance and so on. But thanks to the digitalization of our world, there are spaces opening up to explore a more balanced view of self-care. This is a safe space of anonymity, acceptance, encouragement, support and expertise, where individuals and brands can play with things that historically have only been freely enjoyed by women, as a result.

We live in interesting times where we are unpicking established standards, norms, expectations and enabling a new approach to evolve.

Ultimately, it is a mix of media and our own industry that perpetuates gender stereotyping. There has long existed a delicate balance between the belief upheld by certain generations and social conditioning; that male attractiveness is connected to “ruggedness,” and yet equally, a sense of basic “presentable” grooming is also expected. But once again ...not too much because otherwise you’re too “into yourself”.

Make an effort ...but, not too much…

When it comes to male focused skin and self-care, some brands and individuals are trailblazing the conversation to erode old barriers to entry for self-care among men. A podcast called “Dewy Dudes ” launched at the end of 2018 to create “bro-speak” around breaking stigmas. Dewy Dudes also has an inclusive Instagram account to share insight, reviews and best practices. There are broadening definitions of traditional words like “handsome”; for some it is about exploring make-up and beauty products and for others it is establishing a more considered grooming regimen, perhaps experiencing treatments for brow shaping, facials etc.

In Korea, 58% of Gen Z men (born after 2000) take significant time over their self-care and grooming practices. The Euro monitor predicts a 24% growth in men’s skincare in the next 5 years reaching $5bn by 2025. Towards the end of 2019, it was British male grooming brand Bulldog, who broke uncharted territory by agreeing to sell in China without compromising their cruelty free stance, such is the demand that a method of distribution was established that did not impair any of their key pillars of brand principles.

The last 10 years,or so, have seen some strong entrants to the male grooming sector that have helped elevate the prestige and experience of skin health management for men. Ironically, many of these brands still adopt a very traditionally masculine styling and tone of voice approach, focusing on words that remain connected to stereotypes.

But grooming and personal care, regardless of gender, has always been about preparing for life, self-care is preparing for, coping with, reflecting on and processing life. It’s grooming and is accepting that we need moments to collect ourselves before we move forward again in order to be our best. Being your best, in your best ...the best version of yourself ...that's not something that we should deride men for, is it?

As a brand - we at Good Science Beauty believe that the practice of skin care, taking care of skin health, mental well being and self-care does not need a specific gender badge.

When it comes to caring for skin health, to us, while there are some differences in skin behavior according to sex, ethnicity and so on…ultimately, skin.  Our bio-courier technology delivers potency beyond skin deep, working in-sync with the body so surface differences are less of a concern to us.

Good science is for all skin. Fact.