Take a look at men a few decades ago and their grooming regime consisted of little more than a regular shave and a bit of Brylcreem on their hair. There were of course exceptions to the rule, but you’d have been hard pushed to find a majority that did much more than shave and style their hair.
Fast forward to the 1990s and you see the rising popularity of the metrosexual. The man who wants to take care of his appearance more so than ever before and isn’t concerned about price nor what people think.
Although there are mixed views on today’s male grooming regimes and preferences for appearances, there’s no doubt that it’s a huge industry which more and more men are buying into. Generally packed full of traditionally female products that have been redesigned (or simply repackaged) for men, the following five are some of the most popular – and alarming – examples.
1. Mascara and eye shadow
Some of the most traditionally female products out there, mascara and eye shadow are increasingly popular with men (in fact, some are even suggesting that the popularity of men’s mascara has actually passed and we’re now into a stage where wearing it is not considered to be anything special or out of the norm).
Both worn by many famous men (numerous male musicians wear mascara, but did you know Elvis loved a bit of blue eyeshadow?), a man can now easily buy both without having to walk into the women’s section of the cosmetics store.
2. High heels
Yes, you did read that right – men can now buy their very own high heeled shoes.
There’s not much I’ve got to say on this one. I’m completely open-minded when it comes to men doing what they want, but high heels could be just one step (ahem) too far.
Women have been using corsets for centuries to pull in their waist. Giving them a more flattering figure by accentuating their hips and bust, they might have peaked in popularity in the 19th century, but they’re still particularly popular today.
But did you realise their popularity is with men as well as women?
Generally coming in the form of high waisted boxer shorts or vests that have been specially designed to distribute any excess weight evenly across your body, there have also been a number of more traditional corsets aimed at men seen on the catwalks in recent years, but so far their progression to the stores has been minimal at best.
4. Moisturisers, exfoliators and creams
On the surface, this one might not seem so alarming. Men’s moisturisers and aftershave balm are pretty much staple parts of many modern man’s grooming regime – but these products really are just the tip of the iceberg.
For example, did you know you can now buy exfoliating facial scrubs that are aimed at giving your skin a deep clean and getting rid of the dead skin? What about eye cream that’s supposed to revitalise your eyes after a long night? Or perhaps some firming cream to help give your skin a younger look?
5. Hair straighteners
Image: Kevin Cortopassi (Flickr)
Curly or wavy hair is often considered to be the bane of many women’s lives and hair straighteners were invented to help iron out any kinks before the woman heads out for the day.
With the rise in popularity of the metrosexual male, it became apparent that more and more men who suffered the same problem of curly or wavy hair were starting to use their girlfriend’s straighteners – and simply put, this has led to a huge increase in the amount of straighteners marketed at men (not always called ‘men’s hair straighteners’, the product branding of many short-hair straighteners has been designed to appeal to men just as much as women.