The “new man”: same man, new consumer

Brazilian newspapers and magazines have been using the expression “new man” when they refer to men who take care of themselves, express their vanity and pay for aesthetic or urban SPA services. It makes it sound like they are acting strangely and doing things they should not do.

Retail has observed an increase in launches for male grooming products. There clearly was a subtle change in behavior; not by consumers, but by the beauty industry. A good example of that shift is the Dove Men+Care approach in the memorable commercial of its hair care brand in Brazil. 

However the subject is still a taboo. The stereotype brings up the same old imagery: the football, barbecue, beer and women context. Nevertheless, if a man cares for himself, his beauty and consumes beauty products and services then he deserves attention from beauty industry. In short: regardless of his sexuality, the fact is that he shaves and cares for his hair, face, skin and nails. He also worries about the dryness of his hands and protects himself from UV radiation. He is a consumer, a shopper and a user. I define this behavior as “neomasculinity” – but this is a subject for another occasion. 

Contemporary man looks for products that have something to do with his lifestyle and meet his expectations. He has his own favorite brands. He holds his own opinions about the products and the stores he buys from. Just like any other consumer. 

What a Brazilian man calls “fast drying hand cream” is different from what a woman calls “fast drying hand cream”. No stereotypes. It is not because the man is a worker, is a sports fan, is always moving, and needs to use his hands in everyday life more than a woman, housewife and mother. This is certainly not the reason. 

Just like many women, most men prefer products that are less oily and less greasy but are easily spreadable. 

Male skin is oilier, and thus more acid, the scalp tends to dandruff and peeling. If you offer a Brazilian man any product that moisturizes and absorbs skin oiliness he will be somewhat satisfied as this will meet his key needs. Now offer a young executive an ultra-fast drying hand cream. He will not just use it but will also share his opinion with co-workers. The product may even become a birthday gift among them. Men also share their opinion about personal care products with their friends. They also share discounts and great findings. 

It may be excessive but there are still companies that pretend men are not part of the personal care universe, even in times when men are responsible for about 20% of hair removal services in São Paulo. 

The bottom line of this discussion is that it embraces every kind of man, without any attention paid to their lifestyle or sexual orientation. Especially for consumer markets, a man is a man; he is a consumer that needs products related to shaving, hair care, skin care, oral care, fragrances, and many other personal care products and services. 

Gustavo Boaventura is the editor of the blog Cosmética em Foco.

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