Male Maintenance

Men are practical in their purchasing decisions and this extends to skincare. They tend to be wary about products that add too much time to their routine and are also less driven by marketing messages.

With this shift, there is an opportunity to educate customers about how important skin care services and products are to keep skin healthy and youthful. This is where your job comes in. Get active dialogues going with shoppers about the importance of men’s skin care. Keep in mind, however, that a man’s skin requirements and requests differ from those of women.



This is what men really want. They are less interested in the idea of a full, integrated process and more interested in those few essential, results-oriented treatments and products—hard-working simplicity. An effective daily skin care regime should follow those basic laws that have been carved in stone for some time: cleanse/exfoliate, tone/restore, and moisturize/protect.

By turning your male consumers on to products you are pulling double duty by getting men to adopt a regimen for the products they purchase. Products to keep in mind for the male customer are:

  • A shave gel that doubles as a rejuvenating mask
  • Toner that works to strengthen, restore and rebuild the skin
  • A moisturizer that supports and protects skin from the elements, or works on the down low as an anti-aging cream. (Creams that flaunt the wording “renewal” or “rejuvenating” usually contain Vitamin A, a well-known anti-ager.)


Men want to have terrific skin and they love receiving complements, but they desire to get right to the point in their daily treatment routines.


Presentation is Everything

Make sure your marketing materials promote the idea that everything about the treatments and products offered are geared specifically for the active man’s skin; from the ingredients and the ease of use to the serious results. Use physically powerful colors and dynamic phrases in all marketing resources, including displays.


Understanding Male Skin

Men typically have a thicker dermis and epidermis, and higher sensitivity than women. They also produce more sebum and have larger pores than the opposite sex. Their pH has been found to be more acidic, and studies have shown male skin cells carry fewer antioxidants. This results in a greater number of deeper facial lines and hyper pigmentation issues. Additionally, men continually battle a slew of skin issues specifically related to shaving such as ingrown hairs, dryness and razor burn.

Although many of the general products and treatments used today still work on men’s skin, those specifically designed for men will be more effective. For instance, to compensate for the naturally low pH level and higher acidity, men’s bodies naturally work to protect and maintain a proper balance. To do the real work necessary, a cleanser with a pH of 5.3 or less will do well.

Men’s products that are multi-takers give users control over the time spent on their daily skin care maintenance. While there are men who are obsessed with new products and grooming in general, there are also men who would prefer to have one product that does four different jobs.


Key Takeaways

  • Typically, men prefer lightweight, fresh-smelling products that disappear into the skin, leaving no residue.
  • They like simple routines and products that are quick and easy to apply.
  • They are results-orientated, not necessarily price-driven.
  • Because they have thicker and oilier skin, formulations need to be a bit different in order to effectively penetrate the skin.
  • A masculine scent or a lack of scent is important.


Results Oriented

Most bar soaps can trigger allergic reactions. Your customers want a gentle, fragrance-free facial cleanser that works for all skin types to use on a daily basis.

You also want to merchandise toners along with cleansers, or a cleanser-toner combination. Witch hazel, rose water and aloe juices are good toners and some can be very cost effective. They help to clean out the pores and cut through excess oil and sebum, leaving men with clearer, more even skin. Men with acne problems need to incorporate a toner with salicylic acid in their cleansing routine.


Sometimes you need to take an extra step to clean your face. Exfoliate once or twice a week. Our skin is always in a state of multiplying, rebuilding and repairing; the older we get the longer the skin cells stay on our face. Exfoliating will help to remove the buildup of cells and aid in a more gentlemanly appearance.

A granular scrub gently strips away all dead skin and debris, clears out pores, and helps to brighten and smooth out skin.

Close Shave

The best shave is achieved with a straight razor and a hot towel. Be sure to shave in the direction of the hair growth. Those who are prone to having ingrown hairs or razor bumps can use a single blade razor to cut down on excessive over-exfoliation. FYI: shaving is exfoliating.


Be sure to offer various moisturizers that are designed for different skin types. If a male consumer has oily or combination skin, you want to offer them something lighter than a moisturizer for normal or dry skin.



Masks draw out debris from clogged pores and minimize their appearance:

  • Clay and mud draw out impurities and have tightening and toning properties.
  • Honey and seaweed hydrate and moisturize: Everyday shavers should seek out hydrating masks.
  • Gel masks usually deliver necessary ingredients, serums and peptides to skin.
  • Enzyme masks digest cells, exfoliate and improve the texture of the skin.

Eye Cream

Men are usually not too quick to buy eye cream, but they do notice the lines creeping in and are equally concerned about them. Men are more apt to use treatment gels and creams that can perform a multitude of tasks like peptide gels enriched with vitamins rather than to break their face up in quadrants to treat every little concern. An eye cream helps prevent those fine lines that deepen into crows-feet and make users look older than they really are. A cream with caffeine in it also helps reduce puffiness and dark bags under the eyes. An eye cream or moisturizer with vitamin K, capsicum or cinnamon is great for spider veins and bags under the eyes because these aid in circulation, which incidentally is the cause.

Lip Balm

A lip balm with some SPF protection helps keep lips from being dry, cracked and chapped. It also works to prevent sun damage.

Body Wash

A soap that dries out the face isn’t really any better for the body. A body wash won’t stress skin out the way soap can. A body wash that includes oil-dissolving salicylic acid can help keep body acne under control.


As a store owner, you must be the one to arm your male customers with the appropriate sun protection they need!  ß Make this a pulled quote


Sun Protection

Although finishing a treatment with protection is essential, it’s even more imperative for men because they have a higher rate of skin cancer. This is largely in part because men often spend more time in the sun, do not wear sunscreen, and information on the importance of wearing sunscreen simply isn’t as available to them as it is for women.

If you overwhelm your male clients too quickly, they just glaze over and you lose them, so focus on a results-oriented treatment, and let that do the work for you. Consider starting your male customers on a simple two-step regimen. Building displays that offer these couplings will be fantastic and profitable.

Remember, men should cleanse their face twice daily and apply a protector every morning to shield skin from damaging elements such as wind, sun and other pollutants, particularly if they play or work outdoors. Sun is good for the health of skin as it kick starts vitamin D synthesis in the body. Adversely, sunburned skin is hazardous to skins health. Help men balance sun exposure and sun protection by having several types of sun block available. Men may prefer a micronized sun block that works just as well as the old school formulas, but is lighter.


Knowledge is Power

Being armed with knowledge of effective products for your male customers will keep your business lively, diversified and successful. Remember to keep it simple—tailor and couple the products that will work together to deliver results, while continuing to recommend and help set them on the path to healthy skin care.

OTC Beauty Magazine offers useful business tips and effective selling tools to boost revenue and customer traffic for OTC retailers. The magazine also provides invaluable product knowledge, industry news and insights for retail store owners, manufacturers, distributors and professionals in the barber and beauty supply industry. Contact us:

Read the latest issue of
OTC Beauty Magazine

April 2024


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