Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Movember!

It's Movember, the month men grow their facial hair or get moving for 30 minutes a day to bring awareness of men's health issues, and to celebrate, my wonderful Raymond shaving his face clean and starting all over again!

Men's products aren't that different from women's. They contain the same ingredients and may be exactly the same formulations, but they tend to have different names - for instance, "skin hydrator" instead of "body wash" and "shower tool" instead of "shower poof" - and different fragrances.

I wrote my first post on men's products in 2010, and things have changed since then! Men are oiling beards, waxing moustaches, and pomading hair, in addition to washing and hydrating and moisturizing. They're using as many products as we are in a day, and they are loving it!

Men's skin is different. Men's skin tends to be thicker than women's skin and they experience more gradual thinning of the skin over their lifetime, whereas women's skin thins quickly after menopause. Men have about 20% more elastin and collagen than women, and they have less subcutaneous fat than women (they tend to gain fat under their muscle, which explains why they don't tend to get cellulite). Because the ratio of skin collagen to skin thickness is higher, they seem to age less quickly than women. Men's skin is more resistant to sun exposure, but you still need to use sunscreen!

And because they tend to have higher levels of sebum over their lifetimes, they are more prone to acne and pimples, larger pores, and blackheads. (Although this sebum production drops after 40, like it does with women, men tend to have higher sebum production at all ages). This might sound like a hardship, but oily skin tends to experience aging slower than dry skin, so again they appear to age more slowly than women!

Men tend to sweat more than women, which can increase the hydration of the skin, but it can also encourage skin cells to remain on the skin instead of shedding.

When we're formulating for men's skin, we'll want to lean towards ingredients for oily skin and hair. (This isn't to say that all men have oily skin and hair, but if you don't know his skin or hair type, oily is your best bet!) Surfactants like C14-16 olefin sulfonate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild) are good choices for gentle removal of sebum.

Men will likely want to exfoliate their skin more to help with the removal of skin cells and reduce acne (when skin cells don't desquamate, they can build up and cause more pimple problems). This can be done with a poofy scrubby thing in the shower or by using ingredients like salicylic acidwhite willow bark, or AHAs. You don't want to go overboard with the exfoliation - scrubbing skin until it's stingy and pink is a bad idea - but you will want to do it regularly.

And finally, consider the impact of shaving on a man's face. Men's faces tend to be dehydrated because of all that shaving and they can experience increased transepidermal water loss because of the nicks and cuts daily shaving can cause. Although an astringent after shave splash - much like a toner - might feel good, using ingredients that will last longer on the face is a better idea. Humectants and cationic polymers are your friend in this situation! And an after shave lotion is an even better idea, and one filled with oils with loads of linoleic acid or gamma linoleic acid, like sunflower, soy bean, borage, or evening primrose oil will help increase skin's barrier repair abilities.

When it comes to hair, there are no biological differences between men's hair and women's. They're less likely to alter it chemically - straightening or dying - and physically - straightening and curling - so they will likely need less conditioning. And, as I mentioned above, they will tend towards oilier hair and scalp.

If they're using oil based products like pomades, they may need more concentrated shampoos designed to remove a lot of that oil and but leave hair feeling soft and manageable. Some prefer not to use conditioner as an extra step, so 2-in-1 products might be a better choice than not having any conditioning at all.

Join me this month as we celebrate manly products for the month of Movember!

I must warn you in advance that I don't have any oil based products like moustache wax or pomade or beard oils as I don't have any men in my life who use these kinds of products. If you have a killer recipe you'd like to share with the readers of this blog, please write to me at and let us know about it with a recipe, a picture, and your review. I'll thank you with a copy of the e-book of your choice! (Sorry I can't afford to pay you, but as I'm not making any money from the posts, I don't have any money to share out! I believe that content creators deserve to be paid!) 


Jmc said...

have you ever tried to make a pomade my brother in law would really like one and I am at a loss

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

"I must warn you in advance that I don't have any oil based products like moustache wax or pomade or beard oils as I don't have any men in my life who use these kinds of products."