All beauty is gender-neutral, isn’t it about time everyone saw it this way? I investigated the impact that this transformation is having on the beauty industry.
Society has taken a huge non-binary shift over the last few years, and it’s about time that beauty brands caught up with the move. More people than ever are coming out as transgender, non-binary or one of the many other gender identities. On the retail front, unisex fragrances and clothes have been around for some time now, so why is the beauty industry bashfully playing catch up?
With the developments and expectations of society moving quicker than ever before, I decided to explore exactly what about the beauty industry needs to be modified.
A recent study has discovered that one in twenty British men now wear makeup of some capacity. Some simply use it to cover up blemishes and others wear it to express their prolific creativity and noble identity. It’s rightfully become the norm for men to thrive on beauty and skincare – for whatever reason they feel necessary – and it was only a matter of time before individual products and the way they’re presented began to follow suit. The most important part of this evolution is that it is a solid, metamorphic movement and not an interim trend.
His? Hers? How about, both? Realistically, a lot of products are and always have been suitable for both men and women. A prime example of this concluded a very pointless, albeit money-saving shop for a Liz Earl Hot Cloth Cleanser. I explained to the shop assistant that I had some of the men’s product at home and was here to purchase the women’s version. He instantly told me to save myself the money and use the men’s due to their parallel ingredients, and that the only thing that differentiated the two was a component to make the women’s one smell more feminine. This indicates that other than the scented attributes to some skincare (which appears to be phasing out due to the eau natural hype), a lot of gendered products are very similar.
Evidently, this isn’t always the case and factors like density can differ when it comes to skincare. Men’s skin is a lot thicker than women’s and therefore may need to be treated differently, so how does gender-neutral skincare work? It works in exactly the same way that you’d shop differently for dry skin and oily skin. Consultant Dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible, Dr Anjali Mahto, told The Independent that she “wouldn’t say it is really about male versus female skin and always choosing products that are marketed for either men or women.” She said “the most important consideration is skin type. I always recommend a skincare plan tailored to each individual based on their needs and the best ingredients or treatments for a particular issue.”
But what about makeup? Whether it’s a mere dab of concealer to cover up an unwanted blemish or a full face of all-out glory, men are wearing makeup almost as much as women now (cue Queer Eye effect). David Yi, founder of the men’s beauty website Very Good Light explained to CNN why he thinks the definition of masculinity is changing and what it has to do with beauty.
“I love makeup, and I love the way it makes me feel. It makes me feel more powerful and sexy and masculine, I think masculinity is all about feeling confident, all about being your best self, all about your authentic self and feeling comfortable with who you are.”
Makeup products should never deprive anyone of that feeling of self-assurance.
Until now, the beauty industry has always been very black and white (or pink and grey) when it comes to aesthetics. Female products have always had splashes of beautiful colour that express much more emotion than a simple face cream physically can. They’re bright, appealing, usually labelled with a cute or provocative name and are stereotypically-20th-century-style ‘girly’. Think ‘millennial pink’ but without the connotation. On the other hand, the products that were labelled for ‘men’ were kept very neutral; blue and grey colours that lacked any form of engaging decoration.
Not only has there been a significant change to the opinion that ‘pink is for girls’ and likewise with blue and boys, but many beauty brands are launching now with a neutral design that is either black, white, silver, or something that doesn’t scream ‘ I AM FOR A SPECIFIC GENDER’. The packaging is an incredibly important factor when it comes to inclusivity and so making them unbiased is a serious step in the right direction. Georgie Greville, co-founder of Milk Makeup told GQ that:
“there are tons of women who don’t relate to overly feminine packaging as well as many men who don’t need every product to be charcoal grey, black, or marketed as something that will make them more tough.”
She couldn’t have explained it better, in the same way that men don’t need to buy products that are dull looking, not all women are drawn to a pretty pink package.
So, where do we go from here? I think it’s indisputable that the future of the beauty industry is gender-neutral and one day it will just be natural that colours aren’t assigned to genders and that products don’t differ solely on their scent. It may be some time before all men are jumping on the next K-Beauty trend, but at least we’ll be at a point where the men who do want to take care of their skin and wear makeup, won’t be disadvantaged or judged. The beauty industry will have to make a crucial shift that in time will become less voluntary and 100% compulsory if a brand wants to work and adhere to society. The way to someone’s heart (and shopping basket) is by including them and I am so excited to see a gender-fluid paradise fall perfectly into place.
Feature image: The Pancea