by Robert Cribb
For most of human history, the only skin-care products found in a man's bathroom were a slimy bar of soap and shaving cream.
Now, contemporary men face a gush of high-end skin-care products promising unprecedented hair and complexion transformation.
It's part of a complex marketing machine that, against all early odds, is successfully converting the ungentle sex to the hedonistic luxuries of green tea extracts, mineral cocktails and "tri-blend" cleansers.
The most interesting revelation to emerge from this primped-up male skin phenomenon is that men, as well as women, are willing to dish out $200 for moisturizer. And Canadian companies are among the sensitive-new-age-male skin-care companies vying for those dollars.
Take, for example, the 4VOO line of male-focused exfoliation scrubs, lift treatments and shave balms that come encased in steely packaging with hefty price tags.
From their South Service Rd. address in Stoney Creek, the company sells its exclusive formulas to
skin-knowlegeable, well-heeled men internationally, thanks in part to prominent ads in men's magazines.
The company's "ultra intensive age-defying complex," billed as a "revolution in anti-aging" that mimics the effects of
Botox, is indeed a luxurious bit of bottled hope. But suspending the aging process isn't cheap: $200 (U.S.) for 50 millilitres (online and at Harry Rosen's Bloor St. location).
Fixmen by Quantum, another Canuck brand, has a fresh, masculine-scented line of skin-care, hair-management and
hair-colour products featuring such ingredients as "Amazonian extract" with its "antioxidant powerhouse" properties. It's the kind of ingredient list you won't see on a bar of Irish Spring. And a sampling of Fixmen concoctions (sold only in salons) shows there really is a difference.
While bamboo milk or peptides may not transform the male mug with all the drama claimed by promotional copywriters, they do provide a sense of indulgent evolution from Zest.