In modern society, it’s not only women who have constant pressure put on them to be at the top of their game when it comes to their body and beauty. From the chiseled half-naked men plastered on billboards and the newfound obsession society has with “male beauty,” guys are almost neck and neck with that of their female counterparts when it comes to living up to a high beauty standard. No longer are nail polish, hair color and even makeup limited to the 1970’s memories of the David Bowie glam rock era or the gothic Adam Lambert “guyliner” craze. The modern idea of male perfection is less about glitz and sparkle or intense black eyes and more so about pushing the regiments that women have done seemingly forever. Leading the way are celebrities like Johnny Depp, who regularly sports polish, eyeliner and foundation, and One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles, who allegedly once sported lipstick to one of the boy band’s film premieres.
The dominoes continued to fall as famous fashion designers such as Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford launched male cosmetic products, continuing the trend’s upward climb, as well as a slew of polishing, smoothing, trimming and hair removing products specifically geared towards guys. According to a Co-Operative Pharmacy survey of 2,000 people, half of the men between the ages of 18 and 55 admit to being the now-celebrated neologism “metrosexual.”
However, despite the rise of male grooming trends, lovingly nicknamed “manscaping” for those unaware, many men are still embarrassed to admit to using beautification products. The stigma of the “macho” male continues to permeate even the most liberal of societies, leaving much to be overcome in regards to male nail and skin care practices being viewed as normal as when a female does it. After all, the motivations of manscaping boil down to the same human trait as women: most of us want to look like those guys in the Armani and Abercrombie ads.
According to an article about male body image from The Huffington Post, 37% of the men they questioned said that they would sacrifice at least one year of their life in exchange for obtaining the perfect body. That number has surely grown as this “Adonis complex,” the obsession with achieving society’s idea of the perfect male figure, is one of the biggest factors of growing trends in male cosmetology. Men are now experiencing what women have dealt with since the Rolling Stone covers of the 1960’s: there’s a nearly impossible over-sexualized standard society tells us we should achieve with our bodies.
Despite the industry’s attempts to finally flip the tables on men, us guys have to remember that just because you clip your nails, smooth your feet or use wrinkle prevention cream, doesn’t devalue your masculinity. Society’s idea of the modern male may include porcelain skin, expertly plucked eyebrows and a chiseled physique, but the motivation of manscaping should be for individual expression and to achieve higher self-confidence, knowing that although you may not be the flawless guy in the Calvin Klein ads, you don’t need to be because you’re perfectly YOU. Like that old saying says, true beauty still remains skin deep.
Be sure to check back here regularly for more reviews and tips on how guys are NAILING IT when it comes to their grooming!