Munich (dpa) – There was a time when a man’s entire cosmetics collection consisted of deodorant and soap. But now there’s a huge range of made-for-men anti-ageing creams, wrinkle creams and skin-peel products.  That’s paying off for cosmetics manufacturers: last year the global men’s cosmetics market grew by over 6 per cent. According to German skin-care manufacturer Beiersdorf, the market is set to grow even more.

Men's cosmetics is big business
Men’s cosmetics is big business — photo: dpa

One explanation for the growth is the emphasis we place on looking young and dynamic in the workplace. Spending the whole day staring at a computer is no excuse for having rings under your eyes.

“Looking attractive is regarded as being part of what you put into your work,” says Rebekka Reinhard, author of the German beauty advice book Schoen. It’s okay for someone to work 10 hours a day in an office, but it’s not all right to show it in your appearance.

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Reinhard has written that it’s considered almost immoral in today’s West for a man not to work on his looks.

“It’s like when a man lets his potential get smothered by layers of fat and flabby skin.”

A round belly is no longer regarded as a sign of wealth in most workplaces. Modern managers are more likely to boast about the latest marathon they’ve run than what they just ate.

In the United States, it’s not unusual for beauty tips to be a topic of discussion among a group of men.

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“It’s becoming normal over there for guys to have their tear ducts removed and get their faces lifted so they stay looking young and maintain their career chances,”

Men's cosmetics is big business
Men’s cosmetics is big business — photo: dpa

explains Reinhard.

A growing number of men in Europe are opting for cosmetic surgery to get closer to their ideal image.

In Germany, for example, 16 per cent of all patients who underwent cosmetic surgery last year were men. A third of patients who had their ears or chins altered were men, according to the German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

“Hair loss, big ears and prominent chins,” are a few of the typical male “problem zones,” according to surgeons.

The cosmetics industry has also responded to demand by offering lunchtime treatments for men on the go.

Twenty per cent of clients who visit Germany’s Nivea Spa shops – a chain of city-centre salons offering facials and massages – are men, according to a spokeswoman for Beiersdorf, Nivea’s owner.

“They tend to book the massages more than facial treatments, but there is definitely a trend among men for manicures and pedicures, especially during the summer months,” she said.

For men who want more than just a quick fix, there are a range of more permanent options to choose from.

“Lots of men get their eyebrows dyed,” says Angela Wuerstle. The Munich-based hairstylist says she has observed a growing number of successful businessmen are placing emphasis on how they look. They’re getting their hair dyed and eyebrows thinned out more often.

According to cosmetics maker Beiersdorf, there is another factor driving growing sales. Half of all beauty products for men are bought by their women. Among the latest products on the market aimed at men are night creams.