Hot 'n' happening: Man-ly skin care
The days when a morning grooming ritual consisted of a quick shave are over as men go in for more effort nowadays - from skin cream to anti-ageing liquids and even cosmetics. The market is offering everything a man's heart could desire in the area of personal care products.
"Men have dramatically changed their grooming habits," said Martin Ruppmann of Germany's association for cosmetic product distributors in Wiesbaden.
"They are placing more emphasis on their appearance and aren't waiting until their girlfriends gift them personal care products."
They are browsing the aisles of perfume shops and drug stores themselves, confirmed Ursula Lueders of Germany's product testing foundation in Berlin.
A well-groomed appearance is no longer just a woman's domain, added Elisabeth Riehemann of Jean Paul Gaultier perfumes in Munich.
"A man's skin is different from a woman's in that it holds more oil and therefore requires moisture more than extra oil," Ruppmann said. Aside from that, shaving makes the skin more sensitive.
"Special products for men aren't necessarily needed," Lueders noted. "Depending on skin type, an all-purpose or a baby cream should suffice. The main thing to remember is it should not be too oily."
Apart from the scent and design of the product, men like to see immediate results, said Annette Kreuels of Lancome in Duesseldorf. With that in mind, Lancome's product for tired eyes has a sort of ice cube effect.
Another Lancome product that can be practical when men are on the road is a facial cloth that is designed to remove the shine caused by stress and hectic schedules.
The Baden-Baden company Biodroga promotes its Morning Fit Gel as having a "cooling, skin-tightening and mood-brightening" effect. An extract from the African cola nut revitalises the skin with a caffeine-like effect.
The Paris-based French manufacturer Nickel promotes The Morning After that also claims to have the effect of caffeine on the skin.
There's hardly a spot on a man's body that is not looked after by a specific personal care product. Ahava of Wiesbaden offers hand creams especially for men.
There's a vitamin serum from the US company Zirh that claims to provide protection from environmental influences, and Energy Cream Q 10, an anti-ageing cream from the Hamburg-based Beiersdorf's Nivea men's product line.
Men's skin is also offered protection from wrinkles. The daily peeling product Anti-Rides Line Peel promises smooth and glowing skin, according to the manufacturer Biotherm in Duesseldorf.
Shiseido in Duesseldorf offers a product called Body Creator Abdomen Toning Gel for reshaping men's problem zones - the belly, hips in particular.
Manufacturers also are coming out with make-up like cosmetics for men, such as Gaultier's Face Bronzer, which is meant to provide evenly toned skin. There's also a special gel designed to bring unruly eyebrows into shape and a concealing cream for men handsomely designed like an ink pen for covering red splotches and blemishes.
No matter where a man turns he's not likely to escape the use of a personal care product especially tailored to his needs.
"A man's skin needs care," Ruppmann stressed. "And men have gradually accepted this to be true."