Human skin has the same structure whether you’re a woman or a man, so there’s actually no real need to use gender-centric skincare. Beauty products targeted at either women or men seem to be more a product of marketing and stereotyping, than any kind of skin research or fact.
Instead of focusing on gender, Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist and founder of Eileen Tan Skin Clinic & Associates, recommends addressing your skin concerns – skin type (normal, oily or sensitive), medical problems (eczema or acne), and active ingredients and formulation.
That’s why more people are looking for genderless skincare products. It just makes for simpler skincare. It doesn’t pander to the female or male aesthetic. It takes away the noise of packaging and addresses what’s important – a person’s skin concerns. And it prizes results and skin improvements.
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Increasingly, more brands are putting the focus on what your skin needs, regardless of gender. One of the forerunners is plant-based Australian skincare brand Aesop, founded in 1987.
Says its global director for innovation Dr Kate Forbes: “We speak not to age or gender, but to how your skin feels and behaves in response to environmental conditions, hormonal fluctuations, diet, how well you sleep and other factors. The core needs of the skin – to be cleansed, hydrated, nourished and protected… do not lend themselves to one gender.”
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Latest on the market is just-launched Fenty Skin, with its range of three multitasking products – cleanser, toner- serum, moisturiser with SPF and night cream. Its founder, singer Rihanna, says it’s meant for everyone, including the guys.
“The core needs of the skin – to be cleansed, hydrated, nourished and protected… do not lend themselves to one gender.”Dr Kate Forbes, Aesop’s global director for innovationn
Then, there are cult skincare brands like Canadian The Ordinary (launched in 2016) and British The Inkey List (launched in 2018) – both do not segregate between women’s and men’s skincare. “We want all skin types and concerns to feel confident knowing we have ingredients specifically suited to them,” says Colette Newberry, CEO and co-founder of The Inkey List.
The brands say that effective products come down to ingredients, testing and education. Aesop combines botanical and lab-made ingredients to give skin the best of both worlds. The Ordinary focuses on strict testing, which Nicola Kilner, CEO of Deciem, its parent company, says could mean years before a product is deemed suitable for launch.
There’s also a strong emphasis on education, so that customers are better able to create skincare routines suited to their unique skin concerns. In fact, The Inkey List even has an #askINKEY customer service programme that offers free 24/7-365 personalised consultation any time, anywhere.
What it all comes down to is this: Skincare is personal, and you should find what suits you and your skin concerns.