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A new era in male grooming

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-22 10:51

During my teenage years, I often obsessed about my appearance. Probably all teenage urban girls do-dissatisfaction with parts of our body, the desire to be more attractive ... that's kind of natural, isn't it?

Luckily, as a female, use of cosmetics, especially makeup, came easily to me, a kind of self-expression, an empowering feeling that I can take care of my appearance and grooming. Can the same be said about men? Probably not, because popular images of men as portrayed in media tend to be opposite of notions of men who use cosmetics just to look good.

Chinese women are usually dressed in fashionable clothes with impeccable hair and makeup. But, at the risk of sounding prejudiced or harsh, let me say this: many Chinese men are not well-dressed and even appear dirty and unhygienic.

That's probably a result of a stereotype: if you are a man, you don't spend time and money on things like grooming and fashion.

In the past, people usually would have a dim view of men spending too much time pampering themselves. But now, the millennials, especially those born in the 1990s, who are rising among the workforce, refuse to be satisfied with the status quo. This marks a new era for men's grooming and fashion.

Growing up in the internet and social media era, the young male generation, compared to their parents, are more tech-savvy and pay more attention to their appearance. The ads in media present images that convey the idea of a perfect 21st-century male, which is also shaping the millennial mindset on what is regarded as manly.

A new report by Wu Xiaobo Channel, male fashion media Du Shaofei and the JD Research Institute found males born in the 1990s take more care of their appearance, and love to buy grooming and fashion products like menswear and skincare products. But those born in the 1980s and 1970s prefer to buy cooking materials such as flavorings, grain and oil.

According to the report, the middle-class males' top shopping item is menswear, and the skincare products category also figures in their list of top 10 shopping items.

Dongguan, a city in Guangdong province, leads in terms of Chinese men's shopping. It is followed by Shenzhen in the same province and Suzhou in Jiangsu province, while Tier 1 cities, including Beijing, have not made the list due to the lower proportion of male consumption.

The report shows that 92 percent of the surveyed respondents attach importance to health and would love to buy related products and services. Significantly, the key driver of consumption is their desire to be more attractive, as 35.5 percent of the respondents aim to build muscle by working out.

"The male fashion market is of huge potential," noted a report from The Boston Consulting Group and AliResearch. "And the key is to better cater to males' increasing fashion desire and their personalized needs."

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