Intimate care for men is the new wave in men’s grooming in India currently. Bengaluru-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr Chytra Anand says, “Earlier it was about a clean-shaven chest, back and shoulders but now it is as much about a trimmed and well-maintained pelvic area. The intimate area for men is prone to sweating which can result in rashes, pigmentation and infections.
The new trend is popularising not just hair removal with lasers but also specialised creams (similar to women’s creams) that were launched a few years back.” This healthy defence against chafing and blisters caused by friction and rubbing ‘down there’ has been proven to work well for cyclists, runners and athletes for a long time in the West.
BhishamBhateja, COO and Co-founder of a men’s personal care company that recently launched an intimate hygiene line for men, explains, “Men have been using alternates like coconut oil or talcum powder for years. They just don’t talk about it and hence it’s not a part of our broader narrative. Our intimate care products are for those with an active lifestyle. Men who work out, walk or play sports can use anti-sweat or anti-chafing lotions. And hygiene washes that maintain the Ph to avoid irritation are an option too.”
Though at a nascent stage, it sure has piqued the interest of many. Consumer Manish Gupta says, “I tried a product out of curiosity but didn’t see much difference. I don’t know if we really need it.”
Gupta may not be convinced yet, but there are many who are complete converts and not just to the necessary grooming of their nether regions, but other aspects of self-care as well.
A recent study released by research agency Mintel says the average Indian man spends 16 minutes grooming his body, 14 minutes on his hair and 12 minutes on his face. Contrary to the popular belief that such evolved men will be found mainly in metros and Tier 1 cities, the study reports thamen between the ages of 26 and 40 from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities seem to be clued in to the trend too.
It probably is the beginning of shifting gender norms. Men are now also comfortable in their own skin, even if it is one that is manicured and moisturise! Masculinity itself is evolving, redefining long-held beliefs.
For instance, Bollywood icon Ranveer Singh is famous for his appearances in striking feminine silhouettes. He has challenged the traditional notions of manhood, with no gender hang-ups that usually suffocate the outdated definition of machismo. You can be vulnerable today without being emasculated. Being sensitive is perceived to be a sign of strength. Men don’t rib their friends about getting regular pedicures at salons now.
In fact, Pankaj Killa, CEO and founder director of a chain of beauty salons, claims how three out of 10 clients at his salons are men and thenumber is increasing every year.
He explains the fluid psyche around men’s grooming: “Men have realised that looking good is not just a woman’s domain. Their openness to catching up with the latest fashion, hair highlights, facials, spa, pedicures and clean up services has increased over a period of time. The way I see it, the trend for the future is more men pampering themselves at the salons.”
Image consultant Diya Asrani agrees, “Now, grooming for men has become as important as it has been for women. For example, these days, men not only shape their beards, they even use essential oils to keep the beard moisturised and maintain even growth. A lot of men are taking facials and hair spas more seriously and have made them a part of their regular routine.”