Men vs Women: What products work?


Pic Credit: iStock

Boys, admit it. How many times have you sneaked a spritz of your missus’ favourite hairspray? Or treated yourself to a bit of her pricey shampoo?

And ladies  – have you ever been tempted to do the same?

According to the beauty company Natural Spa Factory, there is a growing trend for swiping products from the opposite sex – with 30% admitting to using their partner’s products.

But does it really matter?

“I’ve not seen any evidence to show that a product can identify whether it’s being used on male skin or female skin,” says Sam Farmer, a dad of two who set up his own line of unisex skincare. “If it works on skin, it will work on any skin.”

Instead, it is psychological differences rather than physiological ones that dictate gender variations in products. In women’s beauty luxe ingredients and lavish packaging are considered the norm. Meanwhile men’s products steel-grey and macho with aggressive names that promise to ‘hyper-energise’ and ‘arctic-cool”.

Vlogger NikkieTutorials (who has 5.5 million followers) swears by using Nivea’s Men’s Shaving Balm as a primer. 


And while women get bombarded with “Anti-Ageing” products, men are offered “De-Ageing” or “Age-control” items.  According to skin-science expert Emma Kohring this is because brands have caught on to the fact that men and women feel differently about ageing. “Things are changing, but 100-odd years of feminism can’t change thousands of years of evolutionary biology — men can carry on procreating into their seventies and eighties, whereas women can’t,” explained Kohring. “Youth isn’t such an important commodity for men.”

But beneath the label and the packaging,  the ingredients can be almost identical. Compare Lancôme Men Génific HD serum next to Lancôme Advanced Génifique serum, or No7 Men Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream and No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream, and you’ll find the active ingredients are pretty much the exact same— making them equally effective.

And it’s not only the products that are startlingly similar – men’s shopping habits are almost on par with their wives. According to research, men now spend an average of £250 a year – only £72 less than women – on skin and body care.

While men might enjoy the luxury of their partner’s beauty cabinet (come on, who isn’t tempted by silky packaging and expensive scents?) it seems women are just as happy to nick swipe product’s from the men’s shelf.

And Natural Spa Factory founder Emma Webber thinks there’s a good reason why women might want to borrow from their boyfriends -avoiding the pink tax. “We found that women still pay on average 28 per cent more than men for beauty products, but are also increasingly ‘borrowing’ or outright buying products marketed at the opposite sex. Our experience working with some of the best spas across the UK has showed us that ‘female’ products have exactly the same results on men’s skin so there is no need to attach a gender to beauty products.”

So there you have it. Ladies of Scotland, go forth and swipe some products from the men’s aisle. It won’t do any harm to your skin – or your bank balance.

Check out out our favourite unisex brands below and get the best of both worlds

From left:  Dr Sebagh Supreme Eye Serum, £95;  Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser, £27; The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, £5.90; Primark Pro Lip Scrub £3; Perricone MD Intensive Pore Minimizer, £50; L’Oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask £8; Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum; Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Hydrator, £43; Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm £5.35



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