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Men’s Skin Care Requires Different Fragrance Approach

By: Nancy C. Hayden
Posted: November 19, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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For Zirh’s product line, the theme is clean, correct and protect using alpha hydroxyl acids, a blend to correct pH balance, and a protective vitamin E and avocado oil combo for moisturization. The fragrances are nondescript or nonexistent, with menthol and lavender used in the face wash and no fragrance in the moisturizer.

DermaDoctor claims fragrance-free products and uses natural leaf extracts such as green tea leaf, willow bark, nasturtium and grape seed extract. Perricone MD is also fragrance-free; its products’ only scent is of the natural ingredients. Fragrance-free Murad products utilizes sophisticated ingredients such as retinyl palmitate and hyaluronic microspheres, along with glucosamine, lipo-amino acid and the brand’s patented Durian Cell Reform.

Part of Daily Grooming

As men become more appearance- and health-conscious, it is likely many more skin treatment products will become a daily part of their grooming, and when it comes to seriously treating their skin, most men will opt for no fragrance—or possibly something subtle to subliminally enhance the function of the product. When they want to project the fragrance experience into their grooming and treatment products, they will choose a scent that suits them and perhaps buy product line extensions such as after-shave balm or a deodorant stick.

The major players are well aware of these inclinations and are expanding their men’s line offerings accordingly. Unilever, for example, introduced a new men’s line called Dove Men + Care, which features face and body washes and bar soaps. The line also is a natural extension of the Dove bar soap that focuses on moisturization (as well as being a well-accepted brand), and is lightly fragranced, with customer testimonials noting the “manly” scent and being generally positive on the fragrance. Additionally, P&G’s recently acquired Art of Shaving products use lavender, sandalwood and lemon essential oils to fragrance classic formulas. The brand is definitely minimalist in its scent approach, yet very masculine.

The Yin and Yang

Men’s fine fragrance launches are primarily designer-driven, and many designer brands have launched strong woody-spicy-mossy types and contrasted them with a lighter, fresher citrus, outdoors types. This is apparent in two Tom Ford launches: Tom Ford for Men is heavy, mossy, full-bodied and “outdoors;” Grey Vetiver features galbanum and vetiver notes. Versace’s Man Eau Fraiche is a lighter fragrance, as is L’ Homme by YSL, which is a light citrus with clean and fresh woods, but stronger men’s fragrances still pervade, as seen in the recently introduced Paco Rabanne 1 Million, which is the antithesis of light and fresh with its robust woods, amber, moss and spice scent.