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Indian Men Seeking Male-specific Skin Care

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Large and well-known beauty companies and brands such as L’Oréal, Vichy, Biotherm, Beiersdorf, Issey Mikaye, Shiseido, Clarins, L’Occitane and The Body Shop have also tapped into this increasing awareness and launched products specifically for men. L’Oréal Paris, for example, entered the Indian market with its Men Expert range, which focuses on improving dull skin, razor burn and early signs of aging. While Indian herbal skin care players such as Biotique, Forest Essentials and Shahnaaz Husain have launched body and hair cleansers, masks and sun protection lotion made specifically for men, one of the largest beauty and health care companies in India, Himalaya Healthcare, is now entering the market.

“This market offers huge potential, and despite a whole host of other consumer product companies planning to enter the sector, there will still be space for more,” says Saket Gore, business head of Himalaya Healthcare’s consumer products division. “We will soon be entering the male grooming market with about five products, ranging from [skin lightening] cream to moisturizers and face cleansers. We are also looking to launch specialized skin products such as anti-acne and antiaging offerings.”

Whitening Cream a Trend With Momentum

While activists across India are raising their voices against the racial tone of current skin whitening advertisements, the overall market for skin whitening is growing rapidly. It can be said that the skin care market for Indian men literally took off with skin whitening products.

Beiersdorf’s Nivea brand made a big splash in the Indian media with its “Join The Whitening Revolution,” which shows men on bikes stopping over to freshen up with skin whitening products. According to a company statement, the brand aims to capture the success of the skin whitening craze that has gripped the Indian cosmetics market, especially in the male beauty products category.

Talking about the strategy, Kai Bendix, general manager, Nivea said, “The more than 500 million Indian men are a tremendous yet untapped potential for the cosmetics industry and for Nivea.” Nivea is campaigning to further increase its foothold as the leading skin care manufacturer, aiming to establish “whitening” as the term for male fairness products (“fairness” is a term that has been used for female skin lightening products for several decades). “So far, men are addressed in a very boyish way, and advertising is just circling around ‘getting the girl.’ We clearly wanted Nivea to make a very mature, serious statement to Indian men,” adds Nivea brand manager Sudarshan Singh. The company plans to be the market leader for male cosmetics in the next four years.