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ISSUE OF MARCH 2006 
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Bold, and Beautiful

The metro-sexual man is as interested in his appearance as his female counterpart. In this race of being groomed, the bold is slowly morphing into the beautiful as well. Priya Krishnaswamy reports

As the lady is blatantly becoming bolder, the gentleman is all geared to become beautiful! We live in a time when it pays to look your best, especially at the workplace. And if your job is based on your appearance, then it becomes inevitable.

The concept of masculinity has changed over time depending on the culture and attitudes of that time and metro-sexuals are a part of this evolution. Most men probably coif in the privacy of their own bathrooms with creams and lotions. But it is true that when it comes to personal grooming, men need to take as much care as women, especially since they use shaving creams and after shave on a daily basis.

Grooming League

One of the keys to success is good grooming. Powered by fashionable television and movies, the Indian male is becoming more aware of his appearance.

Officials at Gold Touch Beauty Parlour and School, among the better known beauty parlours in Bangalore, agree that over the past few years, the number of men opting for facials or manicures have increased significantly. "When the men's section at Gold Touch opened five years ago, most of our customers came in for a shave or a haircut. But now quite a number of them come in for beauty treatments as varied as eyebrow shaping to waxing or facials."

Kulu Phokela of the Shahnaz Beauty Parlour & Saloon, Bangalore is of the opinion that grooming is essential for both men and women. "Since the past few years, Indian men have been as keen in presenting their well-groomed persona to public as Indian women. For well-dressed men, shaving or a haircut had always been a necessity. But now a regular manicure and a pedicure are an absolute must." The salon with branches all over the country offers beauty treatments to both men and women.

No surprise then that the male grooming market is worth Rs 800 crore today, the bulk of which is earned from regular shaving products, hair dyes and styling gels. Most manufacturers are pushing unisex products like shampoos and hair colours. Metro-sexuality may be too fresh a market for big attention as yet but for many smaller players, these gender experiments hold enough interest for induction.

Grooming Tips For Men

For Your Hair

  • One of the speedy methods to look younger is to colour your hair. There are a lot of hair colour solutions (L'Oreal, Wella) that can be used both at saloons or at home that cover grey hair with close to natural looking results.
  • Balding is another common problem faced by men. Try a new shorter hair cut and come to terms with accepting your changing look. However, when men begin balding, there may be growth of excessive hair in the nose, ears or back. Take care to trim or wax the unwanted hair for a cleaner look.

Hands and Feet

  • Well-manicured nails and toes contribute largely in stretching out to good grooming habits. Make time to clip and file your nails at home. Most saloons offer quick manicures that can relieve your hands of all its weariness.
  • Foot odour is a common problem among many men. Scrub your feet daily after removing your footwear for the day and dry them completely. You could also insert a pair of Odor-Eaters Insoles into your shoes that will absorb wetness and odour. Since men inevitably end up wearing shoes for most of the day, the feet becomes relatively softer and is sensitive to the hard scrubs of the saloon. Take care to talk to your beautician before he lays hands on your feet.

Shaving

  • Eliminate razor burns and nicks by keeping your razors sharp. This enables a closer shave and prevents skin damage. It is almost mandatory to use an aftershave. This has a cooling effect on the skin and helps prevent rash.
  • Don't forget to trim the edges of your sideburns so that they don't look uncared for.

Skin

  • The best way to prevent wrinkles and look younger is to protect your skin from sun damage by using a daily moisturiser with sunscreen.
  • Bleaching helps remove tan and gives a clearer texture to your skin.
  • Regular facials can activate the blood vessels and help prevent premature aging. It also relaxes the face muscles and tones up the skin.

General Tips

  • Iron your clothes. What you don't speak, your clothes will.
  • Wear light coloured, under-stated cottons in summer. Such clothes absorb less heat and largely prevent sweating.
  • Wear a deodorant.
  • Good oral hygiene means a confident smile and a confident person.

Budgets For Grooming

For many professionals, setting aside a monthly allowance for grooming is now part of the fixed expense. Says J Harikrishnan, a software professional at iGate Technologies, "Today's women prefer men who are not only well dressed but well groomed as well. To keep with the times, manicures have become a bare necessity."

A lot of youngsters who form the major percentage of the metro-sexual males are regulars to saloons. Phokela says, "They can be very fussy and choosy about the grooming that is to be done to them. Sometimes, it is easier to treat women than cajole the new age man."

Hair colouring is one segment that has gained much popularity. L'Oreal has a wide range of products for hair colouring of which there are a few that cater only to men. "Most men who come to us want to try out new hairstyles with a new hair colour. They are very adventurous and don't mind trying out everything that is available," says Sheela from the Gold Touch.

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