The future of beauty products is gender-neutral

·4-min read
Increasingly, the beauty industry is marketing items on the basis of the concerns a product addresses, regardless of gender - Getty
Increasingly, the beauty industry is marketing items on the basis of the concerns a product addresses, regardless of gender - Getty

I once dated a handsome Frenchman who, when he first stayed at mine, stood in my bathroom, put his hand to his forehead and asked for some ‘airspris’. I duly brought him two aspirins and a glass of water, which confused him greatly. Turns out he wanted hairspray and appeared aghast at my sorry lack of hairstyling offerings.

At the other end of the spectrum, another bloke I went out with kept only one thing at the bottom of his football holdall: mud.

But if there’s ever a time for a cabinet reshuffle – the one in which you and your partner can share more beauty and grooming products – it’s now.

Increasingly, the beauty industry is marketing items on the basis of the concerns a product addresses, regardless of gender. And to be honest, it’s been moving in that direction for ages. CK One, you might remember, did a rather good job of it back in 1994.

Sure, not every beauty buy will have universal appeal or application. There are differences in the structure of men’s and women’s skin (for starters, men’s is thicker). And we have different needs at various times in our lives too, which is why my husband isn’t going to reach for my new Clarins Super Restorative Night Cream (£81, boots.com) formulated to support menopausal skin. But there are many double-ups we’re happily dipping into, and it starts with shampoo.

Shampoo is a good place to start sharing products - Getty
Shampoo is a good place to start sharing products - Getty

My husband’s always gone for the cheap and cheerful and I’ve never stayed loyal, so for years, we’ve had a bunch of bottles clogging up the wire basket in the bathroom. But as we both had very lush hair in our youth and now admit it’s thinner, we’re currently sampling a new formulation in unison – Philip Kingsley Density Thickening Shampoo (£25.50, philipkingsley.co.uk). It contains pea peptides to volumise and BHAs (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) to exfoliate the scalp.

OK, it’s not cheap but given you don’t need to use much thanks to its quality, and we’re splitting it between two, the payoff has been that both of us has found that our hair feels stronger.

As for the shower, I’m a soap person, he’s a gel guy. But his indulgence – Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerlily Bath & Shower Gel (£25, moltonbrown.co.uk) – has now become mine. With cardamom, tuberose, lily and sandalwood, it not only leaves skin soft and refreshed but smells divinely special and sets a nice base tone that doesn’t fight with the fragrances we wear.

When it comes to shaving, I’ve never been one for the pink, girly-girly gizmos, usually buying a man’s razor that has more heft. Turns out Kiehl’s Close-Shavers Squadron White Eagle Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream, (£17, johnlewis.com) with its menthol and camphor, does as cooling and calming a job on my legs as it does on my husband’s face. Except he’s wearing a beard more now, so it’s nearly mine, all mine.

When the weather calls for a really high SPF facial sunscreen, my other half hates anything that looks too shiny or leaves a white residue. The one that fits the bill for both of us is Vichy Capital Idéal Soleil Velvety Cream SPF50 (£16.50, lookfantastic.com). It not only protects well but doesn’t cause me to break out, so I’m never afraid to use plenty.

The tube is also just the right size for slipping in my bag too. Or his, come to that. Fair’s fair.

This week I am mostly...

  • Eschewing disorganisation and laziness when it comes to booking beauty appointments. I always end up scrambling to find a last-minute pedicure before a trip. Note to self: get diary savvy.

  • Envying the blogger and influencer Tennille Murphy’s amazing halo of grey curls. How cool do they look? (See Instagram @thetennillelife_)

  • Enjoying Chantecaille Le Stylo Ultra Slim (£31, spacenk.com). It’s not new, but why change what works? It’s one of the only pen eyeliners that I find ultra-controllable and produces a thin enough line that works on older eyes and doesn’t give you that desperate ‘I’m with the band’ look

Read last week's column: How to wear bright lipstick at any age

Do you share any beauty products with your other half? Tell us in the comments section below