The 21st Century British Asian Man

From ‘Man Bags’ to manicure sets, body scrubs to body sprays, products and accessories are a huge trend for today’s male population. DESIblitz explores some of the plethora of items available and at the disposal to the 21st Century British Asian Man.

21st century grooming for men is different

The days of men from the South Asian diaspora not grooming and looking after themselves are numbered. The 21st Century British Asian man is very much bothered about how he looks, smells and dresses.

The notion of men not moisturising because it’s not seen as a masculine thing to do is now becoming history, as the new generation of British Asians harness the products and services in the grooming market targeted at men specifically.

With an extensive range aimed at every possible detail, it is understandable to be confused as to what is, well what. We attempts to shed some light on the overwhelming type of products available.

Male products have actually been around since early B.C. Scented oils were used as a popular method for cleaning/softening the skin and masking body odour. In ancient Egypt and other Eastern countries Kohl was used prominently by men, in their eyes not as make-up specifically, but to clean the eyes. To date, tribes around the world use make-up in the form of dyes and paints for medicinal and cosmetic purposes as well as psychologically to prepare for battle.

21st century grooming for men is different.

A recent trend for men to look well groomed and presentable includes the implementation of morning and evening ‘cleansing routines’ originally practised by women and now very popular with the young trendy men of today.

Face Products
Cleansing – This is usually a face wash used to remove the build up of daily grime or a cream which is applied and removed with cotton wool. There are many products available for this with some even aimed at combating T-zones (the oily area on the face shaped like a ‘t’)/open pores and dull skin. Face masks can be applied for a more intense treatment to skin, and they come in different forms for different skin types.

Moisturising– These are available for all different skin types, from sensitive, dry, oily, combination to aging skin and specifically branded for men.

Exfoliating – This is usually done after cleansing and uses fine grain molecules so as not to be so abrasive to delicate facial skin. The process involves removal of dead skin cells of the upper most surface to reveal the healthy glowing skin. This is important for men as it exposes hair follicles, allowing a better shave.

Shaving – Includes a ‘pre’ ‘during’ and ‘after’ regime. To soften skin prior to shaving a warm wet towel is used to soften the skin. Wet shaving uses the action of moving a shaving brush vigorously across the face prior to actual use of a ‘straight razor’ or ‘safety (double edge) razor’ resulting in exfoliating skin effectively.

Dry shaving includes the use of electric razors. Aftershave is hugely popular, not because it contains antiseptic, but more so for the latest in luring smells as well as the many fragrances available today.

Make-up – Products such as ‘Guy-liner’ and ‘Manscara’ are being launched to accentuate features on the general man. It is not clear whether they have been successful yet.

Hair Care
With the ever changing trends in hairstyles, products are demanded to maintain these looks. And it’s not just hairstyles that change – facial hair including eyebrows are being treated by men to get the look they want.

Beards and Moustaches
From goatees to full on beards, men have many styles that they wear on their faces. Neat and tidy facial hair always makes a good impression whilst at the same time that stubble or full beards appeals to others.

Many self-care electrical products are now available to trim and shape beards at home, as well as going to Asian salons who provide services such as threading facial hair too.

Eyebrow Treatments
Many men’s salons are now offering threading and eyebrow trimming treatments for men to shape their eyebrows. Including trimming and creating patterns in them too. A trendy look that has emerged over the years.

Mousse – On wet hair, it gives a sleek, wet look, with shine. On dry hair it helps shape, mould and hold hair for a natural look. Mousse is also great to provide volume for men who have hair that is thinning or fine.

Gel – This product is very efficient to hold hair steady. It is great to freeze, sculpt and scrunch hair, although care should be taken when purchasing gel, as those which contain alcohol have a damaging/drying effect on hair, causing flaking.

There are different gels available which give a wet look or mould the hair very strongly into shape.

Great for texture enhancement e.g. ‘messy’ look. They work best for short to medium length hair. Only a small amount is needed for great texture but if too much is applied hair can look greasy. The various names this is marketed under include ‘Putty’, ‘Paste’, ‘Brylcreem’ and ‘glue’.

Hair Spray – Used as a styling or finishing product to make hair look thicker and add shine. Quality hairsprays include UV sunscreen protection/conditioners so great for men who spend a lot of time outdoors. Sprayed on wet hair it provides malleability to mould hair, on dry, great hold for a finishing effect.

Body Care
The male species has sat up and taken notice of requirements to keep their bodies more appealing to the opposite sex.

Body Cleansers/Scrubs – Here the same result is achieved as with facial exfoliation however the grain is usually coarser. They are available in many brands/scents and concoctions.

Moisturising – Used all over the body to maintain soft, supple skin. This can be used in the form of cream/oil or emollient (body butters) for extra dry skin.

Bath Soaks/Shower Gels – These are available in many luxurious fragrances and can include grains for a vigorous wake-up for the skin or smoothing ingredients for a long soak.

Body Sprays – Available in many aromas and being heavily branded to show sex appeal, body sprays are the staple product for many men who do not necessarily use fragrance/after shave as deodorants are strong smelling.

Another item aimed at men only and for personal hygiene are the ‘Fella Wipes’ which cleanse/freshen the male intimate area.

Hands and Feet – Once neglected but now noticeably taken care of are the hands and feet. The working man especially, takes care of his hands and feet with an array of products to moisturise hands, clear cuticles, neaten mails and remove any unsightly verrucas/warts. Kits are available and most salons offer services to both men/women.

Body Hair – As it is in fashion for men to be seen as having a smooth chest etc hair removal is used. Waxing, hair removal cream, shaving, threading are some products/methods administered and salons are open to both sexes aiding in the removal of this.

Accessories and Fashion
Men of today are into their clothing/accessories as much as the women, sporting items such as scarves/snoods (tubular neck scarf), in the name of fashion. Belts have gone from items which hold trousers up into those accentuating them, and in various colours and thicknesses.

‘Man bags’ are a craze, where it is deemed as cool for men to be seen wearing a bag that is not a briefcase. Other fashion accessories include caps/hats worn daily and even to bars/clubs for individuality and pocket squares, placed in stylish blazers for a swanky look.

Jeans have taken on a new form too for men. Skinny Jeans, which were once considered feminine are now worn by the young ‘metro sexual’ guys of today. Footballers began the craze of wearing headbands, originally to keep their hair out of their faces whilst playing, but this was later adopted by the general public as a fad, and continues to be popular.

Men in the 21st century use items of jewellery as fashion accessories more than just the traditional wedding ring/watch. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings and cuff links are some of the items used to style their clothing.

With a huge overwhelming amount of products available it is easy to see the confusion of what to choose and what not. Many UK high street retailers such as ‘Topman’ and ‘River Island,’ brands such as ‘Nivea,’ ‘L’Oreal’ and ‘Lynx,’ and many men focused websites, are aiming to specifically promote awareness of male grooming and accessorising in recent times.

So, for those men looking at enhancing or completely changing their look, don’t be hesitant to try new products launched specifically for men because they can give you a feeling of confidence you perhaps never had or give you a special way impress that special person in your life with a new metro you!

Sasha is a fashion graduate/model with a passion for reading, writing, arts, culture, theatre and philanthropy work. She is inspired by ‘BE the change you want to see’ and firmly believes that ‘Education is knowledge and knowledge is power’.

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