Men vs Women: The Ever-Challenging Contrast in Preferences
It is well known that men and women have different skin biology and skin care behaviors. In terms of biology, men’s skin tends to be thicker, oilier, and hairier than women’s skin. They also have a lower skin pH.5
Because of these differences, men likely have a desire to use stronger cleansing agents that end up being more disruptive to the skin barrier. In terms of behavior, generally men do not consider skin care a priority; they generally think about their skin when an issue arises. Additionally, most men do not moisturize their skin and therefore dryness is a foremost complaint. In addition to choosing stronger cleansers, men also tend to be over-aggressive during cleansing as they believe it is the physical cue that a product is working when they scrub. Cleanser selection is especially important in men’s care because of an aggressive cleansing habit and also because it may be the one and only step in a daily regimen to provide hydration benefits to the skin’s barrier.Additionally, consumer research has shown that men and women have different preferences in terms of aesthetics of body cleansing products. Women tend to look for opaque, creamy-looking products that produce a thick, creamy lather and leave skin feeling comfortable and moisturized. See Figure 1 where product’s lather characteristics are compared to overall liking performance in a home use test (HUT). This test was performed on 1200 women, ages 18-59, where each bodywash was used by 200 of the women. The products that offer more in terms of lather perform better than the other products during use.A male preference mapping study was done to further understand the US male body wash consumer. This was a home use test where 850 men, ages 16-65, tested 10 products at home in their shower. The analysis uncovered different segments of the male consumer. Figure 2 shows a simplified version of this map dividing the male preference and sensory space into two groups. The largest group, segment 1, are characterized by their desire for clean, quick rinsing, and no residue on skin. They also dislike thick, creamy lather. For this group of men, abundant, open lather and transparent appearance are a must. On the opposite side of the sensory map is segment 2, characterized by their preference for opaque, thick product with creamy lather, and their acceptance of residue on skin that imparts softness and smoothness to the skin post use.