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STYLE

Now, Real Men Can Moisturize : Encouraged by Reassuringly Masculine Ads, Some Men Are Following Skin-Care Programs

February 08, 1991|KATHRYN BOLD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

His MensCare Products consist of a facial scrub, wash and toner ("an excellent way to stimulate the pores"), after-shave moisture gel, overnight moisturizer and shaving cream. They come in bold black- and white-striped packaging.

"Men are still wary. We have to be very careful how we present this product," he says. "There's no question this is for men. There's no reference to beauty or to women anywhere in our copy. And we advertise the product only through media for men."

Ads for MensCare have appeared in sports magazines like Runner's World and men's magazines. The company placed a full-page ad in the January issue of Esquire showing a man's face being showered with sprinklers and recently began airing commercials on ESPN, the all-sports network, that feature men walking through a carwash to illustrate the harshness of the soap-and-water routine.

Despite the growing acceptance of grooming products such as Clairol's new hair color for men, Grossman says some men are still closet users of skin-care products.

"They won't admit they're using Oil of Olay because the bottle's pink," he says. "But they're using it, trust me."

Some are even using the wrong products on their faces because they're so desperate for relief, he says. For example, they're putting hand lotion on their faces.

Grossman says this, too, shall pass.

"I remember the days when men wouldn't use hair dryers or cologne or hair conditioner," he says. "Now they're as accepted as anything."

Even as men's skin-care products become more accepted, questions remain as to whether all of these new products are necessary.

Dermatologist Richard Klimkowski of San Clemente says that products with sun screens are most beneficial to the skin.

"The biggest problem I have is getting men to use sunscreen. Many are reluctant to put any goop on their face," he says.

Without a sunscreen, many of the exotic creams and gels on the shelves will have "marginal, at best, results," he says. Such products have what he calls "a subjective benefit." If it feels good, and you think it's working, do it.

Some men, however, still regard the skin-care lines with some suspicion.

Antonio Cagnolo, owner of Antonello's restaurant in South Coast Plaza Village, still relies on soap and water as the cure-all for his complexion.

"I follow my grandmother's recipe," he says. "She used soap and water, and her skin was like silk until her last day." His grandmother lived till she was 101.

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