Age of discontent – Grey hair tops men's appearance concerns

August 3, 2010

It’s supposed to be a mark of distinction, but going grey is now the top concern for British men, according to new research from Mintel – and 45 marks the age when panic really sets in.

Hair colour is the number one appearance concern for men today, with as many as one in two (51%) British men worrying about greying. Hair loss or thinning, is the second most common concern, worrying four in ten men (40%), while unwanted hair (in the nose and ears) at 38%, lies in third place. Finally, being overweight (37%) and having yellow teeth (30%) make up the fourth and fifth biggest concerns.

And although men are more accepting than women of their own appearance, research from Mintel has discovered that after the age of 45, men increasingly become less happy with the way they look. Indeed, more than a quarter (26%) of men aged 45-54 dislike four aspects of their appearance compared to an average of just over one in ten (13%) men overall.

As with all men, hair is the biggest concern for those aged over 45, with more than half of men (52%) aged 45-54 worrying about hair loss. Greying hair worries three quarters (75%) of men in this age group. However, fading or thinning hair isn’t their only concern. As many as half (50%) of this age group worry about unsightly nose or ear hair. Being overweight is a worry for more than half (51%) of men aged 45-54.

Vivienne Rudd, Head of Beauty Research at Mintel said:

” although grey hair is traditionally seen as a mark of distinction in men, the reality is many men are unhappy with their newfound gravitas. The physical changes associated with aging can act as a catalyst to mid-life crisis and our research has discovered that men become less content with their appearance after the age of 45. As the UK population ages, men will have to work into older age, bringing them into direct competition with younger colleagues. As a result, older people may feel the need to try to maintain appearance and therefore bring a future boost to the male grooming market. “

But today, despite the high level of concern many men display about their appearance, as many as three quarters (45%) of all men are unengaged with toiletries and this rises to over half (51%) of those aged between 45 and 54. Just over a third (36%) use as few personal care products as possible, while three in ten (31%) have little interest in beauty and personal care products.

“Men’s unhappiness with their appearance is not helped by their disbelief in the claims that grooming products make. Older men are significantly more likely than younger men to disregard a number of beauty and personal care products as being completely unnecessary and are also less content with the product results. And the cynicism of older men extends not only to the claims that beauty products make, but also to a reluctance to try beauty services. “Vivienne continues.

Meanwhile, although beauty is only skin deep, skin is a major cause for concern for men today. Some seven in ten men are worried about at least one aspect of their skin, just a third (33%) of men use face creams and lotions. The most common skincare concerns are spots, blemishes or pimples and dry skin, with more than three in ten (34%) men worrying about these.

Finally, Mintel’s research highlights that concern from male consumers over their appearance is not just focussed on reality. Indeed, some 5% of British men admit to suffering from Cellulite – with as many as one in ten (10%) men worrying about this – despite the fact that they do not actually suffer from it!

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