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What happened to the MARLBORO MAN? Grooming for guys is a huge industry but have we gone too far in changing their manly ways?

Do your man's clothes spill over on to your side of the wardrobe? Does your bathroom shelf heave beneath his moisturiser, eye gel and scrubs? And when you're going on a night out, do you find yourself waiting for him?

If so, you're not alone.

A report by marketing firm Mintel last year found that more than four in 10 men regularly use moisturiser.

Twenty-two per cent reported using cleanser, 16 per cent use face wipes and six per cent even use face masks.

The male skincare industry is said to be worth PS600million. There are handbags and leggings for men - manbags and Dmeggings.

It is a world away from the rugged image of the Marlboro man type. Now fellas can preen, wax, moisturise and pluck too.

But what do women make of it? Can a guy be a 'real man' and take care of his looks? Simone Wilson, 29, says, 'I like traditional manly men. Bruce Willis is my ideal cup of tea. Now men are fortune on beauty products and waxing and tans - even getting their eyebrows done.

'I'm all for equal rights and think men and women should be able to express themselves. But it just doesn't appeal to me if a man takes longer than a woman to get ready.' Single Simone goes for the type who would prefer a plain bar of soap in the mornings to a bag-full of beauty products. But she does have friends who date metrosexual men.

She says, 'They're all very nice blokes but they come across to me as effeminate.

'It's like a competition of who is the most groomed and they definitely argue over who takes the longest in the bathroom.

'The men also wear really unappealing taking ages in the bathroom and spending a clothes like skinny jeans. And don't get me started on meggings. I think it's gone too far.' Speaking for the fellas, Kenny Knight, 26, has been into grooming products since he was a teenager. He doesn't think taking care of your appearance makes you less of a man - the opposite, in fact. 'I used to nick my brother's grooming products when I was young,' he says.

'Then I had a friend who was very much into lotions and potions and showed me his routine. He always looked good so I thought I'd have a go.' Kenny, who works as a stunt performer and model, now has What happened to the a strict daily routine.

He says, 'I go to the gym, then have a shower or steam and use an exfoliating glove. I then use a cleanser and cooling mask from the freezer to reduce bags, then a caffeine based under-eye roll on, then finish with a face cream. The whole routine only takes about 20 minutes.

'My girlfriend still takes longer than me to get ready so she doesn't really know what I get up to.

'I just think it's important for men to make the best of ourselves. Why not?'

Another fan of male grooming products, Harry Ashby, 28, says, 'After a shower I moisturise with cocoa butter and Nivea face cream then use after shave. It costs me around PS10 to PS15 a month but it makes me feel good.'

Harry says most of his friends use moisturiser and it is becoming normal. But still has mates who just use deodorant.

'I think it's definitely a step forward if men want to take care of themselves,' he says. 'It used to be that 'real men' only used a bar of soap but that is definitely changing.'

The author of Equality for Men, Glen Poole, says, 'The commercialisation of masculinity is shifting. In the past men were targeted by advertisers simply for things like cars, beer and shaving products.

'Now advertisers see that men have insecurities and neuroses just like women. The upside of this is that it shows that men are more able to express and experience their masculinity in a more open way.

'The downside is that maybe commercial organisations are taking advantage of men's insecurities, just as they have done with women for years.' So is it a positive step that men feel they are worthy of grooming products or clothing that enhances their appearance?

We think so! Things can't stay the same forever and there's no reason why men shouldn't take pride in their appearance.

CAPTION(S):

Smooth... Harry ashby, left, and kenny knight moisturise

rugged... Marlboro advert

WORDS: Julie cook
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2014
Words:744
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