Sunday, January 14, 2007

How To Get Your Boyfriend To Use Beauty Products

A few weeks into our relationship, I casually asked my boyfriend Andrew what products he used.

"What kind of products are you talking about?" Andrew replied.

"Beauty products... you know, like shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, face wash... that kind of thing."

"Face wash?"

Not the response I expected to hear.

"Umm.. the stuff you wash your face with?"

"Oh, I have a bar of soap I use for my face and body."

"And your hair?"

"I use shampoo, no conditioner though."

I tried to hide a look of shock and slight disdain, he did have a lot of other things going for him, and he is a guy, a straight guy at that... I decided that I had to cut him some slack. Like most women, I love a good project, and I was determined to take on his personal grooming as my latest undertaking. It was clear that this was going to be no easy task (the man didn't know what face wash or moisturizer was!) but I was up for the challenge.

I'm sure a lot of women are or have been in my position. It's not as if their boyfriends or husbands are unattractive or unclean, but they know how much a few good products could make him look, smell or feel about 50 times better.

Men are not all that different from women. They care about how they look and how others (especially women) perceive them. But most men are basically resigned to the fact that except for working out or buying new clothes, they can't change the way they look. They don't realize the potential power of a great shaving cream, moisturizer or conditioner, which is why god invented women.

Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to male grooming... many guys think it's feminine or "gay" to put a lot of effort into looking good, and are opposed to all but the most essential products (bar soap, shampoo, deodorant and shaving cream, usually). Fortunately, a lot more men are coming around to the idea that products can actually make them look and feel a lot better.

Before you begin your product makeover on your boyfriend, you should realistically consider just how far you should try to go. The key is to start small, with improved versions of the products he already uses, and then once he's impressed by how well those work, push him to try new things.

Guys can also be very sensitive about their looks, so you want to make sure he doesn't interpret you buying him face wash to mean that you think his acne is disgusting. Take a positive approach, reinforcing the fact that you find him really attractive, but that you think he'd really like using this product. Though they seem oblivious to most things, you'd be surprised how many guys are amazed at how soft and smooth their hair feels after something as basic as conditioner, and how loyal they can become to products after they see positive results. When I first had him try my La Roche Posay Spring Water (a toner for sensitive skin that sprays out of an aerosol can) Andrew said he "felt really pampered, like he was at a spa." For someone who's never been to a spa, I thought this was quite the compliment

You probably can't expect your boyfriend to go out on his own and buy whatever you recommended, so it's usually best to start off by buying him a few products, especially if he's running low on whatever he currently has. Make sure to start off with products that are gender neutral or intended for guys. You can find a lot of great stuff in drugstores, as well as more upscale stores like Sephora, and Kiehl's. And obviously, you want to avoid anything with a girly packaging or scent.

Make sure to do your research before you buy, choosing products that would work well with his skin and hair type. As always, MakeupAlley is great for this.

It's likely that what you've given your boyfriend will be a lot better than the stuff he's currently using, and as long as the product isn't too feminine or difficult to use, he's going to start enjoying it. At this stage, it's really important to reinforce how well the product is working. Frequently complimenting him on how good his hair looks, how soft his skin feels, or how nice he smells after a shower is an extremely effective method for preventing product relapse. If you really want to go far, have some of his or your female friends compliment him.

I'm very proud to report that almost 2 years later, I have Andrew using everything from toners to lip balm to fancy shaving creams, to his delight and mine. Once he realized how much better his skin and hair looked after taking my suggestions, he was even happy to try whichever new product I'd fallen in love with that week.


Allison said...

I have a sinful amount of product in my shower (don't we all?) and my boyfriend inquired about all the bottles and containers the other day. I encouraged him to use the microdermabrasion on his nose (he has a touch of rosacea) and the St. Ive's Apricot scrub on the rest of his face (mixed with a bit of Cetaphil so as not to freak him out). After a half dozen applications he mentioned tonight that his rosecea has cleared up significantly and that he's not gotten razor burn since he started exfoliating.

I swelled with pride and have already started plotting where we'll go next on his path to beautifucation :) Glad I'm not the only gal that does this!

Meg said...

Hey Allison! I love your story... it's impressive that you've already gotten him using microdermabrasion (I just started on face masks, boy, was that fun). Your boyfriend sounds like a good sport about the whole thing.

It's funny how guys will go months or even years without noticing anything about your beauty routine or products and then all of a sudden their curiosity is piqued (a perfect time to push them into trying something).

I sometimes feel a little guilty that I'm treating my boyfriend like the Barbie dolls I used to give makeovers to, but there is something fun about getting a guy to try beauty products that he was previously unaware existed. It's also really cool to see someone be amazed that a simple product can change their skin or hair, when they previously believed that they couldn't change anything. I think my boyfriend could probably divide his life into BC and AC (before and after Cetaphil).

Thanks for the comment!