Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Product stealing


My girlfriend always has a go at me for pinching her stuff from the bathroom. Is there any real difference between men’s products and women’s products?

Rick, Norfolk

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

I understand. You’ve (un?)intentionally slept over and only have a matter of minutes to spruce yourself up before you’re due at that morning conference. One quick glance at her overstocked bathroom shelf and– if you overlook the mountain of half-used makeup and bizarre ‘feminine hygiene’ stuff – there are a couple of things that should (in theory) work on your rugged, manly mug. And if you have no intention of ever calling her again, you probably even pinched them too.

Astute and savvy consumer that you are, you don’t imagine there’s a world of difference between men’s and women’s products other than the packaging, fragrance and a bit of fancy wording on the bottle. And you’d be right. Sort of.

Women’s products will work on a man’s skin (I’m partial to a bit of Clarin’s Beauty Flash Balm or Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair when I’m feeling secure about my masculinity) but the real question is whether they will be more (or just as) effective as a specialist ‘men only’ product.

Given that men’s skin is considerably denser and oilier than women’s – and is exposed to a razor on a daily basis – guy-focused formulas will usually differ in objective, consistency and technology (as well as fragrance, packaging and all the other peripheral stuff). Skin is skin, irrespective of gender, but there are specific concerns that are unique to men, that don’t trouble women - and vice versa.

And that’s where targeted men’s products have their place in the world: you’re not really going to find a decent ingrown hair formula, aftershave balm or back treatment marketed towards women. Feel free to gender-hop when it comes to things like a face wash (cleanser) or sunblock but if you’re in the business of solving serious issues (ageing, chronic oiliness, shaving rash), then you’ll need a targeted men’s formula.

More importantly, if investing in your own toiletries will save you a hissy fit, it’s probably worth the time and money.

Find Ahmed at theexfoliator.com

(Image: Rex)



How to grow a beard


Oil Control


Problem-solve profuse perspiration


The winners of the ShortList Grooming Awards with House of Fraser

And the winners are...

31 May 2017

The 11 best moisturisers for men

Because your face deserves better

by Sam Diss
30 May 2017

A guy’s guide to skincare - by a girl who just really wants to help

Just a girl, standing in front of a bunch of guys, trying to make them moisturise twice a day

by Lauren O'Neill
15 May 2017

Supermodel Paul Sculfor tells us how to be the perfect catch

Tips from a man who knows better than anyone

20 Mar 2017

Meet the judges for the 2017 ShortList Grooming Awards

We're back with the best new products for 2017

17 Mar 2017

5 of the biggest men's hair trends for 2017

You're not actually going to get a six-pack, so settle for a slick new haircut instead

by Jamie Carson
03 Jan 2017

8 express grooming treatments for the discerning yet curious man

When you want to look good but just don't have the time

by Jamie Carson
13 Dec 2016

Manscaping; what is it, how to do it and how short is TOO short

After a lifetime of assuming that all guys went au naturale, Josh Burt realised that everything he knew was wrong

by Josh Burt
13 Dec 2016

Trim your pubic hair? Science claims you’ve probably got an STD

You're 80% more likely to have a sexually transmitted disease, new research suggests

by Jamie Carson
06 Dec 2016

What to do when you’re going bald

We round up the best ways to deal with hair loss

by Jamie Carson
17 Oct 2016