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Michèle Verschoore and her beauty bible for men

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Michèle Verschoore

Michèle Verschoore has written a practical guide to male beauty. Expect it to become the new bible for men looking to achieve beautiful, healthy skin and hair.

Enabling men to take charge of their bodies

“Men today are setting the bar higher in terms of how they look. Whatever their beauty ideal might be, they want to present themselves in a way that truly meets their expectations with respect to healthy skin and style. I wrote this book to address these expectations by looking at different skin issues. It takes the shape of a practical guide prefaced by a section on history, culture, science and technology”, says Dr Verschoore. Published by Odile Jacob, the book, which comes out on 20 January, is intended to equip men to better understand their skin and hair type. It also supplies the basic scientific information needed to choose the right beauty products and appropriate care strategies. “While women can easily find plenty of information in magazines and blogs to stay up to date on the latest developments in beauty and care, until recently men have had little exposure to the latest scientific advances behind men’s cosmetics or to advice on achieving healthy skin and hair.”

With this in mind, the book examines a complete spectrum of cosmetic concerns, from beard care to the right deodorant and face cream, from hair and scalp health to wrinkle prevention and what to do about dark circles under the eyes. In short, there is something for everyone. Backed by scientific evidence on consumer-observed effectiveness, Dr Verschoore’s publication draws on numerous exchanges with L’Oréal researchers and with fellow dermatologists and plastic surgeons, who are seeing a huge upsurge in male patients. The ‘practical guide’ section gives examples of the products that are available on the French market, following discussions with the teams that look after the group’s brands for men, including L’Oréal Men Expert, Mennen, Biotherm, Vichy and MagicShave. Information on other leading men’s products is also provided. Through her research and clinical experience, Dr Verschoore has worked with skin types from all over the world. She draws on her knowledge to talk about this diversity and to offer advice tailored to each and every man, no matter where he comes from or what his skin, beard or hair type might be. “I want my book to empower every man to take control of his beauty by informing him about the latest scientific and technological innovations.” A series of diagnostic questions is provided to guide readers, helping them to become experts in caring for themselves and looking after their beauty.

Male skin under the microscope: is a man just a woman like any other?

“No, men have their own specific skin physiology” continues Doctor Verschoore. Men’s skin is generally more sensitive, more vascularised, and darker than that of women. Although men’s skin is thicker, it is weakened by constant shaving. It also ages differently, taking on deeper wrinkles, because it is thicker, and displaying more pronounced pigmentation differences because men use less sun protection. There are solutions to these problems, with daily moisturisers, anti-wrinkle treatments and sun protection products recommended for every skin type. In hair, too, there are typically masculine traits, such as baldness starting at the temples or on top, whereas women’s hair loss tends to be spread over the whole scalp. Again, people can be steered to appropriate products and strategies. Educating consumers in this way can really pay off, especially from a preventive perspective. Until now, men’s beauty routines have tended to concentrate on hygiene, with a focus on deodorants, shampoos and shaving products. ”Taking the example of shaving, we have shown that proper beard preparation is vital: the hair must be thoroughly moisturised to reduce the stress caused by the razor and avoid burn.” Research is also developing original assessment techniques. Dr Verschoore cites a new tribo-acoustic method that can be used to select the best softeners in three-day beard gels. There are simple and effective solutions in other areas as well, such as preventing and dealing with razor burn or reducing wrinkles and facial marks. “Every stage of life brings the signs of aging, with hair loss beginning in the thirties, the first wrinkles appearing in the forties, followed by circles under the eyes and weight gain. For each stage, prevention and treatment solutions rely on correct use of cosmetics, which play a crucial role in taking on these issues.”

Dr Vershoore believes that growing awareness among men of the need to care for themselves is probably linked to rising life expectancy – men in France can expect to live to 78 – and to a desire to present a healthy, vigorous appearance to others. After being worshipped by the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, men’s bodies came to be less prized than a keen intellect in Western civilisations. In Asia, by contrast, men have always looked after their bodies and strived to show them at their best. Renewed attention to male beauty in the West is probably partly shaped by Asian influences, as Japanese and Korean men offer a formidable beauty model that has become universally accessible in a globalised world. “Men’s beauty has become a topic of worldwide interest in the 21st Century.”

L’Oréal’s cosmetic innovations for men

Backed by incredible support from its research centres around the world, L’Oréal is driving innovation by combining a deep understanding of consumers everywhere with the latest scientific advances. Building better knowledge of consumers, of their uses and expectations, while improving understanding of men’s skin and hair are key to this process. “By doing this, we can provide a meaningful response to men’s beauty concerns and win over even the real doubters.” This is how the world’s leading beauty company is developing men’s cosmetics today. Moisturising creams, anti-aging products and hair treatments are the three main concerns revealed by consumer research and represent the focus of the research teams. “Our R&D teams are also looking at lighter textures and formats, exploring see-through gels and liquid creams that vanish as soon as they are applied, which men prefer.”

“My goal in writing this book is to guide men towards cosmetic care and hygiene solutions that are right for them, while also providing information about the options offered by specialised practitioners, such as esthetic and surgical procedures, when more drastic solutions are needed. By spreading the word about the science involved, we can remove the barriers to the proper use of suitable cosmetic products and promote men’s well-being throughout their lives.”

Consumption | January 2016