Skincare is more than just face masks and serums, but it is a time to be with yourself and focusing on your personal health. Just like you exercise to take care of your body, you practice skincare to take care of your face. Although this may seem obvious, health does not only apply to one specific gender. We as humans are all the same in that we must follow different methods to prioritize our overall health and well being.
Unfortunately, this concept faces a lot of stereotypes in the beauty industry. Skincare and beauty have developed a feminine stigma that has alienated both men and non-binary people from finding confidence in basic beauty practices. Finally, people are starting to acknowledge and work on this long-standing issue to make the future of beauty a safer and more inclusive environment.
What Does It Mean to be Gender Neutral?
Gender neutrality goes much further beyond male inclusivity in a female-dominated industry. It is about using your preferred gender as a means of self expression and self identity. Taking into consideration the different identities of transgender and non-binary people in the presence of beauty products will help to create a safe space for brands, ambassadors, and consumers to all create inclusively.
Acknowledging and practicing pronoun use is a great way to promote gender neutrality in the beauty community. Pronoun identification has become a much more widely accepted concept in recent years and it has evolved as a way for not only non-binary people to express their identity, but people of all genders. Generalizing products with a “they” pronoun can strip away the pressure to fit a certain mold and focus on the product itself and how it is usable for anyone, despite preconceived social restraints.
Gender neutral skincare is, at large, about tearing away the stereotype that skincare is only applicable to females while creating a safe space for all genders to thrive. When breaking it down, skincare is simply a tool meant to take care of your skin. It is no different than brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Taking care of yourself and tending to your skin’s specific needs sees no gender.
De-Gender or All-Gender?
Establishing gender neutrality in the beauty industry is definitely balancing a fine line between elimination and addition. De-gendering skincare and beauty can help separate products form gender associations. Creating products that cater to people no matter their gender creates a wave of inclusivity for all consumers.
On the other hand, all-gender beauty is a way to reflect different consumer identities. Showcasing members of all gender identities (she, he, they) can promote representation and acknowledgement of different genders. By de-gendering products, the risk might be run of ignoring the main issue at hand. Promoting all-gender skincare and beauty faces the reality of previous neglection head-on and works to take a stand on this issue for the future.
Who to Look At?
Working to make the beauty industry a gender neutral space requires industry leaders to step up and set an example for their followers. From influencers to brands, here are the top industry leaders to look at for gender neutral beauty.
James Charles is one of the key people who have reinvented the beauty industry into what it is today. Charles really began breaking down gender barriers back in 2016, when he was named the first-ever male ambassador or “Cover Boy” for CoverGirl Cosmetics. His brand on YouTube (and all platforms) is focused on inclusivity and self expression in the industry and has provided a community for his fans to build their own confidence through beauty practices.
Pharrell Williams is probably one of the most mainstream and widely successful celebrities to break into the gender neutral skincare business. Williams just recently launched his own skincare line, Humanrace, which is filled with all-gender products meant to promote unified health and wellbeing (1). Humanrace works to not only promote neutrality in gender but also in race, in the context of skincare. The brand was created for humans to celebrate being born in the same skin and they have only just begun.
Rihanna is just one of those people who can seemingly do it all. Aside from her chart-topping music career, she is also the founder of Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty Lingerie. BLANK. In a recent GQ interview with A$AP Rocky, her and Rocky break down gender stereotypes in skincare and contribute to a much needed industry conversation.
Gucci is one of the pioneers in advocating for gender neutral spaces in fashion/ beauty and have led to many conversations within the industry. Gucci was the first fashion house to do a gender neutral fashion show back in 2016 and since then has made many steps in creating a fluid environment for shoppers. Gucci currently has a genderless shopping section called “MX” on their website that caters to celebrating self-expression in the name of all gender equality (2). They also have a full-bodied beauty line that is targeted for all genders.
Shiseido, a popular beauty brand, has recently taken on transgender model and actress, Hunter Schafer, as their global makeup ambassador. Shiseido showcases their gender neutral products by not only having a transgender represent the brand, but they also use promotional images to focus on all genders and they have a section of there website dedicated to men-specific products.
Looking to the Future
Similarly to many fields, the conversation about gender neutrality in skincare is just getting started. As more brands and industry leaders take a hold of their voice on gender neutrality, the closer we can get to an inclusive beauty community for the future. Skincare (and all beauty for that matter) is an avenue for all people to relax and refresh themselves to lead with confidence, which should be something everyone should experience despite your gender identity.