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Adefolake Adekola: Should Women Use Men’s Cosmetic Products?



As a newlywed, it is only natural that you and your spouse share shower gel, toothpaste and some cosmetic products, except in situations when there are specific reasons not to. That was the case for me until I realised I used a men’s shower gel that doubled as a shampoo for two days. That spooked me a bit, to be honest, especially when I started thinking of the sensitive parts of my body and the possible effects of using men’s products.

The vast majority of cosmetic products are unisex and can be used by both genders without causing any damages to skin or the body. Using blue for men and pink for women is just a trend that has been in existence for centuries and it is difficult to say the exact reason but this has led to women avoiding products that are blue in colour. Hardly will you see a man going for a shower gel that is pink in colour because it is assumed it is for the female.

In some cases, it is best everyone sticks to their gender-specific products. In fact, some dermatologists will advise women not to use their partner’s cosmetic products for a couple of reasons.

Difference in body

The first thing to highlight is that the male body differs from the female body in so many different ways. When it comes to our skin, the pH level, hair growth, sweat and oil production rate are different. Dermatologists say that women have a higher pH level than men, which causes an increase in dryness of women’s skin.


When we shine the spotlight on the subject of hormones, it is a whole different subject, the reason most dermatologists will advise each gender to use products more sensitive to their needs. Testosterone hormone in men causes an increase in oil production, while oestrogen found in women suppresses oil production, which is the reason why most moisturizers for both genders differ.

Gender specific needs

When it is that time of the month, women are prone to acne and so many other changes, the same way men experience inflammation and ingrown hair after shaving. Dr Ellen Marmur, a dermatologist believes the use of specific cosmetic products by respective genders can accurately address such uniqueness.

On the contrary, other dermatologists are of the opinion that the whole idea of men and women not using the same cosmetic products is a marketing stunt to ensure customers get more products and increase sales. The main alteration is believed to be scent and colour – the more subtle scents and flattering colours for women and the stronger scents and dull colours for men.

Some cosmetic experts also believe that it should be dependent on various skin types and needs. People’s beliefs also play a role in what products they will use. For example, some men are prone to cracked lips but would never want to be caught buying a lip balm that is pink in colour, even though it meets their needs. Some women also prefer masculine products because they believe it lasts longer. I sometimes prefer masculine perfumes, a habit I picked up staying with my elder brother who had varieties of designer perfumes.

For me, writing this piece has unearthed a few things that we, as a society, have kept buried for so long, things we don’t really talk about – like the stigma of men using cosmetic products. This is 2021 and we need to talk about these things. Men can use skincare products beyond soaps and shampoos, go to the spa and have skin care routines, and they should be able to do all these things without being booed or made fun of. 

Anyway, over to you, women, do you use your partner’s cosmetic products?



Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Adefolake Ayotunde-Salami is a Social Safeguard Consultant on World Bank Assisted Projects. She has a B.Sc, M.Sc and hold numerous certifications. She is also an Independent Consultant for top companies in Nigeria and has work experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the author of a book on Amazon and Smashwords titled “Functioning In The Knowledge Of Who You Are” and a website ( where she writes articles based on extensive research. She is a Columnist for Bellanaija, Nigeria's biggest blog.  

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