Is There a Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Hair?
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When you go to the store, you’ll find that there are different sections for women's and men's hair care products.
If you’ve ever been tempted to use shampoos and conditioners that are targeted towards the opposite sex, you might have wondered if there are significant differences between these products. Aside from the scents, could they be the same? More importantly, are they safe to use?
In this article, we explore the distinctions between men's and women's hair care products and if you can use products that are designed for the opposite sex.
Is There a Difference Between Men’s and Women's Hair?
In physiological terms, men's and women's hair are exactly the same. Since these genes are found on ordinary chromosomes, they aren't influenced by gender.
Of course, when you pay attention to the cut and style, each gender generally follows cultural norms that create distinctions in how their hair looks.
Men usually keep their hair short. Because of this, it’s difficult to determine what kind of sheen or texture they have. If men wore their hair long like women, it would be easier to notice variations in texture, luster, curls, and waves.
While men and women consider their hair to be valuable assets, women are often more conscious about their hair and its maintenance. They usually have longer strands with varying textures, styles, and cuts. Women are also more prone than men to experimenting with different hair colors and treatments to enhance their appearance.
If you look at men’s hair, you’ll notice that their hair doesn’t have much luster. This is because men generally opt for styling products with a matte or dull polish. Even men with longer hairstyles tend to reach for products that will make their hair appear more “masculine.”
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to use softening products that make their hair look shinier.
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Do Hair Products Really Differ for Men and Women?
If everyone’s hair is basically the same, why do we have different sections for men's and women’s hair care products? Even their advertisements have gender-specific qualities and copy like “made for men only.” Such collaterals dictate that they should be exclusively used by a certain gender.
Does this mean that men's and women's hair care products are formulated differently?
The answer is no.
A product specifically formulated for men doesn’t necessarily mean that it should only be used on hair that grew from a man’s scalp. Aside from minor tweaks in the fragrance, the formula is essentially the same. Women can use it as well as long as they’re not bothered by the more “manly scent.”
Why are they marketed differently?
It appears that psychology and preferences play a role. Let’s take a closer look in the following section.
Marketing: Hair Care Products for Men vs Women
Men and women respond to different ads. The advertising industry understands this well which is why you’ll notice that hair care products designed for women are packaged and marketed differently than those created for men.
Here are a few common characteristics when marketing to men and women:
Women are drawn to holistic, natural, and organic ingredients like berry complexes and flower extracts among other things. Product packaging often reflects these tendencies.
Pick a product from the supermarket shelf and you’ll notice that it either has a flowery design, a sweet, flowery smell, or it mentions botanical ingredients on the packaging.
Often, these same ingredients can be found in men’s products as well. However, because women actively seek these ingredients and designs, manufacturers tailor their marketing to appeal to women’s needs to to generate more sales.
Men prefer “manly” products. These products usually come in black or gray “masculine packaging.” This marketing tactic is clearly intended to draw men to the products by offering a non-girly, more solid, and stronger-looking variant.
Men’s products are generally more utilitarian too. Any product that helps them achieve the style they desire — and does so quickly — is usually a huge hit.
After comparing these two sets of products, it’s worth mentioning that women’s hair care products provide more protection in terms of frizz control, color care, and so on.
However, when it comes right down to it, a styling product is a styling product. It will serve the same function for men's and women’s hair. If you’re in doubt, we assure you that it’s safe to clean your hair with your wife’s shampoo and conditioner and vice-versa.
As Quora user Christopher Pow once put it:
Might be the sight that gives you away. Extra body, extra moisturizing, extra lift, extra bounce, extra revitalizing makes even the saddest mop noticeable. Nobody can hide a hair party!
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Rinse and Repeat
Hair is hair whether it's on the head of a woman or a man. Apart from preferences in hairstyle and hair cut, the only distinction between hair care products is the marketing technique that makes them more appealing to a certain gender.