Earlier this November, leading men’s skincare brand Lab Series held a “Lab Series Grooming Essentials Event” at the Robinson’s Raffles City Atrium inviting participants to enjoy a series of talks, workshops and grooming sessions by Lab Series experts, in addition to receiving a skin analysis to determine which Lab Series product is most suitable. The brand also launched the new BB Tinted Moisturiser SPF35+++ and Root Power Restorative range, adding to their stable of men’s skincare and grooming products. (WIN a Lab Series Hamper worth S$199, see details at the end of this post.)
I was privileged to get an exclusive 1-to-1 interview with Richard Sawyer, International Education Director and Men’s Grooming Expert for Lab Series Skincare for Men, as he was in town for the event and the new products launch. Given such a great opportunity, I was eager to tap into Richard’s expertise and extensive knowledge of men’s skin and haircare, and have him share some tips for the modern men.
I met Richard over lunch ,somewhere near the event venue, and managed to squeeze in all the questions below. Richard, like the expert that he is, went on effortlessly to provide me all the answers I needed for this feature.
HSD: Based on your extensive work with men’s grooming products and your work with Ask Richard on the Lab Series Insider website, what are the top skincare trend and concerns that men face today?
Richard: The biggest growing concern of skincare in the world, both men and women, is anti-aging and the biggest area of growth is in men’s skincare. Men are starting to realise that it is ok to use skincare products, and more so in Asian than the Western counterparts. Asian is in fact leading the world in the men’s skincare ahead of the European and American markets.
Lightning and sunscreen products do very well in Asian, as well as hair care products. Shaving products are big in Europe, and in Latin America the body products do very well because they are very body conscious. So there are differences in the type of products that are in demand in different countries. Countries that are growing older with more people above 40 will see a higher demand for anti-aging products. Similarly if there are more people under 25, there will be more demand for oily skin treatment products.
HSD: Can you comment on the a Caucasian and the Asian men’s skin? Are there any significant differences that calls for difference grooming treatments?
Richard: Generally, Caucasian and Asian men’s skin react differently to sunlight and they also age differently. Asian skin tend to age slower and gets spots and loose firmness before seeing lines and wrinkles, whereas the Caucasian skin ages much faster and get age spots, lines and wrinkle earlier than the Asian. That said, however it is important to note that the climate plays a very important influence on the skin regardless of a person’s ethnicity. If one moves from warm tropical climate to a temperate region, his skin will gradually become dryer, dehydrated and will require more moisturizing products that protects you from the harsh cold weather.
HSD: Are there differences in the skincare products developed for men and women?
Richard: Yes, men’s skin are thicker and oilier than women’s and men do not wear make up. Women’s products are created to allow make up to be applied onto it whereas for products for men does not need that property. Men’s product are more treatment products and it takes into the requirement of their thicker and oilier skin.
HSD: With over 23 years of experience under your belt, what’s your viewpoint of the change in attitude of men towards grooming and skincare over say, the last 20 years?
Richard: 20 years ago, magazines like GQ and Men’s Health are not widely available and it was slow to start. As glossy magazines for men became common and fashionable, it helped to educate men that is ok to take care of their skin and their looks, to go to the gym etc… The magazine and media played an important role in this change,and now we also have social media which gives them greater access to information before they walked into the retail environment. 15 years ago , very few retail environments were men-friendly. Men wouldn’t walk into a perfumery and they were very uncomfortable buying moisturiser, but now retailers are slowly starting to create an environment that is slightly more male friendly. We are not there yet, there is no one retailer that has done this perfectly and their is a long way to go.
HSD: I know that Lab Series has also gone into the online space to allow men to buy the products online, would this be the answer for reaching out to the men?
Richard: If a brand is trusted and has a following then moving online would be a logical move. With Lab Series, what we have found is that whenever we open an online store, it always become the #1 store in that market. We find that men might first buy the product from the store but when he gets familiar with it , he would go online and buy it from there. They feel very comfortable in the online environment.
HSD: Given the growing acceptance of men taking an interest in personal grooming, do you think there will ever come a day when products such as men’s eyebrow pencils, bronzer powder…etc. will gain mainstream usage?
Richard: I think they will become a niche product in the men’s grooming world. It will probably never become mainstream but interesting, in history, men wore make-up at around the same time as women. The Roman, the Eyptians and Brits did it, and in the 17th Century, men wore wigs and powdered make-up but somehow it became unfashionable for men to wear makeup, up till today. So make-up for men has its roots back in our history. In recent times, make-up like bronzing powder and tinted moisturizers have become popular , but they will never be big. This will remain a niche product but it will allow some men to use this products and feel comfortable using it.
HSD: What would you say is the trend in the men’s grooming product industry over the next 5 years?
Richard: More products which offers instant results, lifestyle needs, anti-aging.
HSD: With the surge in interest in BB cream over the last few years, how do you feel men will take to using the Lab Series BB Tinted Moisturizer? Do you think there will be resistance as some may think it’s bordering on what’s considered traditional women’s product territory?
Richard: Well, there will always be a group of more traditional men who are just opposed to the idea of grooming. We can only show them and we cannot dictate anybody here. With the BB cream, it will be product for someone who is open to new ideas or someone who has a particular problem, like they want their skin to look clear and bright, but not wear make-up. So our BB cream works because it is not a make-up and does not cover your skin, it works into your own skin tone and gives it a bright clear complexion.
HSD: Given that men tend to perspire more, and the weather here, is there a chance that the tinted moisturiser might run with sweat, or clog the pore?
Richard: Well, the BB Cream (aka Blemish Blam) has become a generic category of skincare product that provides skin soothing benefits, cover, color, protection in an all-in-one package. Different companies have a different formula and offer different benefits in their BB cream, some offering more cover benefits , while others more on protection properties. As a result, they have different reactions on the skin and pores. With our Lab Series BB Cream for Men, it is oil free and not a make-up base therefore it does not clog up the skin.
HSD: What do you feel is the most important thing to note when it comes to haircare for men?
Richard: Our research have shown that hair ages much like the skin as we age. When that happens, our hair can become grey, thinner or becomes less manageable, and our hair and scalp dries out as well. What we try to do is to create a system of hair products that can help to give the hair more energy, more vitality and volume much like it was when it was younger. It is important also to look out for sulphate-free shampoo as sulphate in shampoo can strip the hair of its natural oil and it can irritate the scalp for some people.
HSD: Many men get their shampooing done in a matter of seconds. What is the recommended time that a guy should spend shampooing his hair before rinsing? This has to take into consideration that men generally use a lot more hair styling products nowadays.
Richard: There is no hard and fast rule to that really as it also depend on the shampoo used as well as some shampoo might take longer to wash off. Generally for me, if I have a lot of product on my hair, I might wash another round just to make sure the product is completely washed off.
HSD: There’s a common myth that shampooing too often causes hair loss. True or false?
Richard: False, it wouldn’t cause hair loss as hair loss is very much a genetic condition, but it can dry up the hair if the ingredients are too aggressive, causing very fine thin hair and we do not want that.
HSD:Finish this sentence, “Always invest in a good ____________.”
Richard: Moisturizer, of course.
HSD:If you could only live on three grooming products for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Richard: A good face wash, a good eye cream and moisturier and I would make sure it is from Lab Series. Hahaha…
Richard Sawyer is the International Education Director and Men’s Grooming Expert for Lab Series Skincare for Men. He is known for sharing his knowledge with other men through personal consultations and seminars on all aspects of men’s grooming – from cleaning and shaving to treating multiple skincare concerns. Richard also serves as host of the lifestyle-infused, men’s grooming website, www.labseries.com. He revitalizes the brand by contributing written and video content, which focuses on a variety of grooming topics related to men’s daily activities. Richard also interacts with visitors through the “Ask Richard” feature on the website where he directly addresses men’s grooming questions and concerns. Recognized around the world, Richard has been featured in countless publications such as GQ Germany, USA Today, Canada’s Cosmetics magazine, Arena Magazine in Korea and The Grooming Guru in the UK.
HisStyleDiary/Lab Series Contest : Find out below.
Stand a chance to win one of 5 sets of Lab Series Skincare for Men hamper( each worth S$199) . Each hamper consists of
- 1 x Lab Series BB Cream for Men worth S$72
- 1 x Lab Series Root Power Treatment Shampoo worth S$52
- 1 x Lab Series Root Power Hair Tonic worth S$75
How to Win:
1) Simply “Like” this post at the top of this article and include this is your message: ‘HisStyleDiary.com is a men’s fashion, grooming and lifestyle blog. Check it out for the latest fashion news, style & grooming tips, events and special promotions.’
2) Answer the following questions:
- Lab Series BB Cream for Men does not clog the pores of the skin because it is oil free and not a make-up base. True or False?
- Frequent washing of hair is not the cause of hair loss. True or False?
3) Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Lab Series Contest” providing your email (same email used in your Facebook account), name, age, occupation, contact number, address. Closing date: 30 Nov 2011.
T&Cs: 5 winners will be picked from all completed entries. The winners will be announced on HisStyleDiary Facebook Page and notify via email. For winner’s residing outside of Singapore, he/she will need to pay for the shipping cost (amount vary with country) of sending the prize to them via Paypal to HSD. Prizes are non-exchangeable for cash. HSD judging decision is final and HSD reserves the right to replace the prize should the current stocks become unavailable.