This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on bathroom products. Series titles and links are as follows.
Note: Part 6 on hair care products may never be written. I never use them and it’s a vast subject with more pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo than you can shake a stick at.
Part 2 Soap, Deodorants and Toothpaste
In part 1 of this series of blogs on bathroom consumable products I looked at shower gels and their split into separate products targeted at men and women. In part 2, I want to comment on soap, deodorants, and toothpaste.
Soap, by which I mean solid bar or liquid soap, and deodorants have long been genderised (can I say that?) into male and female sub-products. If you’re a man, you can buy Mistral’s Black Amber Soap, Duke Cannon’s Big Ass Brick of Soap, Home Brewed Soap’s Citrus and Ale Shampoo Beer Soap, Lemniscate’s Deo-Lightening Soap, Parr’s Mud for Men Soap, and Sam’s Hand-Poured Cold Process Cruelty-Free Vegan Soap for Men, all targeted at men, the rough and the smooth. Women obviously have more sensitive skin and need to pay particular attention to their private parts and thus can buy Nature’s Spa’s Sport Soap for Women, Sam’s Natural Soap for Women (still hand poured and vegan), a Femfresh Soap-Free wash, and from Aqisi, a Chinese company, an areola, armpit and privates whitening miracle. (Don’t ask!)
Deodorants I’ll pass on by. Armpits are armpits; sweat is sweat; and I count the genderisation of deodorants as the first big bathroom-products-marketing con trick. But what about toothpaste? Are there any essential differences between men’s teeth and women’s teeth? If you found a human tooth while searching for buried treasure or just walking the dog, could you tell the sex of the original owner by, say, DNA testing? Experts will assert the answer to be no but not so marketing people in companies that make and sell toothpaste. Look at these products. Optima make an AloeDent Womans Toothpaste (no apostrophe, unfortunately). They also make an AloeDent Cool Strawberry Children’s Toothpaste, apostrophe included. We also have a Maternal Toothpaste for pregnant women made by O-Zone. I kid you not. And then there’s Bamboo Charcoal Toothpaste for Momen (a woman with facial hair, derived from moustache and woman according to the Urban Dictionary) plus, of course, Barbie toothpaste presumably targeted at little girls plus grown-up girls with big breasts.
How about men? What are their options when it comes to toothpaste? Well, they can always buy the first toothpaste especially designed for men, that is any one of Signal’s SuperPure, DeepCool or EnergyKick products, or Colgate’s Max White for Men. But, if you want to appeal to women, go for Unilever’s cinnamon-flavoured Close-up (my toothpaste of choice when I lived in California in the mid-’90s). Close-up packaging usually shows a man standing very close to an attractive woman, the implication being you will attract such women if you use the toothpaste. I unearthed an interesting 2014 court case in which a man in Nigeria sued Unilever Nigeria Limited for failing to deliver. He claimed he had been using Close-up for seven years but failed to attract any girl in this period thus causing him mental suffering. Again, I kid you not. Look here. I cannot vouch for the power of Close-up to deliver on the promise of its packaging when I lived in California. I was too busy pursuing my career!