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Pakistani men seek better looks

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, March 12, 2012
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Men in Pakistan are latching on to a growing trend in personal grooming. Salons and clinics have popped up across major cities in recent years, creating a growing industry in the male beauty sector. But what's driving this trend in this conservative Muslim country? Our correspondent Farzana Fiaz went to Lahore to find out.

It's late afternoon on a Friday and this grooming parlour in Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore – is a hive of activity.

Nothing unusual here - until you notice that all of the customers are men.

Like most countries around the world, the beauty industry in Pakistan is geared towards women.

But an increase in demand here is also driving a growing industry in male grooming.

Head Beauty therapist Aamer Bukhari describes the most popular treatments requested by men.

Aamer Bhukari, salon manager, said, "Hair treatments are very popular for dandruff and falling hair, which is a male main issue and then pigmentation or dark skin problems and lifting facials are in and one thing which mostly people get done is waxing, their full body waxes for the upper torso, cos if you have got your muscles and your body is hairy then you cannot show you muscles contours and things like that."

Such attention towards appearance doesn't come cheaply.

Prices at this salon are around several hundred rupees for the average treatment or four times what the average Pakistani lives on a day.

But it's clearly a price worth paying for style-conscious Lahoris like this one.

According to some experts, the Pakistani beauty market is worth over $400 million and has grown over 300% in the last six years alone.

A significant customer base is increasingly men – with the Bridal market driving them.

Many of the male clientele at salons are members of bridal parties.

And with traditional Pakistani marriage ceremonies going on for days and costing a lifetime of savings – that makes for a very healthy industry.

Experts says that this is that's driving the male grooming industry – as men get in on the act; spending huge amounts on looking good for the big celebration.

Here's just one groom having all manner of treatments from hair styling to make up.

But isn't there is something unmanly about such treatments?

Head therapist Aamer is quick to disagree.

Aamer Bukhari said, "There's nothing wrong with men having these treatments done because it only makes them look more polished, more good looking in their own masculine way. Like even if we do make up it would really subtle and would only enhance their masculine features."

CCTV's Farzana Fiaz said, "It's a widely held belief in Pakistan that Lahore is the style capital of the country. So it's only fitting that personal grooming industry is on the increase here. What might be surprising perhaps is that men are just as keen on keeping up appearances as women. Proving that looking good is a universal pursuit."

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