Men’s Products Suggest Men Hate Color?

There I was in my shower, about to grab a bottle of shampoo to wash my hair, and it hit me: men’s product packaging lacks colors. Not just lacking in pastels, which I can sort of understand as many people associate pastels with softer, more feminine sentiments, but lacking just about any colors at all. Don’t believe me? Check out this photo:

men's hair products - all in black

It’s not a completely neutral color palette that they’re designed with, but it’s sure close. This represents four major brands too: Aveeno, American Crew, Axe and Dove Men+Care. Dove might be the most adventurous with its bold move towards grey as the base color instead of black, but what is it with guys and colors?

The contrast is more stark when I looked at the couple of women’s beauty products my girls leave in my shower (for reasons I can’t quite fathom, my kids love to use my shower, not their own):

men's personal products versus women's products - color packaging

The women’s products are bright, cheery and colorful. The guy’s stuff? Dull and dark.

Packaging Innovations explore this topic in a piece that states the obvious: Colors trigger emotions that influence the shopping behavior. In the same piece they state “Certain colors look more attractive than others, yet they also trigger emotional responses consumers might not be fully aware of.”

An article on Intuit’s Quickbooks blog nails it, though. They state that black is associated with prestige, class and sophistication, brown with strength, durability and earthiness and darker greens with wealth and affluence. Those bright female-aimed products? Orange is vitality, excitement and fun while purple is sophisticated and mysterious.

The question then becomes why don’t companies like Dove Men+Care or American Crew opt to tap into our male desire to have fun and excitement, or even to be mysterious or — with a bit of green — evoke calm, freshness and health? Or is it that they’ve tested these sort of package designs and the harsh reality is that men don’t respond favorably and simply prefer class and sophistication as the basic color of their personal hygiene products?

2017 toyota 86 exterior car vehicle colors

One more interesting data point: car colors. According to, men are growing more interested in brighter, non-traditional car colors while women continue to opt for neutral colors.  See an orange car on the road? Men are 25% more likely to pick that as their top color for a vehicle. That color swatch above? Those are the color options for the 2017 Toyota 86 sports car. Which would you gravitate towards?

Now if we can just get guys to look for colors in their personal hygiene product packaging that matches their vehicle choices, we’d be all set…

One comment on “Men’s Products Suggest Men Hate Color?

  1. I guess I’m different… maybe it’s my experience as a Theatrical Lighting Designer… I’m a bright color guy… I have a lime green scrunchy in my shower… and I’d buy the red car! 😉

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