Blog image

The Power of the Look in Turkey

May 2013

By Selcuk Koruturk, Istanbul

Appearance is important in Turkey. Ever since the founding of The Republic, where among many fundamental changes that were introduced, Western “style” was also adapted. Women have paid great attention to how they look. Weekly visits to the hairdresser was, and still is, an activity on par with brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. Nowadays, women have many more options to improve their appearance, especially when it comes to cosmetics.

Turkish cosmetic stores, such as Sevil and Tekin Acar, enjoyed a market without any international competition until only about few years ago, when international cosmetic stores took notice of Turkish women’s interest in looking well-kept. Now it’s almost impossible to stroll through a shopping strip without running into a Sephora, MAC, L’Occitane, or Yves Rocher.  Women have shown a great interest in these stores, but what these brands were not expecting was to see male customers browsing their aisles!

Indeed “metrosexuality” was a term that was introduced in Turkey about ten years ago. Being a man who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance was a just cause for ridicule back then, when it was even frowned upon to wear shorts in the summer. This macho view of life started to show signs of change, as more and more as Western culture started infiltrating Turkish airwaves, movie theatres and print press. Turkish men realized that their brethren around the world were doing a lot more to improve their looks, resulting in an equally increased local attention towards them.

Slowly, one noticed men with highlights in their hair, not to mention wearing shorts! The gradual acceptance of “metrosexuality” has now reached a point where you can walk into any high-end hairdresser in Istanbul and find men sitting next to women getting manicures and pedicures. In fact, having manicured hands is a social norm among metropolitan, office types, and it’s these men who can be seen picking up tubes of anti-aging cream and moisturizers from Sephora or The Body Shop.

In a country where obesity figures are climbing higher each year, people have become increasingly aware of the importance of healthy living and eating. Dressing well and using expensive cosmetic products don’t really cut it. One also needs to be “fit” to draw attention to one’s self.

In addition to high-end gyms, like Sports International and Mars Athletic Club, who offer yoga and Pilates classes, high-end restaurant chains like The House Cafe and Kitchinette have not only started listing the calories of the dishes they serve, but also add “fit selections” to their menus. Fast food chains, which are very popular in Turkey, have also joined in on the trend. McDonald's and Burger King have added low-carb items on their menus, such salads with meat as burgers without buns.

Turkish women still lead the market in healthcare and beauty, but over the past few years men have positively increased the amount of money they spend on grooming and keeping fit-- and brands have definitely taken notice.

Health & Fitness
Food & Drink
Fashion & Style
Blog Issue: 
Istanbul cosmetics store, Flormar
The House Cafe, one Istanbul restaurant that features calorie counters on their menu
McDonald's in Turkey is even supporting healthy eating

Subscribe Form