Skin lotion, blemish covering, and various facial packs are now the norm on men’s desks. They can be seen entering the bathroom to sit in front of the cosmetic table mirror just like women nowadays. Using his delicate touch, he can be observed applying skin lotion to his face. After this, he will get dressed and then proceed to apply blemish covering makeup to his face using the appropriate cosmetic sponge. Once his blemishes are covered, he then moves closer to the mirror to apply lip balm to his lips. Sound very much like a day in the life of a woman, right? However, men are no different these days. Men are now engaging in the same beautification measures as women.
Two New Best Friends-Cosmetics and Men
Today, the cosmetic industry is targeting men. Lap series, an import male cosmetics brand, ranked first in sales through the world, and Biotherm, another foreign cosmetic brand, recently raised its marketing strategy to focus more on men. In 2013, Biotherm only 37% of its marketing strategies targeted males, but in 2015 that percentage rose to 45%.1) The market demand for male cosmetics is increasing. It was found that men in Korea bought more skin care products than men in any other nation.2) In other words, Korean males are clearly interested in skin beautification. It is no longer awkward for a man to purchase cosmetics and spend time beautifying himself. Research on the consumption patterns of males in terms of cosmetic purchases by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in March 2015 found that men in Korea are paying attention to their skin. Most male respondents (87.2%) said they use skin lotion each month. 67.1% said they use hand cream, 58.6% claim to use body lotion, 57.9% use skin lotion, and 56.4% make use of sunblock. What is more interesting, however, is that men nowadays are using products once considered only for women like facial forming cleansers, hair wax, mask packs, moisturizing cream, face serums, and hair essence. It was found that 3~5 out of 10 males used these products. In addition, there has been an increase in the variety of male cosmetic products besides skin lotion. For example, Innisfree, a famous cosmetic company, launched the ad campaign ‘Forest for Man Skin Pad,’ which sells cotton beauty for men. Just as the size and shape of cosmetic sponges were designed to fit women’s hands, the newly released male versions match a man’s hand size in order for males to effectively apply skin lotion. IOPE, another famous cosmetic brand, also came out with the ‘Man Air Cushion,’ which was developed as cushion that is cosmetic made as compact form for men a similar version of the one the company sells to women. With the growing interest by males in cosmetic products and related sales soaring, a lot of companies are now hosting events that target male consumers. In the summer of 2015, Shinsegae, a department store in Korea, held an exhibition entitled ‘Grooming Beauty Pair.’ The exhibition displayed male cosmetics and beauty tools, and it was on the first floor of the department store generally reserved for luxury goods. During the event, Shinsegae offered males the chance to be consulted on products that would match their skin type. Beside Shinsegae’s male marketing trend, Korean TV now shows programmes that focus on male beautification. For instance, the Get it Beauty Show, a total beauty package program about food and health, recently did a feature on male skin types and appropriate skin lotions for those skin types. It also introduced beautification tips and information for men.
The Reason for Male Beautification
Males have become interested in cosmetics and beautification due to changes in society. Society now focuses on appearance, so men feel the need to groom themselves better. Just like women, males need to make good first impressions in today’s competitive society. Recently, one study found that 98% of job applicants believe their appearance will determine whether they get the job.3) This result suggests that young people believe a groomed appearance to be critical in society and the basis by which one is assessed. In other words, how one beautifies him/herself is important not because handsome or ugly is important, but because neat appearance shows self-administer of one’s. That is why a lot of men now pay attention to skin and beauty treatments.
In the past, the cosmetic industry focused solely on women, so any man who was interested in cosmetics had to borrow cosmetic products from a mother or sister or use cosmetics for women. Unlike the past, today there are plenty of male cosmetics optimized to match male skin types like blemish creams and cushion of foundations only for men, so men can easily obtain products that match their needs. ‘Homme by Oily’ by ReeJiham, a cosmetic company, is a product that claims to resolve male skin issues like excessive sebum, thick dead skin cells, pore blockage, and lack of skin moisture. The company also came out with a product that claims to be an “all-in-one” cream so that males do not need to purchase numerous products and spend hours in the washroom going through the many stages of skin care.
The Beautiful Man and Its Effect
The increased interest in cosmetics by men may lead to an increase bond of sympathy among the sexes. In the past, the cosmetic industry was considered a female world and men were not thought to have any knowledge of cosmetics. Also, women once believed that men had no need to learn about basic cosmetic information. However, men are interested in beautifying themselves and grooming just as much as women are, and this is now seen as bond that unites the two sexes. Nowadays, men have taken interest in cosmetic products and self-beautification, so they are now realizing why women purchase so many various items and are constantly concerned about their appearance. On the show Get It Beauty that typically targets women, male beauty issues are taking over and men and women are coming together to discuss issues related to beauty on the show. Second, there is an expanding male cosmetic industry in society now. Males are not only demanding male cosmetic products but seeking quality in those products and voicing feedback on the products that the industry is listening to and using. The high quality cosmetic products that meet the needs of men have expanded the industry. The male cosmetic industry is growing each year, and sales approached 1.08 trillion won in 2014.4) The growth is so remarkable that male celebrities are now spokesperson models for certain cosmetic products. For instance, actor Jeong Woo also works as a model for Ulos, a popular male cosmetic brand.
Real Men Becomes Flower Men
Unlike in the past, the male cosmetic industry is booming. Accordingly, society now has numerous males wishing to focus on and better their appearance in order to increase their charm. While this new trend in society may result in economic benefits like boasting the industry and social benefits like closer bonds between the sexes, special precaution is needed to avoid the problems that arise when there are excessive interests in one’s outer beautification. Society must strive to create the proper beauty culture for males. Women should not ridicule males who show interest in or use cosmetic products but just consider the act as natural as women showing interest in or using cosmetic products as part of their daily grooming.
1) Im Hyeonu, “Launched Foundation as Compacted form, Cotton beauty, Motor cleanser for Males,” HanKyung, November 11, 2015
2) Bea Taerang, “Dreaming of a Male with Great Skin..,” Newdaily, October 22, 2015
3) Hong Jonguk, “Being likable is rising… The number of males seeking nose jobs has increased,” Sisaon, December 10, 2015
4) An Yrina, “Men Interested in Better Personal Grooming are Increasing...,” Newdaily, August 4, 2015