Mr. Handsome!

Won Bin

Won Bin

SEOUL, South Korea  — Men want to look just as great as we women do. The beauty industry for men is booming and more men are spending more than ever on beauty products and facial treatments. When you first hear the words ‘cosmetics for men’ or ‘beauty products for men’, some men might get offended or turned off. However, the point is that these products are available to make men more handsome, not more feminine. So, why not give it a try?

In Asia, where the men’s beauty industry developed earlier, applying a tinted moisturiser or Blemish Balm (B.B.) cream is socially accepted and a very common practice among men. South Korea is not an exception, it has the largest male beauty market in the world.

Korean men have grown up watching Korean male pop singers wearing make-up, so they don’t really have any issues with it. The whole society understands that men have facials and apply B.B. cream for better looking,” says Han-Kyoon Kim, a popular and the first male beauty blogger who started his beauty blog about nine years ago.

Close-up of a man getting a facial

Close-up of a man getting a facial.

In fact, one out of five products for men sold in South Korea last year were male beauty products. Euromonitor International estimated that Korean men spent about $500 million in 2012 along, which represents 21% of the world consumption in male cosmetics. It also added, South Korea is somewhat distinct in that with just about 19 million adult males, the size of male beauty industry is the biggest in the world.

Men are not only buying basic skincare products, including cleansers, toners, moisturisers and masks; they are also investing in more sophisticated make-up products such as B.B creams, concealers, brow pencils and eyeliner, they are even getting regular facial treatments. Men’s interests in beauty are getting more attention in the media and now have ratings potential. In South Korea, there are several popular TV programmes including Get It Beauty Homme, the most popular programme for men’s beauty. The popularity of these TV shows and beauty blogs for men reflect the increasing interest that men have in their appearance and their proactive approach in taking care of their skin.

This phenomenon is not just happening in Asia. The men’s beauty industry in Western countries is also starting to boom and is one of the fastest growing sectors. According to Euromonitor International, American consumers spent over $5 billion on men’s beauty products in 2012, more than twice what they spent back in 1997.

Clean cut, Zac Efron

Clean cut, Zac Efron.

Although most of these beauty products for men have been for hair care, now it is extending to skin care and even make-up products. Marketers must have been very creative to attract male consumers while avoiding the obvious links to traditional “make-up”. Eyebrow pencils are marketed as “brow and beard correctors”, foundation is sold as “sculpting face sticks” or “urban camouflage” and concealer, one of the most popular items, is sold as “confidence correctors”.

Below some of my recommendations for men’s beauty products:

  • YSL Touche Eclat pour Homme: This is the perfect tool to hide dark circles. If you do not want to use tinted moisturiser, this magic stick will awake and brighten your face in a natural way when applied under the eyes.
  • CLINIQUE for Men makes a great bronzing gel that is waterproof and can give your face a nice healthy glow.
  • JEAN PAUL GAULTIER offers an entire line of cosmetics for men, including cleansers, toners, concealers, bronzers, brow gels, eyeliners and more.

Are you wondering why men have started to take more care of their appearance? Among a few theories, one is based on the increased competition in the economy due to the recession. Jobs are so scarce and competition is so intense that clean and attractive looks, especially for older men in the workplace, can be the difference maker. Makes sense to me!

Courtesy by: Han-Kyoon Kim | Blog:
Miya Choi About the author

Miya Choi is a South Korean born professional in international and cultural diplomacy who has developed a unique view of fashion through her various experiences around the world. In addition to her professional experience with the United Nations and the government of South Korea, she has also been a fashion model, TV hostess and a former winner of the Miss Daegu beauty pageant in Daegu, South Korea. She has a love of fashion and is fascinated by fashion trends in different cultures. She holds a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School in the U.S. and currently resides in London, U.K.