Slogans such as “It’s not a sin to look good,” and “Look good = feel good = confidence = success,” are designed to draw the casual man into regular use of makeup. Elvis Presley supposedly never left the house without it. James Dean and Marlon Brando wore mascara in the 50s, and so did the thousands of young men who idolized them. In the 80s, pop music groups like Duran Duran popularized the “made up look” without resorting to Ziggy Stardust-style theatrics. Men appreciate looking youthful and healthy just as much as women, so it is only natural they are turning to cosmetics more than ever to fill the need.
Manufacturing companies have capitalized on this rise in demand for makeup for men by producing make up and skin care lines designed and formulated specifically for men. Products for men now include the full kit, ranging from foundation products to eyeliner and mascaras. A study by Euromonitor indicated American men spent over $5 billion on grooming products last year, compared to $2.4 million in 1997 (a 2000%+ jump!). Grooming products, aka cosmetics, are big business.
More men work behind the department store make up counters than ever before. Major cosmetics retailers such as MAC, Sephora, Inglot, Clinique and others have established lines catering to men. Men in the makeup industry are benefiting from the high profile successes of many male film and TV special effects make up artists. The Academy Awards is even adding two more Governors to the line up for the Makeup and Hair categories.
Makeup designer Inglot Cosmetics founder Wojciech Inglot, started in the make up industry as a chemist specializing in color chemistry. He parlayed this into a multi-billion dollar industry of high-end cosmetics, including a line specifically for men. Jay Manuel, another highly recognizable make up artist, brought more attention to men in the industry through hosting the American and Canadian versions of Next Top Model. Industry sources confide that men tend to receive more awards and recognition for their skills as make up artists, and garner higher sales at the retail level than women tend to earn. (Some also complain that this is disproportionate to number of men and women working in the makeup business.)
Male consumers already accept wearing lip balm because it is sporty. Moisturizer and sunscreen are not far behind in male acceptance. Many men still use no more than this when it comes to daily grooming products, but new lines of grooming products created just for male skin are rapidly increasing in popularity. These include cover up make-up to hide blemishes, imperfections and razor cuts, and brow and beard “corrector” gels help men tame unruly brows and to fill in thin spots. Even big-name stars from Justin Bieber to Ben Affleck have publicly embraced skin care and cosmetics.
Mascaras formulated for men are lighter, more subtle and more durable than those for women. Bronzers give the appearance of health while blending in with a man’s skin tone. New “BB” and “CC” creams are called complexion enhancers for men. Even dark eyeliner (sometimes called “guyliner”) is becoming popular as more celebrities embrace it. Whitening eye drops combined with black or dark blue eyeliner, for instance, gives eyes a brighter, more awake appearance. And of course, let’s not forget “male polish” brands like Alpha Nail, who have whole lines of nail polish designed specifically men, and appealing to everyone from athletes to manual laborers to musicians. Marketers know the key to success in the male cosmetics industry is to avoid calling products make up or cosmetics when appealing to the male demographic. Products for men are called moisturizers, correctors, blemish repair, toners, eye enhancers, and in the case of Lab Series, a “mattifyer.”
Men in the 35 to 50 age group seem to be purchasing most of these grooming cosmetics. The average Joe who is not in front of a camera on the daily is still more likely to purchase cosmetics online where there’s no stigma to be found. They have a variety of high-end retailers including Kenmen, 4Voo and Menaji, Clinique and other department store brands available.