Biggest Male Makeup Market Is South Korea

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Who would have thought? Korean men have been known for being stoic, hard and emotionless – well, that was until now.

With only 19 million men in South Korea, they have managed to corner 21% of the total male makeup market sales worldwide. That’s $495.5 million dollars last year alone making South Korea the biggest male cosmetics market to date.

According to The Week:

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“Why are men from South Korean men buying makeup?
In the socially conservative, male-dominated country, “appearance is power,” says Foster Klug at The Associated Press. Men are applying everything from foundation to lipstick to eyebrow pencils to advance their careers and cater to society’s growing expectation that “men will take the time and effort to pamper their skin.” Of course, there’s probably a more obvious answer, says Kat Stoeffel at New York: “Women prefer them that way.”

How did the trend start?
South Koreans used to adhere to more “macho” preconceptions of what manliness entailed. But in the ’90s, when the South Korean government relaxed import bans on Japanese cultural goods — including comic books, which featured “pretty, effeminate men,” says Klug — that ideal slowly began shifting.

In 2002, Ahn Jung-hwan, a hero of South Korea’s World Cup soccer team, took things a step further when he led the charge for so-called “flower men,” or good-looking, fashionable guys who regularly applied cosmetics; women loved him and men wanted to be him. Now, makeup-wearing guys can be spotted applying lipstick, and companies like Korean Air even hold cosmetics training sessions for male employees.” has this observation:

male makeup“As far as I can tell, most of the masculine makeup industry in Korea seems to be focused on this issue of “control.” There are aesthetic concerns, of course, but they seem almost rudimentary: looking good is only a vehicle to further kick ass. Most of the men profiled seem to be using primarily foundation and eyebrow pencil, both of which are arguably gender-neutral cosmetics focused on correcting imperfections and enhancing traditionally “masculine” aspects of the face.”

In America, big brand names are paying the male makeup market some serious attention; name brands such as Estee Lauder has come out with the “Mad Men Collection” and more and more niche brands such as ‘The Men Pen’ (concealer for men) and KenMen Cosmetics are hitting the male market.

But how would you feel kissing your man with lip gloss on or running your hand over his perfectly exfoliated and powdered face? Would you appreciate the effort of men’s makeup or would you go ‘Ewwwwww”?


Additional source : Examiner
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