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Men's makeup on the rise in South Korea : Embracing Beauty and Breaking Barriers

In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in the number of men embracing makeup as a part of their daily grooming routine. What was once limited to skincare has now evolved into full-fledged makeup application, complete with color tones and artistry. The Korean market, in particular, has witnessed substantial growth in the men's cosmetics industry, with domestic sales soaring to a staggering 1.11 trillion KRW. This blog post delves into this evolving trend, highlighting the increasing acceptance of makeup among men and the industry's response to cater to this growing demand.


According to a report published last year, a remarkable 72% of men aged 20 to 49 incorporated basic cosmetics into their skincare regimen, showcasing a significant shift in attitudes toward grooming. Beyond skincare, the study revealed that 39.6% of men also took care of their eyebrows, 18.9% maintained their nails, and 20% ventured into using color products such as BB cream. This data indicates that men now view makeup as a tool to enhance their appearance, embracing the opportunity to experiment with different cosmetic options.


As the acceptance of makeup among men grows, the industry has responded by developing exclusive products tailored to their needs. A prominent example is a leading Korean brand that recently launched a line solely dedicated to men's makeup. This milestone marks the first instance of a cosmetics conglomerate introducing a brand specifically targeting male consumers. Since its inception, this brand has experienced remarkable growth, boasting a consistent double-digit annual increase and achieving a staggering 173% year-on-year sales growth last month. Their product range encompasses essential makeup items, including concealer, powder, shadow, and eyebrow pencils. Moreover, they are expanding their portfolio this year to include perfume and haircare products, further catering to the grooming needs of men.


The flourishing demand for men's cosmetics is evident not only in dedicated brands but also in mainstream retail outlets. Drugstores have witnessed a substantial surge in sales, with a staggering 46% increase in men's cosmetics sales recorded between the beginning of this year and May 8. Notably, color cosmetics experienced a significant spike of 131%, with men gravitating toward lip and eye makeup products. This retail trend corroborates the growing interest and investment that men are making in their personal grooming, leading to a steady rise in the sales of men's cosmetics.


The rise of men's makeup is a compelling reflection of shifting societal norms and an increased emphasis on self-care and personal style. Men are no longer hesitant to explore the realm of makeup, embracing it as a tool to enhance their appearance and express their individuality. The cosmetics industry has astutely responded to this emerging trend, introducing specialized men's makeup brands and expanding product portfolios to cater to the unique needs and preferences of male consumers. As more men continue to invest in their appearance management, it is clear that the sales of men's cosmetics will continue to flourish, contributing to the growth and diversification of the beauty industry as a whole.


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