Asian Men & Makeup: A Growing Trend

It’s no longer a big secret: Men throughout Asia (and especially South Korea) LOVE their makeup.

Long hailed to be a tool for women only, men in South Korean have taken up the trend of using their own cosmetic supplies to help bolster their self image. The trend has grown so much, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International, that sales of cosmetics for men in South Korea now amount for approximately 21 percent of total global sales (roughly $495.5 million) last year alone.

So why are men dolling up their faces?

The trend has been taking place over the past decade and is based on a greater trend facing Asia as a whole. As reported by NBC news, “man bags” (a.k.a. purses) and male skin products are increasingly popular as well. These are becoming both a status symbol of wealth and power as well as signs of “self pampering”. Many employers and women see this trend as positive for men as well — after all, if a man is willing to spend thousands of dollars each month on his own skin products, how much might he be willing to spend on her?

Most luxury and cosmetic brands are loving this trend as it opens up some of the world’s most populated and economically booming areas fully to their products, with both men and women purchasing them left and right. There’s also a market for many cosmetic products that would never exist in most Western countries: whitening cream.

Just like many European countries believed long ago that “white skin means wealth and power” the same idea is still found across much of Asia today. Skin bleaching creams are all the rave, especially for young women that feel any tan whatsoever will “turn them black and ugly”.

While many men throughout Europe and North America may scoff at a lot of the feminine traits being taken on by much of Asia’s men, particularly those with significant wealth and power, this trend is actually growing on a yearly basis with no slowdown seen in the near future.

Just a bit of advice to those guys who are thinking of buying their own “European Carry All” (as Seinfeld so aptly put it) – it may not go over so well in some situations.