The Key to Make-up for Men

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Men’s grooming routines are becoming more complex, and while Western men might not be ready for men’s make-up, the time is right for men’s BB, CC and DD creams with a focus on skincare and “hidden” coverage.

In an increasingly image-conscious society, men aren’t about to be left behind when it comes to looking good. This heightened self-awareness of image is good news for the beauty and fashion industry. However, whilst male consumers aren’t yet ready for make-up, there is certainly potential for hybrid skincare products that feature some disguised cosmetic benefits.

Men’s skincare is thriving in South Korea and much inspiration can be taken from the market. While it is generally acknowledged that Korean men have more effeminate beauty standards than in the West, and that Asian men typically have more sophisticated skincare routines than Western men, Western interest in men’s grooming and beauty products is growing.

In the UK, male facial skincare products have seen the strongest growth rate over the past year, increasing sales by nearly 8% to account for 16% of the men’s toiletries market. The increasing male usage of products such as lip balms and eye creams signals that men’s skincare routines are becoming more sophisticated.

Although still small, the usage of BB creams by UK men doubled over 2013-14. This is especially interesting in light of the fact that BB creams designed for men are virtually absent from UK store shelves, which suggests men are using BB creams originally marketed to women.

By contrast, BB and CC creams for men in South Korea is a well-established segment, with brands launching new textures such as L’Oréal Men Expert BB Men Instant Skin Fixer BB Moisturizing Gel, a blue gel containing pigment capsules that break open once applied to the face. Other local brands like Laneige have introduced cooling BB creams to combat a sweaty face, and Skinfood has launched Color Gel BB for Men that also contains cooling agents and coloured capsules in a blue gel. Others are already a step ahead with ‘Cushion’ technology like Lope Men Air Cushion.

Finding The Right Message In The West

Finding the right positioning for men’s make-up in the West is the key to success. Facial moisturisers are used by one in five British men, while one in five Italian men are interested in trying make-up to cover dark circles. In the UK, one in five female skincare buyers look for facial skincare products that offer both skincare and cosmetic benefits, like BB creams - a smaller but significant one in 12 men look for this attribute.

Positioning your services and in-salon products with subtle colour and coverage effects, and highlighting cosmetic benefits such as anti-fatigue (to avoid the feminine illuminating or brightening claims), correcting skin tone or camouflaging blemishes will be more appealing messages for your male audience. White or transparent creams with encapsulated pigments which break open on the skin or that contain smart pigments that fuse with the natural skin tone would avoid the impression of foundation. The recent launch of Biotherm Homme Total Recharge CC Gel Instant Healthy Look uses this trick featuring “Invisi-Pigment Technology”, the transparent gel formula contains capsules of pigment that give a healthy look when breaking on application.

Men like using multi-functional products to save time in their daily grooming routines but they want to take care of their skin and their appearance. While BB creams are a ‘must-have’ product for most beauty brands, CC (Colour Correction) and DD (Daily Defence) creams are quickly growing in popularity. Taking inspiration from recent DD cream launches, highlighting protection against external aggression and anti-pollution claims in multi-functional skincare products is likely to appeal to active and urban men.

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