Online Exclusives

Boys Will Be Boys?

By Marshall Pearson, Assistant Editor | August 25, 2009

Cosmetics for men could be the next big trend.

Are guys ready to get their glam on? Photo: Future Touch
Not long ago, the only men caught wearing eyeliner were a handful of rock stars and glam icons who used it to sell albums and promote a sexualized image. The rise of men’s cosmetics since then has been a slow process that is often rebuffed by its stigma in American culture. However, according to experts, the market men’s cosmetics will do nothing but grow in the coming years, albeit slowly.

The market for men’s cosmetics may not represent a significant chunk of the industry, but it has shown strong development in the last few decades. In the 1980s, L’Oréal introduced hair color products for men that, at the time, were largely seen as too feminine to catch on—how times change! Bands such as My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy have promoted men’s makeup and popular brands such as Clinique and Jean Paul Gaultier have featured men’s eyeliner and concealer products in their lines.

Procter & Gamble’s recent acquisition of Zirh and The Art of Shaving may indicate that the market for men’s cosmetics is ready to expand further. Antoinette van den Berg, the founder of consulting firm Future Touch, closely follows the men’s market and sees P&G’s entrance into the market as significant.

Photo: Future Touch
“What you see is that there is a big interest from P&G and other large companies. They show a big interest in men’s creams and concealers, and you are seeing them more and more in the men’s market,” she told Happi.com.

While large companies remain, for now, on the sidelines, the men’s cosmetics sector continues to be dominated by boutique brands and others with limited distribution.

One of the few companies that manufacture cosmetics specifically for men is 4VOO, a Canadian company that sells its line of men’s skin care, cosmetic and makeup products at retail locations worldwide. 4VOO offers the standard line of skin care products, such as shaving cream and face wash, as well as eyeliner and concealer formulated specifically for men.

Company president Marek Hewryk said these products help men willing to buck social stigma to look their best.“Our approach is not to beautify but to ‘correctify.’ That is why cosmetics are still needed and why men still use them,” he said. “We offer the correcting products to help men look good for whatever reason they want.”

European companies are often on the cutting edge of the cosmetic industry. Europe’s couture environment has influenced the men’s cosmetic market by facilitating a so-caled metrosexual aesthetic that emphasizes men looking their best.

No wonder then, that while Americans have eschewed men’s cosmetics, Europeans have embraced 4VOO’s products, according to Mr. Hewryk.

“In some countries in Europe it is more open, but here it is hidden. Here they don’t talk about cosmetics, but over there they do. It is not that people don’t use it, because we sell lots of cosmetics everywhere, but no one talks about it,” he said. “We are changing as a society but some things are slower than others.”

The European influence on American fashion cannot be ignored, and according to Ms. van den Berg, it will appear first in urban or metropolitan areas where young people take their cues from boutique windows and a pervading international culture. The internet and international travel will cause American men to appropriate the trends of their cosmopolitan counterparts.

“There are international blocks that act like mirrors where people get their inspiration from street fashion. This trend emerges in the bigger cities where there is an international sense of fashion,” she said. “Because of the internet, we are informed very well about different cultures.”

Mr. Hewryk agrees that the trend of men’s cosmetics will take hold in urban areas and spread from there, but he sees different motivation leading urban trendsetters to embrace men’s cosmetics.

“People in large cities are more open and confident about themselves. They don’t want to please everyone with their look,” he said. “Cosmetics are part of fashion and look does matter in an environment where everyone is trying to get a job.”

Despite the increasing presence of men’s cosmetics in major cities, the lion share of American are still hesitant to dab on foundation. According to Mr. Hewryk, the slow rise in the use of men’s cosmetics in America can be attributed to, among other things, “cultural conservatism” and makeup’s gender-related connotations. However, the rise of a new generation has given him hope that men abroad won’t be the only ones donning cosmetics in the future.

“Men are still afraid (of cosmetics) because it is viewed as effeminate…but it is the older generation who is saying that it is a ‘girlie’ thing,” Mr. Hewryk said. “Society is different now that it was back then, and I think this generation is more open and ready to experiment.”

The real questions are not whether men will use cosmetics, where the trend has originated or why American men are averse to something deemed “effeminate.” Men clearly have an interest in cosmetic products and all signs point to the younger generation’s desire to experiment. Industry analysts and store owners are watching to find out how long it will take for the trend to expand and to what extent men in the U.S. will be purchasing cosmetic products. Both Mr. Hewryk and Ms. van den Berg agree that further expansion will take time and will rely on large chains stocking these lines. They also say that many men are poised to pull out the compact and start applying foundation.

“Men are ready. Whether the buyers from department stores or large chains are ready, that is the question,” said Mr. Hewryk.

The desire of mass market outlets to start carrying men’s cosmetics remains underwhelming, but Ms. van den Berg claims that “men’s cosmetics is something we see as growing in the future and it will only continue to grow.”
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.

  • Preserve & Serve

    Preserve & Serve

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Suppliers with innovative preservatives provide staying power for formulations.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • Cozy Makes a Splash

    Cozy Makes a Splash

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 25, 2016
    Expands reach in CVS and introduces new collection.

  • Senior Skin Care

    Senior Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 19, 2016
    McCord Research and Product Quest Manufacturing roll out new hospital-grade skin care kits for seniors to use at home.

  • Naterra Expands Tree Hut Range

    Naterra Expands Tree Hut Range

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 18, 2016
    New ‘Bare’ collection is out now.

  • An Antioxidant Arsenal

    An Antioxidant Arsenal

    July 11, 2016
    BioRewind is Dermarché Labs' new anti-aging regimen that delivers broad-spectrum antioxidant protection against free radicals

  • Enter Éclair

    Enter Éclair

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 5, 2016
    A new naturals line rolls out in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 30, 2016
    J&J's anti-aging patent, LVMH and cannabis essential oil, transdermal botulinum toxins and more in recent patent news.

  • Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    June 28, 2016
    Vote on the finalists in Happi's reader's choice Anti-Aging Product of the Year contest!

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Henkel Grabs the Sun

    Henkel Grabs the Sun

    Ian Bell, Euromonitor International||June 24, 2016
    Euromonitor's Ian Bell on the impact the purchase will have on the US detergent industry.

  • To The Max

    To The Max

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||June 20, 2016
    Velvet 59 is on the rise at locations like Ricky’s NYC.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • You’re So Sensitive!

    You’re So Sensitive!

    June 13, 2016
    P&G teaches dermatologists a thing or two about common skin maladies—and some common household chores to boot!

  • Voyage to Better Skin

    Voyage to Better Skin

    June 13, 2016
    Skin Inc. rolls out new light-based device to US market.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 9, 2016
    Avon’s use of melicope extract, skin care with SPF and chicory root, microdermabrasion cream and more in recent patents.

  • What’s New at Bath & Body Works?

    What’s New at Bath & Body Works?

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Tropical scents are leading the way this season so far.

  • Exploring Green in Vegas

    Exploring Green in Vegas

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Cosmoprof North America sets the stage for brands dedicated to the growing and evolving eco-friendly beauty space.

  • We

    We're Surrounded!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 30, 2016
    Industry experts explain the important role that the skin microbiome plays in human health.

  • Luxury Re-Coded

    Luxury Re-Coded

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||May 25, 2016
    Consumers have new expectations for beauty.

  • Big Business at Beiersdorf

    Big Business at Beiersdorf

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||May 23, 2016
    VP of marketing shares info on winning products and more.

  • Procter Reels in Doctors

    Procter Reels in Doctors

    May 16, 2016
    The Procter & Gamble stand was abuzz during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 13, 2016
    Be sure to contact the Bay Area Beauty Association.

  • Representatives Connect

    Representatives Connect

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||May 8, 2016
    Re:Beauty offers a new direct sales opportunity.

  • Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||May 2, 2016
    LOLI box marks the convergence of natural and organic ingredients, subscription service and DIY cosmetic chemistry.