The Rise of Male Beauty

Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash

Beauty is a vast industry. It encompasses makeup and fashion, skincare and cosmetics. Through the years we have seen many trends, from ripped jeans to technicolor eyeshadow, come and go. But one trend seems to breakthrough and stay relevant: the need for gender equality in the beauty industry.

The global beauty industry is worth over $500 billion, with a large growth in men’s products of the last few years. Even the biggest scientific organizations back up this claim, with the American Academy of Dermatology stating that the basics of daily skincare for men and women are the same.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Gender used to sell. Gendering items was commonplace and was a discussion had in many boardrooms of the top beauty companies in the world. The industry is built on this notion that genders are inherently different. The big brands created this stigma that men should not use women’s products and vice versa, when if you look at it, the products are generally the same.

Women have been dominating the beauty industry even though men have been wearing make up and using other beauty products for hundreds if not thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt, men used black pigment to create cat-eye designs to attest masculinity and show wealth and status. During the Queen Elizabeth I era, it was rather commonplace to see a male using ghost-white powder as makeup on their face.

There have been many strives to stop gendering the beauty industry most prominently on social media. Over recent years more and more males beauty influencers have risen into the ranks of stardom. Influencers like James Charles and Bretman Rock are among the some that use their passion for cosmetics to create a new view of the beauty industry. Men don’t typically use makeup in large amounts but some do use bronzer, foundation, and concealer to amplify their look.

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

You can’t really mention male beauty without mentioning the important player in it, South Korea. We recently published an article about how K-Beauty was impacted by Netflix’s Squid Game, but today I want to focus on South Korea’s impact on the male beauty industry. Many male K-pop stars, who have millions of fans worldwide, challenge the beauty industry (and look great while doing it). They redefine masculinity, much like Harry Styles and other U.S celebrities do, just reaching a more global audience.

Just like in Egypt, men in South Korea are familiar with how to use eyeliner and eyeshadow as well as how to do a full skincare routine. Ulzzang, translated to “good-looking” or “best face,” is a youth subculture that has become mainstream in parts of South Korea. Ulzzang describes as cute, pretty, with large eyes, long lashes and translucent skin. Soft masculinity has surfaced in many Korean men, and it changes their attitude and idea about how to look good while living in this type of world.

Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash

South Korea is certainly a trailblazer in lessening the gender equality gap in the industry. They have developed a whole new look for men that is independent from female based trends. Many American brands are following in toe. In late 2018, Chanel released a line for men called Boy de Chanel. This line has eight separate shades of foundation, a two in one brow pencil and brush tool, and lipbalm. More and more brands like L’Oréal, M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Yves Saint Laurent, Shiseido and Estée Lauder all followed shortly after. This shows that the industry can change to be a more inclusive place and we are seeing this happen slowly. Change takes time, but we know it is coming and I think we are all ready to see some change!

Written by: Nikita Chernin

Concepted by: Nikita Chernin

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Skincare Anarchy

Skincare Anarchy

“THE SKIN AUTHORITY” (CEW) Exclusive look into the beauty industry via interviews with entrepreneurs & industry professionals.

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