A range of make-up for men

How men’s make-up could break into the mainstream

South Korea beauty trends are increasingly influential in the west. A BBC article from the end of 2018 promised a bright future for the concept, known as K beauty. Featuring a range of skincare and beauty innovations, it is indeed seeing a steady uptake by UK consumers. Male make-up is an intriguing part of K beauty, as it has been seen as unmarketable here in the past but perhaps less so presently.

We attempted to determine what part of the UK’s male population currently buys make-up and the result was relatively encouraging, especially if looking at the Gen Z segment. 17% of male consumers aged 18-24 currently use make-up, compared to the smaller but still significant 10% of men overall.

A steer regarding consumers’ intention to buy male make-up in future yielded even more positive results. 36% of men said they would buy male make-up and the youngest consumers were not the only group showing interest. The highest result came from the 25- 34 years olds  – around 40%.

In order to take advantage of this growing segment, brands should look into men’s attitude towards particular make-up products and think of relevant positioning in view of the targeted age groups.

Korean men might be a ripe target for brands making tinted foundation or brow pencil but this trend is in conception in the west. However, despite the relatively low levels of consumer uptake, such products might have a bright future, according to the results from a steer, showcasing the five male make-up items below.

Concealer stick, covering under-eye area and spots
Loose mineral powder foundation
Eyebrow gel
Clear lash/brow mascara
Eyeliner

The most successful out of the five was the concealer stick, followed by the mineral powder foundation. Least successful was the eyeliner product, which is most obviously defined as a “proper” make-up item:

If using make-up, most men would seek a natural look, therefore, brands should market make-up as skin care where possible. In a related article from the end of last year, GC Magazine saw a positioning as an “enhancement” rather than make-up promising for the UK market.

We ran a steer asking a set of male consumers whether they would buy a foundation item, positioned as such, and slightly above 51% responded positively. The result was even better when the same product was shown to another set of consumers with a different description, presenting it in the light of a skincare item:

As seen above, the “enhancement” rather than “make-up” positioning attracted a greater ratio of consumers, almost 60%. If marketed wisely, hybrids between make-up and skincare, targeted at men, could enter the mass market in the near future.

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