Male grooming

Male grooming refers to men paying attention to fashion and enhancing their own appearance. This interest has become increasingly apparent in popular culture.[1]

Background and historyEdit

The history of male grooming dates back to ancient Egyptian civilization. Scholars consider the discovery of copper razors and the practice of putting oil on the skin as the origins of "grooming".[2]

The growth of women's rights movements is a reason for the recent growth of interest in male grooming. As women entered the workforce, men increasingly paid attention to their own appearance and investing in "body capital".[3] Trends Research Institute's publication "Interfashion Planning" states that, "Men's enthusiasm for good looks is not a sudden trend. It is because the importance of human relations in the rat race to modern men living in uncertain times is increasing." Appearance is treated as an investment in differentiating oneself from one's competitors and as a path to self-development." These fashion-conscious men are sometimes known as metrosexuals.[2][4][5]


South Korea has become a center of cosmetics use by men due to "appearance competition", where men wear makeup to compete in tight job markets. The Korean Wave cultural phenomenon, which includes K-pop, has also strongly influenced male grooming. As pop idols in their 20s and so-called "flower boys"[6] have grown in popularity, the perception of men's makeup has changed. While it was once common for men who wore makeup to be associated with drag queens or homosexuality in western cultures, Korean male idols, although they are boyish in appearance, otherwise project masculinity. Men are encouraged to copy the makeup of Korean male idols. In fashion and beauty magazines overseas, there are many articles on skin care and makeup tutorials inspired by Korean pop stars.[7]


The "woman-like man" has become a new trend in China, where a growing number of young men are interested in makeup.[8] The number of internet broadcasters and beauty bloggers who produce makeup videos for men has increased rapidly. Accordingly, the men's cosmetics industry has grown rapidly in China. According to German market-research firm Statista, the size of the men's cosmetics industry in China reached 201.3 billion yuan as of May 2018. Chinese e-commerce company said that the sales of beauty products for men has more than doubled since 2015. Mask packs, BB cream, and lipstick are popular products.[9]

United StatesEdit

Men's grooming has grown substantially in the US and is projected to grow over the next decade. According to Statista, by 2024 the global male grooming market is estimated to be worth about 81.2 billion U.S. dollars.[10]

Types of groomingEdit


Male Cosmetics in drug store

Men's cosmetics productstoners, fragrances, and lotions—have gained a foothold in the mainstream market. In addition, cosmetics that can be used by either men or women have become popular.[11]

The Korean men's cosmetics market has steadily grown from 733 billion won, in 2010, to 1.23 trillion won, in 2016, and to 1.28 trillion won, in 2018. About 75% of Korean men use cosmetics more than once a week, according to global data from overseas market research institutions, which indicates that the percentage of men who use cosmetics in Korea is higher than that of other countries.[12]

According to a recent survey by Mintel, a global market research firm, 70% of 1,000 American men use sunscreen, and 67% of men use cosmetics for their facial skin.[13]

Skin careEdit

Even though men are increasingly taking care of their appearance, it is not easy to find information about men's cosmetics. Therefore, men often use relatively more available female cosmetics. However, men's skin being fundamentally different from women's, the use of female products can damage a man's skin.[14] An oily face is considered one of the three biggest problems for men in their 20s to 40s. Thus, they are encouraged to use toner and lotion for oily skin types.[15]

BB creamEdit

BB cream is used to heighten skin tone.[16] Men's BB cream is characterized by its delicate and natural persistence. This covers skin defects, but does not look like one is wearing makeup.[17]


Interest in eyebrow trimming and eyebrow makeup has also increased.[18] Eyebrows have become a major concern for job seekers. Sales of eyebrow beauty tools have increased in the last few years.[19]

Lip balmEdit

Lip balm is a beauty item that is easily available to men who don't wear makeup. Colored lip balm is popular because it is used not only for moisturizing but also to help with one's skin tone. Colored lip balm is suitable for men who prefer a natural look because it can brighten one's lips with color that compliments their natural skin tone, but more subtly than lipstick or tint.[20][12]


Barber shops are also one of the places that can assist modern grooming men. Barbers are licensed professionals who are trained to cut, shave, and style hair. Male grooming products—including pomades, shave products, powder, beard oil, and shampoo and conditioners—can be purchased at barbershop. While most men in Korea are looking for women-oriented beauty salons, the U.S.-style barber shop has drawn in male customers as well.[21]

Cosmetic surgeryEdit

Men are willing to go to the operating room to make a favorable impression.[22]


Men with small wrinkles on their faces, such as around the eyes and mouth, are seeking Botox treatments, such as what women get.[23] Middle-aged men get Botox surgery for skin regeneration and wrinkle removal in the hope of securing a new job.[24]

Eyebrow tattooEdit

The eyebrows play a big role in facial expression to the extent that they are called "the roof of the face". Over 100,000 years, the role of eyebrows has become more important as the size of human faces has become smaller and the facial lines have become smoother. Dark eyebrows on a small face make other people more aware of facial expressions.[25] Recently, there has been a trend of men tattooing their eyebrows. The process of a permanent eyebrow tattoo involves designing the eyebrows and filling with pigment.[26]

Contouring injection surgeryEdit

Male contouring injection surgery removes fat from the face and creates clearly defined facial features.[27]

Waxing/Laser procedureEdit

Men are having laser treatments for permanent removal of facial and body hair.[28]

Influence in societyEdit

Increasing importance of personal appearanceEdit

When asked: "What do you think are the criteria for a nice man?", in a survey conducted by the Korea National Statistical Office, "look and fashion" accounted for 22.7%, followed by character, economy, and values. When asked, "What do you think of a well-dressed man?", 37.2% thought "cool" and 30.1% said, "I want to try".[29] In addition, there is the phenomenon of men valuing appearance over ability. People are undergoing cosmetic surgery to make favorable impressions during interviews.[30] As a result of the perception that a change in facial shape improves first impressions, facial contouring surgery is becoming popular across industries.[31]

Corporate strategyEdit

There has been a growth in corporate gifting to align with the demand for men's grooming products.[32] Men with sharp features are finding opportunities in conventional advertising. Both men and women have changed their perception of men looking after their appearance in relation to being competitive in the job market and in marrying.[31]


  1. ^ 강, 태우 (2016-03-22). "꾸미는 남성 '그루밍족'" [Decorating male Groomingjok]. JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  2. ^ a b "Men's Grooming Market: Recent Trends Associated with It". 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  3. ^ Holroyd, Rachel (2003-01-23). ""Body work": physical capital, habitus and the field of school". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  4. ^ 이, 헌. "피부·코털 관리만 잘해도 '그루밍族'" [Just take good care of your skin and nose, Grooming male]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  5. ^ 김, 수진. "그루밍족이란? 화장 더이상 女전유물 아냐 [스포츠투데이]" [What's Grooming? Cosmetics are no longer a relic of a woman.]. Sports Today (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  6. ^ "'Flowerboys' and the appeal of 'soft masculinity'". 2018-09-05. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  7. ^ 김, 은영 (2018-08-27). "샤넬, 한국에서 남성 화장품 첫 출시...세계 시장 주도하는 한국의 '화장남'" [Chanel, the first male cosmetics to be released in Korea...Korea's 'Grooming male' led by the global market]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  8. ^ Report Says Chinese Men Spend 24 Minutes Grooming Daily, Signaling Market Opportunity (Report). Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  9. ^ 이, 선목 (2018-09-19). "중국도 '꽃미남' 트렌드…'화장하는' 남자 늘어난다" [China is also a "pretty boy" trend. The number of "make-up" men is increasing.]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  10. ^ "Men's grooming industry market size 2024". Statista. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  11. ^ 박, 성은. "꾸미는 남성 '그루밍족' 따라 화장품도 진화" [Cosmetics also evolved according to the "grooming" man.]. Asia Today (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  12. ^ a b 문, 호현. "외모 가꾸는 남성들…'그루밍족'을 잡아라" [Make-up men...Catch the Grooming people.]. MK News (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  13. ^ 남, 상욱. "'남자도 화장시대' 피부관리 기본, 눈썹 문신까지 - 미주 한국일보" [Men's makeup era. Skin care is basic, to eyebrow tattoos.]. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  14. ^ "남자 지성피부 관리법...스킨부터 로션, 크림까지 단계별 남성 전용 화장품으로 탄력 관리해야". M오토데일리 (in Korean). 2018-11-08. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  15. ^ 박, 상우 (2018-11-17). "남자 지성피부 얼굴 개기름과 번들거림이 고민이라면, 남성 전용 세럼, 올인원 화장품 주목" [If face makeup and glossiness of male oily skin are a concern, attention is paid to men's serum and all-in-one cosmetics.]. M Auto Daily (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  16. ^ 이, 규진 (2018-09-05). "男 뷰티시장이 뜬다 패션뷰티업체, 남성 화장품에 도전장" ["Male Beauty Market is Rise" A fashion beauty company that challenges men's cosmetics]. Aju News (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  17. ^ 정, 영일 (2018-05-08). "티 안 나는 남자비비크림…BB크림 대신 NC크림에 주목" [Man's BB Cream which doesn't look like . Attention to NC Cream instead of BB Cream]. Next Daily (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  18. ^ 김, 재련. "[뷰티누리] 더 다양하고 강력해진 맨즈뷰티 시장" [More diverse and powerful Man's Beauty Market]. Beautynury. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  19. ^ 박, 미주 (2018-02-27). "[박미주의 美치다]남자도 '눈썹 문신'하는 시대…흔남서 '훈남'으로" [The days when men get their eyebrows tattooed...from a common man to a 'hot guy']. The Asia Business Daily (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  20. ^ 임, 수빈 (2018-08-31). "'관리 좀 한다'하는 남자들의 H&B 스토어 고정픽" [H&B store fixed-pics for men who 'take care of well']. NBN TV (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  21. ^ 박, 성수. "남성도 변한다. 이제는 일상이 된 '그루밍' - 고대신문" [Men change, too. 'Grooming', now a daily routine.]. KU News (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  22. ^ "아름다움을 찾는 남성들 '그루밍족'…성형에 아낌없이 투자" [The 'Grooming people' who are looking for beauty...lavish investment in plastic surgery]. Joongang Ilbo (in Korean). 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  23. ^ 이, 기영 (2017-10-11). "그루밍족 호기심 자극하는 남자쁘띠성형 종류는? - 세종포스트" [What is the male petit type plastic surgery that stimulates the curiosity of the Grooming people?]. Sejong Post (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  24. ^ Staff, WSJ. "왜 남성들은 성형수술을 하는가" [Why do men have plastic surgery?]. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  25. ^ 박, 지윤. "반영구 화장 눈썹문신 관심…프라이빗 맞춤디자인 시술 수강 울산 '제이카라'" [Interested in a pair of semi permanent makeup and eyebrow tattoos. Private Custom Design Practice Ulsan 'Jakara']. CCTV News (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  26. ^ 이, 세연. "이미지 좌우하는 눈썹, 맞춤 디자인 '눈썹이식'으로 자연스러운 메이크오버 가능해" [Image-driven eyebrows and custom-designed "eye brow transplant" enable natural makeup over.]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  27. ^ 이, 기영 (2017-09-26). "남자들도 턱보톡스·윤곽주사·코필러 등 간단한 성형 시술 문의 늘어 - 세종포스트" [More men are inquiring about simple cosmetic procedures such as jaw botox, contouring injection, and nose filler etc.]. Sejong Post (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  28. ^ 김, 용섭 (2017-10-10). "[클라스업] 제모하는 남자들" [Men who have a waxing]. Biz Hankook (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  29. ^ ""당신은 소중하니까요"…가꾸는 남자 '그루밍족'" [Because you're precious 'Grooming Man']. Statistics Korea.
  30. ^ 박, 영일. "예쁜 남자, 그루밍족이 뜬다" [A pretty man, Grooming male is on rise]. M Economy News (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  31. ^ a b 이, 광주. "방학기간 그루밍족 남자성형 열풍..눈, 코, 윤곽성형까지" [The man plastic surgery of the grooming male during the vacation such as eye, nose and contour]. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  32. ^ 이, 창호 (2017-09-28). "[트렌드줌인] 추석선물 인기 '남성화장품', 화장하는 '그루밍족' 확산?" [Popular for Chusok gifts: 'Men Cosmetics' and make-up 'Grooming male' spread?]. Daily Pop (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-11-26.