Male grooming refers to men paying attention to fashion and enhancing their own appearance. This interest has become increasingly apparent in popular culture.
Background and historyEdit
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". 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.
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" 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.
The "woman-like man" has become a new trend in China, where a growing number of young men are interested in makeup. 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 JD.com said that the sales of beauty products for men has more than doubled since 2015. Mask packs, BB cream, and lipstick are popular products.
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.
Types of groomingEdit
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Men are willing to go to the operating room to make a favorable impression.
Men with small wrinkles on their faces, such as around the eyes and mouth, are seeking Botox treatments, such as what women get. Middle-aged men get Botox surgery for skin regeneration and wrinkle removal in the hope of securing a new job.
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. 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.
Contouring injection surgeryEdit
Male contouring injection surgery removes fat from the face and creates clearly defined facial features.
Men are having laser treatments for permanent removal of facial and body hair.
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". In addition, there is the phenomenon of men valuing appearance over ability. People are undergoing cosmetic surgery to make favorable impressions during interviews. As a result of the perception that a change in facial shape improves first impressions, facial contouring surgery is becoming popular across industries.
There has been a growth in corporate gifting to align with the demand for men's grooming products. 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.
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