Yesterface recently asked why more men don’t wear make up, but it would appear that men are, in fact, using cosmetics.
AFP recently reported that an increasing number of Chinese men are buying and using make up (and according to FRIENDS, Japanese men have a penchant for blue lipstick…) Analysts predict that China will account for half of global growth in the men’s skin care market in the 2009-2014 period.
It truly is the age of the metrosexual, or ‘city jade men’ as they’re called in China. Men are evidently becoming increasingly preoccupied with every aspect of their appearance, and the extent to which a man can look good is no longer limited to a flash watch, a crisp suit or a fast car:
“When Chinese men’s income rises, in the beginning, they buy a good watch, then they move on to electronics… then they move to clothes, buy famous brands and finally they move to personal care products,” says Jackson Zhang, vice president of L’Oreal China. “Men believe that using skin care products can give them a better competitive edge for their jobs, or for girls.”
As was mentioned in the debate surrounding Yesterface’s post “Why don’t men wear make up?”, men, like women, are concerned with looking good and therefore employ techniques and buy products which help them do so e.g. fashionable clothes, a good hairstyle, impressive possessions, and even cosmetics.
Make up also seems to be making its mark on Western men. In an article named “what guys really think about make-up” from the April 2011 issue of Glamour magazine, columnist and sports writer Tim Bradley admits: “You’d be surprised how many of us [men] find time for a dab of Touche Eclat in the mornings.”
Women and men have put make up to artistic use over the centuries: the men of Ancient Egypt wore kohl, men during the 18th century tarted themselves up with white powder, blusher and beauty spots, and during the 1970s and 1980s men wore glamorous, dramatic make up as part of the New Romantic movement.
And if you’re thinking that all the above sounds a bit feminine, don’t forget that men have also used cosmetics in a bid to assert their masculinity; Celtic, Māori, Aborigine and Masai tribes each have a long history of decorating their faces.
In light of man’s long and varied relationship with cosmetics through the ages, the fact that make up is, once again, becoming decreasingly gender-specific is hardly surprising – but it certainly is exciting.
Wonder what society will look like by 2020?