Male consumers in Korea are chasing women's market share in the cosmetics category!
Read more in this interesting article from the Los Angeles times.
South Korea's image-conscious modern male has overcome his inhibitions to embrace the benefits of make-up.
The handsome young men walk past each other in the blinding sunlight. Their shoulders lightly brush, and they turn their heads for a closer inspection."Wow, he's got great skin," murmurs one, while the other casually informs him, "It's just that I've changed skin lotion."
The scene is from a television advertisement, hawking what is euphemistically called a "color lotion" for men. Actually, it's a liquid foundation designed, as the ad says, to "cover the imperfections".
Cosmetics merchants in the West still fantasise about the day that men will wear make-up but in South Korea, the future is here.Color Lotion was introduced last year with a lavish advertising campaign starring World Cup soccer star Ahn Jung-hwan - the David Beckham of South Korea. The lotion chalked up $US4 million ($A5.8 million) in sales in the first six months, surprising its manufacturer.Meanwhile, the chairman of one of the country's largest cosmetics companies recently published his confessional memoirs with the title The CEO Who Wears Make-up.
"Why shouldn't men want to look beautiful and take care of their skin?" asked Yu Sang-ok, 70, the head of Coreana Cosmetics. "Especially as they grow older, they have to wear make-up if they don't want to look shabby."In fact, Korean men have been touching up their appearances long before the term "metrosexual" was coined by trend-spotters in the West to describe heterosexual men who willingly spend money on their looks.
Most politicians older than 50 dye their hair. President Roh Moo-hyun and his predecessor, Kim Dae-jung, are distinguished by prominent heads of jet black hair - as is North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, although his regime is sufficiently secretive that one cannot say with certainty whether his hair is dyed.
Kim Min-yoo, an Estee Lauder salesman at a department store here, says that prominent figures have been using make-up as well, but discreetly."It's always existed. Men would wear a little of their wives' or girlfriends' make-up. It is just that now it is out in the open and respectable," said Mr Kim, who wears his hair streaked with copper highlights and admits to applying a little powder and eyebrow pencil on special occasions.Seoul's plastic surgeons, boutiques, hairdressers and cosmetics merchants attract customers from throughout the region.The advertising for men's make-up here features young, girlish models - called "kkotminam", or flower men. But market research indicates that the best customers are middle-aged businessmen.
"We thought this would be popular with teenagers and men in their 20s, but we discovered to our surprise that it was men in their 40s who were most concerned about their skin being rough from the effects of ageing, heavy smoking and stress," said Chong Pu-kyung, who helped develop Color Lotion for Somang Cosmetics.
Until Color Lotion was released last year, men's cosmetics consisted of aftershaves, moisturisers, acne treatments and "whitening" creams, a ubiquitous product in Asia. The very idea of a foundation designed to cover the skin was considered too effeminate to be marketed to men.But the product's success broke through the psychological barriers against real make-up and it has since been emulated by other cosmetics companies.
Somang, meanwhile, is beginning to market its product in China, Vietnam, Mongolia and in Japan, where men's makeup is even more widely accepted.
Captured from the Los Angeles Times
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