Men's Make-up Focus

The first rule of men’s make-up, is you don’t talk about make-up


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The first rule of men’s make-up, is you don’t talk about make-up

Related tags Cosmetics

Vocabulary and communication are very important aspects in helping men’s make-up gain popularity as the segment begins to grow in Europe, and with so few players in the market, there is an opportunity for further growth.

These are the views of Mintel’s senior beauty analyst Emmanuelle Moeglin, who spoke with, having carried out research on the best way to approach make-up for men.

When many men hear the term ‘make-up’, the mind is cast to mascara and lipstick and eyeliner, and of course this is true, but it is also the reason the word ‘make-up’ should not be used when discussing the men’s variety.

Emmanuelle Moeglin corporate picture
Emmanuelle Moeglin speaks to

“When it comes to men’s make-up, there is a vocab problem,”​ explains Emmanuelle. “When talking about men’s make-up, don’t mention make-up.”

This is because the word has connotations that can be negative for men, who still want their toiletries and grooming products to retain a sense of ‘manliness’.

Asia influence

The men’s make-up market is most popular in Asia, particularly in South Korea and Japan, but even there the market focuses on ‘manly’ products rather than the traditional colour make-up.

The market can therefore take inspiration from the women’s category so that make-up becomes skin care and vice versa, and Moeglin says this is the way to success in the men’s category.

“Men aren’t yet ready for make-up, but there is certainly potential for hybrid skin care products that feature some hidden cosmetic benefits,”​ she tells

“BB creams are an interesting one for men as they are multifunctional, and men like an all-in-one product.”

In Asia the products that have been a success have been the creams that incorporate smart pigments that blend into the skin, acting as a foundation or cover-up but taking the form of a moisturiser or skin care product.

Gap in the market

Emmanuelle says that western brands can take inspiration from this and similarly launch multi-functional creams that contain moisturising, anti-ageing, anti-pollution, correcting, as well as ‘hidden’ tinted benefits.

“In Europe there has definitely been a switch towards men’s make-up and multifunction,”​ she continues.

“The use of BB cream in the UK in particular, has doubled in the last 2 years with 6% of men saying they use them, and 12% of young men (aged 25-34 – the key audience) having used them.”

The only thing is that right now there are not too many players in this field. L’Oreal is coming to the party with its Men Expert and Biotherm Homme ranges, while Tom Ford and Jean-Paul Gaultier have a history in the market; however the pool is relatively small.

“There are not many products available just for men,” ​says Moeglin. “There is a gap in the market here – the demand is higher than the number of products available.”

Extension only – for now

In many ways this is similar to the men’s grooming market as-a-whole, which has a small number of players doing very well, but there is still a lot of untapped potential.

For this reason, the men’s make-up category should not run before it can walk, according to Emmanuelle.

“It is important that industry don’t, and it won’t, react too fast. Essentially make-up is an extension of the men’s grooming category. It is too early to be anything else,” ​she adds.

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