Dandy is reborn in developed Asian markets

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Male cosmetics market, Japan

Cosmetics that make men appear delicate and pretty are flying off
the shelves while sales of other beauty products in the developed
Asian markets.

Japanese and South Korean men are buying grooming products and services that were exclusively the preserve of the finer sex. Japanese men are going for foundation, eyelash tinting and powdered facial paper, among other non-traditional options, according to a recent Reuters report. One of the stranger products hitting the male cosmetics market in Japan is an eyebrow kit that includes combs, scissors and tweezers specifically designed for use on male brows. Men are buying these unusual products in order to conform to an emerging picture of the ideal man not too far removed from the Victorian dandy. The neatly chizled and high maintenance look has replaced the Malboro man in the land of the Geisha. Reflecting this trend is an average of 13 per cent growth in sales of male skincare products over recent years, according to Mandom Co., a top maker of male cosmetics in Japan. Despite these changes the overall market for male cosmetics remains stagnant in Japan. Sales of male grooming products grew by only 2.7 per cent between 2001 and 2006, according to Euromonitor, partly reflecting a poorly performing consumer market. In South Korea, the male cosmetics market is stronger overall having seen 61.7 per cent sales growth between 2001 and 2006 (Euromonitor) from a relatively small base of $397m. Like Japanese men, South Korean men are also getting in touch with their feminine side at the cosmetics counter, according to a recent report by Chosun. Reflecting the South Korean man's growing interest in beauty products is the launch of a number of men's magazines, focusing on health and appearance issues, over the past year.

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