According to a new survey by Canadean, nearly 93% of male and female consumers think that men should not wear make-up, and any that do will do so for functional benefits, such as masking skin impurities, rather than for beauty purposes.
“Despite increasing media focus on metrosexuality, male make-up still remains niche and is frowned upon not only by men, but also by women,” says Veronika Zhupanova, analyst at Canadean.
She says this is supported by data from the survey which finds 49% of men do not like men wearing any decorative cosmetics, with 44% of women thinking the same.
Also due to the stigma attached to male decorative cosmetics, Zhupanova says discreetness is vital when men do use make-up.
“This means men will look for products that provide natural-looking results that can be applied in the morning before going to work and last all day without smudging, so they don’t risk being exposed,” she adds.
According to the survey, nearly a quarter of British men's consumption of make-up by volume is motivated by the desire to hide impurities associated with age, such as smoothing out wrinkles to maintain a youthful appearance at work, as they associate youth with confidence, energy and drive.
To make men feel less embarrassed about using make-up, manufacturers should launch products with functional benefits inspired by skin care, such as facial tint that masks acne.
Attitudes and perceptions
However, Zhupanova warns that manufacturers have to remember that the majority of UK consumers will remain conservative in their attitudes towards male grooming, and will limit their acceptance to shaving.
Packaging is also important to make it obvious that the product is targeted at men and different from the overwhelming amount of options there are for women.
This means masculine packaging in bigger sizes and dark or pale colours will make the product more appealing to men.