Over the past few years, makeup gurus like Manny MUA, Patrick Starr and James Charles have become huge YouTube sensations. Once a female-lead phenomenon, their YouTube success has helped launch these men into the world of brand deals and modeling. With beauty becoming less gender-specific, many luxury brands are coming to realize that makeup for men is huge market worth considering.
In September, Chanel released their first collection of men’s makeup in South Korea and will be offering these products in boutiques internationally as of January 2019. Their existing handbag and unisex fragrance line has entering the multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry of makeup. Chanel explained, “By creating Boy de Chanel, its first makeup line for men, the brand reaffirms the ever-changing codes of an unchanging vision: beauty is not a matter of gender, it is a matter of style.” The brand knows that diversity is part of the current zeitgeist, but they are by no means alone in this trend. Tom Ford, MMUK and Clinique have recently introduced ranges marketed specifically for men as well.
However, this trend has long been in the making. Jean Paul Gaultier tried to launch a makeup line for men in the ‘80s, but quickly failed. Nobody seems to be interested in makeup for men that was advertised in a conventionally masculine mode at that time. Also, it took time for men to discretely wearing makeup at all. Now, it seems Gen Z has adopted more of a disinterest in rigid gender identity and wants makeup to be for everyone.
In 2016, James Charles was appointed the first male face of Cover Girl. This brand is not the only brand taking on a gender neutral role in advertisement. Milk Makeup, Anastasia Beverly Hills, L’Oreal Paris and Giorgio Armani have already been promoting acrogenous makeup. This begs the question: why makeup lines need to be specifically labeled for men? After all, as the male YouTube beauty experts have been showing us for years, makeup indented for women looks just the same on men.
The answer is about consumer experience. While many might consider the packaging and labeling insignificant, others feel more included by makeup specifically advertised for men.
Some men might not feel comfortable buying similar products marketed for women. Also, Chanel’s basic makeup kit comprised of foundation, eyebrow pencils and lip balm makes shopping for makeup easy for beginners, men who might not be familiar all the various makeup products available. This, however, remains part of an ongoing discourse surrounding marketing and the pink tax, or gender-based price discrimination. Some consider male makeup brands more inclusive, but others won’t like the packaging – what matters most is what the customer prefers.
Whatever a brand’s approach is, either making a new line for men or to include more men into their existing line, makeup worn by men is become more accepted and growing in popularity. This is something to celebrate because this means society changing with its shoppers. And what do they want? For boys and girls to be treated the same, with or without makeup. And this is truly something to buy into.
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