Jacqueline Oud - Culture

Make-up for Men

Since the publication of my article "Marketing created Man", I have had quite some questions regarding "men" as a special segment for marketing and whether I could give some more references and noticeable trends. I was rather surprised but in fact, the article has become a popular one and I have started to see that "men marketing" and special segmentation is really something coming up clearly. Or should I say "En Vogue".

Body care: the trend is confirmed

When reading about the special male website by Jean Paul Gaultier, I immediately recognised that I had to make this known and that it followed the trend mentioned earlier on. It’s obvious that this website targets only a small part of the "men-iceberg". Nevertheless, more and more men are ready to take care of their body. They are becoming more and more numerous to spend time on it like women do since ages. I think that we can say that from a special phenomenon, today the market of men is clearly becoming larger and more common to all of us.

By the way, make-up has been in the past already for men. Various civilisations are known for their body and face decorations during special events and did not exclude men.

As a result, wanting to look nice and fancy today is no longer restricted to women. Men taking care of themselves is now almost part of everyday life. Look for example in the streets, the new casual shoes - the derived streetwear sport-shoes like Puma - are mainly focused on men it seems. The choice is large and men cannot really complain about what to wear. (Note for women: the annoying part for women is that since men spent more for themselves it leaves less money for presents)

From the business point of view, a new segment to develop is always a good thing. It seems at times even that the flourishing women market may stagnate (even if you don’t have the impression....) and business is there to keep the money rolling.

From Healthcare to Make-up

From common trends like these, I want to focus now on the still today rather eccentric style: make up for men. In body care, men went from after-shave to gel and face masks. The next step is obvious, though maybe shocking for some: make-up. How about lipstick, blush and mascara for men? It all exists and is not only for gay, should you think so.

Jean-Paul Gaultier created a website especially for men and proposes a range of beauty products from bath or douche gel, perfume, after-shave and make-up. Some education seems required, and maybe some convincing too. The trendsetter JPG has taken care of it all. His website for men proposes various videos and demonstrating by men, showing how they put on their make-up. Above all, the videos focuses on how they appreciate it and feel even more good looking and attracting (or should I rather say, how they have really become so indeed)!

Have a look at the website LE MALE by JPG - Jean Paul Gaultier

Today’s men make-up

Make-up for men is not that strange after all and in fact they already use it without noticing. There is not much difference between a day cream, a sun cream and lip-protector on one side and the natural make-up on the other side:

  • The aim is the same: look nice, attracting and “taken care of”
  • The movements are the same: there is no difference in the way you put your lip protection stick and a lipstick

The products may differ, but make-up brands are aware of the psychological step they are about to take and are aware that men make-up most be sober and natural .... at least for the moment. Maybe in a later stage and according to segments, male make-up may become very flashy.

Do you have a present to give?

  • Are you a woman: in case you don’t know what to buy for your friend or relative, you can buy him some make-up and start make-up classes together. Depending on the type of men, verify however if he would feel at ease when you offer this present in front of all his other friends, they may make a laugh of him
  • Are you a man, you can buy make-up for your friend or relative too, especially if you are already using it yourself. If you don’t use it yourself but you are sure that your friend / relative is the type liking to be a trendsetter and interested in this, then of course you can buy some make-up anyhow, he will probably take it as a compliment. Be sure to get well advised in a shop and have it wrapped up nicely.

How long will it take?

How long will it take until all men are using make-up? I have no idea. It can take a long time or it can go very quickly. Bear in mind that the “transformation of men” has started already quite some time ago and that new trends are going quicker and quicker. Ofcourse, the differences still exist between a city and a village and the way the general idea of men has changed and been accepted. Nowadays, body care is becoming integrated and men are more at ease wearing fancy clothes, accessories and buying beauty products. From this point of view, it may go quick. Nevertheless, “beauty salons” are not always willing to accept men as various have had bad experiences with the way men were reacting to the face and health care movements.

Our capitalistic trend goes more and more to the need for eternal beauty and men don’t escape from this movement. This may also be an indication that the make-up for men may move quick. A counter attack exists for this too: voices say that they have enough of the artificial and they want the return to the genuine.

There’s a lot of money at stake, and so are prestige and psychology. I’m no fortune teller, so I won’t predict anything yet. Keep your eyes open and have a look around to see it yourself.

[27 May 2005]


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