Contrarily to what happens in some Asian countries and despite a growing acceptance of metrosexuality, an overwhelming majority (nearly 93%) of British male and female consumers think that men should not wear make-up. According to a Canadean survey, only 7% of British men and 5% of women think that men should use decorative make-up such as mascara or blusher. “Despite increasing media focus on metrosexuality, male make-up still remains niche and is frowned upon not only by men, but also by women,” said Veronika Zhupanova, analyst at Canadean.
Men look for functional products
However, there is a greater tolerance for men using make-up for other purposes, such as covering acne traces or age spots, with 12% of men and 14% of women accepting this trend. Overall, 7% of British men admit they have used make-up before. Nearly a quarter of men’s consumption of make-up by volume (24%) 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.
Due to the stigma attached to male decorative cosmetics, discreetness is vital when men use make-up. According to Zhupanova, “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.”
According to Canadean, to make men feel less embarrassed about using make-up, manufacturers should launch products with functional benefits inspired by skincare, such as facial tint that masks acne in masculine packaging with dark or pale colours. However, 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.