If you’re still not sick and tired of Korean rap sensation, Psy, and his super catchy “Gangnam Style” song that’s sweeping the U.S., then here’s something even more interesting…South Korea is THE male makeup capital of the world!
Over the past decade, South Korean men have been leading the pack straight to the makeup counter, spending $495.5 million on skin care last year alone, according to a CBS report. That’s nearly 21 percent of global sales, making South Korea the largest market for men’s skin care in the world, despite its relatively small population.
Amorepacific, South Korea’s biggest cosmetics company, estimates the total sales of men’s cosmetics in South Korea this year will be more than $885 million. Amorepacific Corp. offers 17 men’s brands, with dozens of products to choose from, and operates two Manstudio stores in Seoul that are devoted to men’s skincare and makeup.
The metamorphosis of South Korean men from macho to makeup over the last decade or so can be partly explained by fierce competition for jobs, advancement and romance in a society where, as a popular catchphrase puts it, “appearance is power.” Women also have a growing expectation that men will take the time and effort to pamper their skin. Korean Air holds once-a-year makeup classes for male flight attendants.
It wasn’t always this way. The ideal South Korean man used to be rough and tough. Things began to change in the late 1990s, when the South Korean government relaxed a ban on Japanese cultural goods, exposing South Koreans to different ideas on male beauty, including popular comics featuring pretty, effeminate men.
A decade later, ads featuring handsome, heavily made-up male celebrities are an unavoidable part of the urban scenery.
Now men know what women have to go through!