Men’s makeup increasingly popular in Japan amid pandemic

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man has makeup applied at the Ikemen Seisakusho salon in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 9.

Cosmetics for men are taking off amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as even middle-aged and older men want to improve how they look onscreen in online meetings.

Major cosmetics companies are offering a full range of products for young, middle-aged and older male consumers, and are also putting effort into makeup advice and other services.

Every month, more than 2,000 people visit Ikemen Seisakusho, a men’s salon in Tokyo’s Ginza district, to receive services ranging from basic makeup — such as shaping the eyebrows, and applying base and foundation — to eyelash extensions in which artificial lashes are glued on top of natural ones. The salon’s name means “a factory to produce good-looking men.”

With more online meetings amid the pandemic, many office workers in their 30s and 40s have started visiting the salon. They said they became worried about their age spots or wrinkles when they saw their faces on a computer screen beside those of other people from the same generation.

“We recommend that customers focus on one point on their faces when applying makeup, such as their eyebrows or eyes,” said salon representative Takumi Tezuka, 47.

To take advantage of the new demand, Shiseido Co. launched a project in October on its online site Watashi+ to introduce makeup for men in their 40s and older. A makeup artist shows visitors how to apply natural makeup tailored to their hair style and skin concerns.

The project is designed to address the concerns of men whose hair has lost its bounce, body and luster, and whose skin has begun to show age spots and wrinkles.

The range of products for young men in so-called Generation Z, who were born between the mid-1990s and around 2010, has been expanded, as many men in this age group are said to wear makeup on a daily basis.

In October, Mandom Corp. launched Gatsby The Designer, a line of men’s cosmetics. It includes eyeliner that emphasizes the contours of the eyes and nose shadow to make one’s nose look higher.

According to research company Fuji Keizai Co., the men’s cosmetics market is predicted to mark a year-on-year increase of 4.3% to ¥157.1 billion this year, and is expected to keep expanding.

“The range of product categories for men’s cosmetics, including makeup and skincare, is expected to expand. It’s necessary to promote sales for each generation,” said Yu Sato, a senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.