Back in my younger, headier beauty journalism days, the world of male grooming was a faint little dot on the very large and dominating cosmetics world. Sure, there were men-specific lines, there was the odd company launching a dedicated male brand here and there, but boy have boys blown up of late. Over the past five years or so, the audience for male grooming products has exploded, and what is most surprising is that it seems to be being led by an ever confident male consumer. The savvy marketers are opening their eyes to the growing acceptance of a more self-assured man that isn’t afraid to embrace a beauty regime with both hands. if a man gets a spot, a man is now no longer ashamed to slap on a bit of cover up to hide it. And dry skin? They’d be the first down to the shops to pick up a targeted skincare offering. So what’s prompted this acceptance that being a man and looking after yourself is A-ok?
Well, it’s clear to see that alongside the growing acceptance of male beauty is the stratospheric rise of the male beauty blogger. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat – you name it, men are commanding huge audiences with their make-up tutorials online. Not only that, but global male influencers are breaking down gender boundaries that have previously hindered boys from enjoying the beauty world as they are now.
And it’s happening the world over; South Korean men are boosting the K Beauty trend through their penchant for skin care thanks to the rise and rise of influential K Pop stars being been a catalyst for a more assertive consumer – if the famous faces can pop on a spot of foundation, why can’t the average Joe? And such is the pull of these male influencers, they are not only dominating social media, beauty brands are spending big bucks to harness their popularity in their marketing campaigns. Instagram sensation James Charles, for example, was named as CoverGirl’s first cover boy late last year, MAC’s collaboration with Caitlyn Jenner has no doubt emboldened the transgender community, Maybelline has announced beauty vlogger Manny Gutierrez as a star of its Boss Life advertising campaign and, most recently, Rimmel signed up 17 year old Lewys Ball for its #livethelondonlook ad campaign. In fact, just recently British vlogger Jake-Jamie Ward was snapped up by L’Oréal. In short, male beauty bloggers are blowing up and not only helping the liberation of male make-up wearers, but such is their power that the big guns are harnessing their likeability and, of course, mass social media followings, to promote their own brands.
But it’s the case of the chicken and the egg – what came first? Has the boom in male beauty consumers contributed to a rise in the acceptance of male bloggers, or has the rise in male bloggers allowed a more confident male consumer to come to the fore? Either way, it seems that men are having a moment to shine, and it can only spell success for the confident brands that exploit this growing trend.