Fast forward to today, and the landscape of male beauty couldn’t be more different, with everything from niche perfumes catering to the most discerning male nose, to skincare lotions targeted to the unique needs of men’s faces, to entire brands dedicated to beards. Oh, and of course, a new throng of makeup brands made with men in mind.
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If you had riffled around a man’s wash bag ten years ago, it would have most likely made for a sorry sight, with a toothbrush, a can of Lynx and an electric shaver seemingly meet the grooming needs of all men circa 2000.
“I have been a cosmetic user since I was a teenager, due to rosacea flare ups and skin blemishes,” confides ShakeUp Cosmetics Co-Founder Jake Xu. “But I struggled to find makeup that suited my needs as a man and knew I wasn’t alone in this fast-growing group of modern men who seek the help of cosmetics in order to look and feel their best.”
Jake and Shane Carnell-Xu, his co-founder and twin brother, tried hundreds of products that were designed for women, but found many of them too dewy or too heavy. “We realised the reason was that, even though makeup should not have genders, our skin does. Men’s skin is physiologically and structurally different to women, therefore naturally, the products we use will need to have taken this into account,” Jake explains. Shakeup Cosmetics launched to offer three carefully formulated makeup products – a concealer, a BB tinted moisturiser and a lip gel (more than a balm, less than a gloss). Ingredients include peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil that helps to brighten and alleviate congestion or in-grown hairs (useful for any shavers).
Then there’s War Paint For Men, which has just launched into the beauty hall of John Lewis Oxford Street as well as online. The brand boasts a comprehensive range of men’s makeup products including bronzer and foundation and concealer. “Self-care isn’t just for women – we know that men. want to look and feel great too which is why we continue to invest in services and products to help them achieve this,” says Charlotte West, John Lewis & Partners Beauty Buyer. The department store has seen men’s styling sales increase by over 150% in the last year, and sales of War Paint products have already exceeded expectations by more than 50%, proving that attitudes are indeed changing.