Alice Li
Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst.

Considering the negative impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ financial confidence, men’s facial skincare growth in China is predicted to be further lowered to 4.2% in 2020.

In fact, the men’s facial skincare market has embarked on a journey of growth transformation, with male consumers polarising. Some men have started to expand their routines with a wider range of facial skincare products, from facial masks to suncare products. Mintel data shows that in 2020, Chinese men use 2.3 types of facial skincare products on average, up from 1.7 types in 2017. Here is the potential to encourage men’s usage with skincare bundles that include a range of different products.

However, a growing proportion of men are still struggling to understand the need for facial skincare and have dropped out of the category over the past few years. The percentage of men who have not used any facial skincare products in the past six months has increased in the past three years, from 12% in 2017 to 21% in 2019 and 25% in 2020. 25-29-year-olds and tier-one city consumers are more likely to stop using facial skincare products. This indicates that some men still take facial skincare as a dispensable and optional category; they do not think it is necessary to use facial skincare products and just drop out after a few trials.

In fact, men are known for being functional-driven when it comes to skincare. To improve skin condition and solve skin problems have been important reasons driving men to use facial skincare products. The pandemic created the opportunity for the market – wearing a face mask in public has become the new norm for Chinese consumers since the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Mintel’s COVID-19 China tracker, more than nine in 10 of respondents claimed they wore a mask when going out in February, and this habit has maintained with no signs of abating till July. Therefore, facial skincare products need to factor in the impact of wearing face masks on the skin. Innovations could focus on minimising skin chafing and acne/breakouts caused by wearing face masks for prolonged periods or making the wearing of face masks more comfortable by using essential oils.

Recently, BASF launched its Men’s Revolution concept, which echoes with this trend as well. The concept consists of two sub-lines paired with two types of formulation technology that cater to different groups of men. Introduced with Cool Quench Technology, a polymer-based hydrogel system that delivers physical cooling effect, the first sub-line of products stick to basic skincare routine with 1-3 products (mainly cleansers, toner, moisturizers) suited for those who seek a convenient dose of cool freshening. The second sub-line explores a wider product range including serum, sunscreen and color cosmetics formulated with the latest DreaMatt’ic Technology, which provides intensive mattifying effect and light-as-air sensory upon application. While the sensory and skin benefit differ accordingly, the two sub-lines show similarities in targeting men’s desire for oil control and lightweight feel on the skin.

Here, we spotlight representative products from the Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD) to inspire your product innovation.

More occasions

Some brands have launched day and night cleansing duos to encourage men to use more skincare products.

For day: Nivea Men Oil Clear Brightening Serum Charcoal Mud Cleanser.

For night: Nivea Men Deep Oil-Controlling and Pore-Refining Cleansing Milk.

Format/texture


New men’s facial skincare launches in stick, spray format. Dr.G My Skin Mentor R.E.D Blemish for Men All In One Soothing Stick.

(South Korea, 2020)

The Gruff Stuff The Spray On Moisturiser.

(Germany, 2020)

Multi-purpose and category blurring

Combines toner, lotion and essence for men’s skin, delivering whitening and anti-wrinkle functions. Donginbi Red Ginseng Homme Power All-in-One Fluid (South Korea, 2020).