Male make-up 2.0: From metrosexual to spornosexual

August 14, 2015
5 min read

As social media plays an increasingly important part of consumers lives, and with many eager not to miss out on capturing the perfect selfie, it is not only women feeling the pressure to look camera ready in an instant. And as different social platforms continue to drive new beauty trends and increase scrutiny over appearance, a new generation of male make-up products are set to gain popularity.

Metrosexuality has moved into the mainstream. As explored in Mintel’s trend Man in the Mirror, taking pride in – and taking greater confidence from – maintaining a well-groomed appearance now defines what it is to be ‘a man’ in today’s society. Rather than being a minority, men who buy grooming products to boost self-esteem or feel more attractive are now the majority.

Indeed, the journalist who coined the term ‘metrosexual’ in the 90s has recently written about the evolution of the metrosexual to the ‘spornosexual’, a groomed male with a bigger focus on perfecting appearance.

Skincare drives male make-up market

While the appeal of guyliner and other male make-up items providing more obvious enhancements failed to gather mass market appeal, a subtler form of male make-up focusing on creating flawless skin can hold appeal with modern men. According to Mintel’s report Men’s Facial Skincare UK 2015, men display a number of complaints about their facial skin, for example acne prone, oily or dull – problems that can all be concealed with make-up techniques.

And as is often true with younger consumers as a whole, young men show higher levels of skin complaints. This group are also more active and engaged in the grooming markets, thus creating the target consumer group for male make-up. Indeed, amongst UK men aged 16-24, 31% have used BB cream in the past year, compared to just under a fifth of UK men overall, indicating an interest in skincare and make-up hybrids.

Social media continues to drive BPC trends

Social media has seen women’s makeup trends kicked into overdrive, with the rise of contouring, strobing and now baking. Parallels are also seen in the male grooming markets, with a particular focus on fitness and body image. This new appearance driven culture has been harnessed by BPC brands, offering a range of products to help consumers create popular beauty and grooming trends.

Indeed there are a number of players in the male make-up market; YSL offer a male variant of their hero product Touche Eclat and fellow prestige brand Tom Ford offers concealing and bronzing products. Brands such as Korres have similarly leveraged their skincare expertise to extend into male make-up and in June 2015 MMUK launched a new men’s make-up collection which focuses on perfecting the skin, bone structure and facial hair, with products including Beard Filler, Concealer and BB Tinted Moisturiser.

Accessible experts encourage product trial

While it may be commonly assumed that female beauty buyers are more influenced by social media, Mintel’s Beauty Retailing Europe 2015 report found that not be the case, with just over a third of UK men agreeing social media posts encourage them to buy particular beauty products, compared to 30% of women.

The popularity of grooming tutorials on Youtube has resulted in a large male audience online; Mintel’s Social Media: BPC UK 2015 report found two fifths of men have viewed BPC content on any blog or vlog in the six months ending April 2015, increasing to just under half of 16-24 year-old men.

Leading the way with male grooming tutorials is Ross Callahan who posts YouTube videos on the channel SkinCareWithRoss, currently ranking over 7 million views and approaching 100,000 subscribers. Meanwhile in 2014 Lynx launched the #HairbyLynx initiative (Twitter and Pinterest), which featured 60-second styling tutorials to help men create hairstyles including pompadour, quiff, short back and side, textured crop, and a slick side part. The campaign was to promote its new hair styling products.

This instant access to experts and tutorials in all areas of grooming has led to an increase in experimentation with products and trends, and can assist male make-up brands in widening their consumer base. Men can buy products and watch tutorials on how to boost appearance in the privacy of their own homes, eliminating any barriers of embarrassment or uncertainty.

The ‘spornosexual’ male places great emphasis on appearance, resulting in a growing consumer base for male make-up products which offer a flawless complexion and enhanced features. And as men increasingly become educated as to what products are out there and how to use them and the market grows, brands can extend into other areas, such as cleaners which effectively remove make-up, as well as male specific application tools, such as blending sponges and brushes.

Charlotte Libby is Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, collating and analysing a wide range of data on the beauty markets, including consumer trends, product sales and new innovations. Charlotte joined Mintel in 2013 as an Analyst across the Beauty & Personal Care and Household sectors and now specialises in Beauty. Prior to joining Mintel, Charlotte held several roles in the UK beauty industry, starting her career at a fashion & beauty PR agency before moving to publisher Bauer Media to work on their women’s magazine portfolio. This range of experience has made her a voice of consumer trends in the beauty industry.

Charlotte Libby
Charlotte Libby

Charlotte is a Global Colour Cosmetics and Fragrance Analyst. Her expertise lie in consumer behaviour, trends and product innovation.

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