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Top Five Male Makeup Movement Trends


Eyebrow tattoos, celebrity game changes, and blending gender norms are shaping the male beauty industry. Driven by famous beauty brands, the new trends are defying conventional male makeup stigmas, while pop idols openly experimenting with makeup highlight how the male beauty scene has evolved to challenge typical notions of masculinity. 

Recent male beauty trends include men wearing nail polish, hair implants, and eyebrows tattoos. Nick Paget, Fashion Senior Strategist at WGSN, recently commented that, “The point about the lockdown is crucial because it took men away from their peers who would’ve been hyper-critical of this stuff,” referring to male makeup trends.

Given this important new shift within the beauty industry, this article will provide an overview of the global market for makeup, before narrowing down on the top five makeup trends for men.

Table of Contents
Makeup global market overview
5 key male makeup trends
Final thoughts

Makeup global market overview

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global makeup market is expected to grow a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%, crossing the US$ 61.4 billion mark by 2029. 

Increasing organic demand, personal hygiene, grooming awareness, natural makeup, and increased disposable income is driving growth in the market. 

North America holds the largest market share of the global makeup market in 2020, followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. However, Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing makeup market due to increased consumer demand for makeup products by men in China, South Korea, and Japan.

5 key male makeup trends

China: Evolving masculinity

An Asian man wearing makeup

China, known for its strong emphasis on traditional societal norms such as masculinity, is experiencing some changes. More men are embracing traditionally feminine activities such as wearing makeup. Younger men are challenging the traditional gender roles and expectations in society.

Part of China’s new makeup movement is “boy makeup” driven by Japanese and Korean pop culture. Male celebrities in the two countries have worn makeup for years with flawless skin that appeals to younger men in China.

The desire to have flawless skin and look presentable has sparked interest in makeup among Chinese men. Beauty brands have quickly capitalized on this new interest and offer makeup products designed for men. 

MINISO, MEN Beauty, KANS, and A-FORTUNE are Chinese brands that have introduced male makeup products and are experiencing increased sales. For instance, A-Fortune has introduced beauty creams and makeup tools for men in response to the demand.

Challenging masculinity: Redefining identities

A man applying makeup on face

Makeup, since its conception, was fronted as a powerful tool of expression, empowering women in their quest to be recognized. 

For men, makeup is a way to break free from traditional societal expectations and pursue individual identities. Male artists are becoming the champions of individual male identity by challenging traditional expectations.

The beauty industry is currently acknowledging the growing demand for male makeup products, and brands are offering gender-neutral products that anyone can utilize, irrespective of gender identity.

Building on the unisex trend in fashion, gender-neutral makeup products are an answer to men seeking makeup options but are weary of societal judgment. 

Men wearing makeup can be stigmatized as weak and may face discrimination. However, the courage exhibited by men will likely propel this trend to full acceptance in the coming years. 

Eye makeup

A man in an eye makeup session

Men’s eye makeup has become common, and its acceptance is skyrocketing. It enhances the appearance of the eyes, adding a stylish touch to a person’s look.

Key sub-trends in male eye makeup are: Smokey eyes, bold liner, natural look, and graphic liner. The smokey eyes trend is the most common and popular, utilizing dark eyeshadow to create a blended, smudged effect around the eyes. It utilizes a variety of colors, with black and gray being the most popular.

Colored mascara is a new trend not as popular as the four major sub-trends emerging from the beauty color trend. Men are experimenting with colored mascara using shades such as green, purple, or blue to add a pop color to their lashes.

According to Google search trends, search interest for the keyword “Men’s Eye Makeup” has been increasing since 2018 to the current state, where the search volume is over 100. The countries with most search interest include Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

Bold eyebrows

A man thickening his eyebrows

Bold eyebrows can be a striking feature on a man’s face, and the quest to be noticed drives this trend. The trend is characterized by a masculine or rugged look that can be achieved through various methods. 

The most common way of achieving bold eyebrows for modern men is by using makeup. Many beauty brands release products specifically designed for men’s eyebrows, such as pencils and tinted gels. 

The trend has been popularized by models and celebrities shaping eyebrows by filing them and making them appear fuller and thicker. Celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, David Beckham, and Henry Cavill are top male celebrities who embrace bold eyebrows. 

Striking bold eyebrows are a notable feature in Superman star Henry Cavill and have captivated interest among male fans.

Natural look

A man wearing a natural look makeup

The natural look trend in male makeup focuses on products that blend easily with the skin providing a healthy-looking, natural complexion. They help hide the use of makeup among men who are not comfortable openly wearing makeup.

The natural look trend utilizes male makeup products such as BB creams, concealers, and tinted moisturizers that help achieve an even tone and cover up dark circles and blemishes. Other products are mascara, eyebrow gel, and lip balm, which enhance and define features subtly.

Natural look men’s makeup provides a great way for men to enhance their appearance and boost confidence without compromising their masculinity or appearing like they are wearing makeup. 

Final thoughts

Male makeup redefines the beauty industry as men experiment with different makeup trends defying societal expectations.

Challenging masculinity, men are becoming bold in their quest to enhance their appearance with even skin tones, covering black spots and thickening their eyebrows. 

The future of the male makeup movement is promising as celebrities embrace their trends, sparking more interest in men worldwide.

Businesses in the beauty industry should take notice of these emerging male makeup trends and stock them in anticipation of increased global demand.

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