A Bizarre Glimpse At The ‘Male Makeup Capital Of The World’

According to an AP report from South Korea that I can only describe through my biased Western lens as “completely bonkers,” successful men are spending millions on skin care, slathering on foundation, and penciling in their eyebrows before heading into the office. In “the male makeup capital of the world,” it’s cool for men to labor over achieving perfect skin with various creams and potions, and perfectly normal for them to appear in public wearing powder and lipstick. What a world!

The reasons for the trend seem complicated, but a major inspiration seems to be former South Korean soccer star Ahn Jung-hwan, the leader of the “flower men,” whom the AP describes as “a group of exceptionally good-looking, smooth-skinned, fashionable sports stars and celebrities who found great success selling male cosmetics.” Apparently South Korean men are now constantly barraged with advertising and other media messages “suggesting that flawless skin is a crucial part of any plan to get ahead at work and romance.” (Poor guys, I can’t even imagine what that’s like.)

The story includes an interview with a “tall, stocky 27-year-old insurance fraud investigator in Seoul who starts important days by dabbing on makeup after finishing his multistep morning cleansing and moisturizing routine.” Cho Gil-nam explains, “I can understand why girls don’t like to go outside without makeup — it makes a big difference.”

Where to begin? Makeup can be fun but is also a gigantic drain on your finances, your time, and your self-esteem. The average woman will spend $13,000 on makeup over the course of her lifetime, according to one recent study. A quarter of those women said people close to them would be shocked at how “ugly” they are without beauty products. Another survey of British women found they spend 43 weeks applying makeup over the course of their lives. Many women are so dependent on their “faces” that they say going to work without makeup would be more frightening than a job interview.

So, dudes, take it from the ladies (including the occasionally makeup-free Hillary Clinton): Think very, very hard before you join us on this road.

Photo: Portokalis / Shutterstock.com

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    • Lastango

      Welcome to the last days of Babylon.

      • Lastango

        One other thing: I wonder if these men are part of the culture, in some parts of Asia, of young men (reportedly) dropping out of the cultural norm of marrying women and raising a family.
        How so? Women have a concern when they meet someone who is a bodybuilder or a male model: that it’s always going to be all about him. If these young Korean men are doing something that for similar reasons alienates women , it’s because they no longer care whether or not they appeal to women as mates.
        BTW, disinterest may cut both ways. A survey found that a quarter of unmarried Japanese men and women between 35 and 39 said they had never had sex. The WSJ reported that 36% of young men and 59% of young women aged 16-19 reported being “indifferent or adverse” to having sex.

      • FrancesBean

        While it’s true that Asians (both make and female) are less interested in sex or raising a family (the purported reasons are too many to even get into) I don’t think this has anything to do with that. Historically men have gone through periods where they have indulged in things we might consider ‘feminine’ in modern times. The whole idea of what is and isn’t feminine can change rapidly. Before the early 1900s pink was considered a ,masculine color because it was in the red family whereas baby blue was feminine because it is soft. Purple was also considered more masculine because of its royal association. Men were just as likely to wear lace or other finery before the 17-1800s. In fact no one besides prostitutes and actresses wore makeup regularly before modern times. Women who wore it were considered tarts or fallen women. (History Geek Out alert lol)

      • Lastango

        Oooo…. someone I can talk things over with. If you’re new here, welcome Frances!!!