By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
The rise of social media and popularity of selfies means people are being photographed with greater frequency than ever before and for men, that means making more of an effort to look good.
It’s no longer just women dabbing on a bit of bronzer before saying “cheese,’ and major beauty companies are seizing the opportunity to appeal to a new audience.
“Men are realizing they have to be on more than ever,” said Barry Beck, co-founder of Bluemercury, a beauty retailer and portfolio company for Macy’s Inc. (NYS:M) , who spoke with MarketWatch at an event for the chain’s new flagship in New York City.
“Looking good is more than just a suit and a watch,” said Beck.
Social media sites like Instagram (NAS:FB) and Snapchat (NYS:SNAP) , along with online video, television appearances and other on-camera opportunities, are encouraging everyone want to put their best face forward. According to Beck, men are increasingly using items like concealer, bronzer and eyebrow gel.
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Annual sales in the men’s grooming market are currently more than $21 billion, according to data provided by Jim Fosina, chief executive of Fosina Marketing Group. He says there’s a surge in men going to salons for more than just haircuts, with manicures, facials and hair coloring all growing in popularity.
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“Where shaving and hair were always the staple and extent of male grooming, a growing trend among men is a great focus on all components of good grooming and appearance,” he said.
Seeing opportunity, companies like L’Oréal SA (PAR:FR:OR) and Covergirl have selected male beauty spokespeople.
“Social platforms like YouTube and Instagram have helped popularize men’s use of beauty products, enabling the rise of social influencers like James Charles who signed as Covergirl’s first Cover Boy, Manny Gutierrez, signed with Maybelline, and Patrick Starrr,” said Giulia Prati, associate director of beauty research at L2, Inc., a business intelligence firm.
“Major enterprises like P&G (NYS:PG) and L’Oréal that are choosing to back these influencers are betting on the growing diversity in the beauty industry,” she said.
Companies could be betting big, with L’Oréal’s U.K. managing director Vismay Sharma telling the Daily Telegraph that he expects stores to have makeup counters for men within five years.
“[T]wo things are happening: men know they can use makeup and they know what it does when you use it,” he told the Telegraph. “The second thing is that the taboos are going, so between my generation and my son’s generation the taboos are very different.”
Online retailer Asos and luxury brand Tom Ford have both launched a line of men’s beauty products recently that includes items like concealer, beard and brow filler, “manscara” and eyebrow gel, the Telegraph says.
Even with the big names getting involved, most men are still using makeup sparingly, taking a bit from a spouse or partner to hide a pimple or other temporary blemish, according to Larissa Jensen, executive director and beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group.
“The more that makeup continues to lead the way in breaking down boundaries for groups like men, the more popular it may become for men to wear makeup less for ‘covering up’ and more for ‘expression’,” she said.