Cosmetics manufacturers are starting to market cosmetics for men, believing the economic recovery will encourage them to “invest” in their faces.

Shiseido Co., the largest cosmetics producer, began selling 14 kinds of Shisedo Men cosmetics at major department stores nationwide in May.

The cosmetics, including face lotion and liquid foundation, range in price from 2,100 yen to 7,350 yen.

With the famous soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata as a model, Shiseido is offering “men’s face caring,” aimed at men in their 30s and older.

It has also stationed counselors on the sales floors of department stores to advise men.

“The number of men who feel better because they care about their faces is increasing. They now feel less resistance to cosmetics,” claimed a man in charge of sales.

Mandom Corp., the top manufacturer of men’s cosmetics in Osaka, plans to market face-care products in August, anticipating growing demand.

But Kose Corp. is taking a cautious approach to selling relatively high-priced cosmetics. Its subsidiary will begin selling a 399 yen facial cleanser and other products at drug stores in July.

Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. said it does not plan to market new products this summer.

The previous boom in men’s cosmetics, in the mid-1980s, was short-lived and some manufacturers are hesitant to enter the field.

An official of a cosmetics company said: “Deep-rooted among men is a consciousness that cosmetics are for women. We don’t expect the market to grow.”

In 1967, Shiseido marketed MG5, the first cosmetics brand for men. In the mid-1980s, cosmetics gained popularity among young men, bringing the “first face-care boom.”

Tokyo-based survey company Fuji-Keizai Co. said the men’s cosmetics market has been sluggish since 1997. The market was worth 189 billion yen in 2003.

An official of a cosmetics company said, “Recently, ordinary boys in their teens have been buying cleansing pads.”

According to a Kose survey, 45 percent of men in their teens and 20s use cosmetics to look smart, with 31 percent saying they use them to attract the opposite sex.

Fusako Mitamura, a writer versed in the cosmetics industry, said: “The baby-boom generation paid attention to their appearance before marriage, but once they got married, they paid less attention to that because leadership was taken away by their wives. Young men won’t use cosmetics when they grow older.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.