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How Gen Z is revolutionizing the Men's Makeup Industry

During lockdown, internet searches for men’s makeup looks increased by 80%

How Gen Z is revolutionizing the Men's Makeup Industry   During lockdown, internet searches for men’s makeup looks increased by 80%

Although the conversation concerning men wearing makeup has largely been taboo in the past few decades, in this new progressive society being built at the hands of Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Z) , men’s makeup is now a multibillion dollar industry. The notion of make up being entirely exclusive to women is being challenged by modern men who think of masculinity in an alternative way. As general perceptions of gender norms and identity continue to broaden with more and more people identifying as gender neutral, this has also opened up and debunked the perception of clothing and cosmetics being assigned for specific genders. 

In a 2019 study recently made in the U.S , about 1/3 of the male population under 45 said they would consider trying makeup. This is not necessarily only about being flamboyant and wearing eyeshadows and lipsticks, but is also in regards to the more subtle aspects such as foundations & concealers. Similar to how with women, there exists a range of different preferences: from those who will put on a full face of makeup, to those who would rather only use a bit of colour, to those who may only use it to hide blemishes, this is the same approach being taken by the new generation for men — do whatever pleases you.

In the past few years we’ve even seen this openness towards cosmetics with men in the public eye, from world leaders and celebrities, some of who are still afraid to admit to wearing makeup. From France’s President Emmanuel Macron who allegedly spent €26,000 on make-up in 2017; to beauty bloggers like James Charles and designers like Marc Jacobs; Pharrell who can be spotted in eyeliner every now and then; Billy Porter who does a full face on occasion; Luka Sabbat who wears eyeshadow on occasion and even ASAP Rocky, Lil Nas X & Fedez who aren’t afraid to get expressive with their nail designs. 

For some reason this exploration of male beauty increased during lockdown with internet searches for “male makeup looks” increasing by 80% in April of this year, according to data from the market analytics firm Moz. In 2019, the global men’s makeup market was valued at $1.14 billion ( a 13% increase in the last 5 years) and analysts predict that this may have doubled during lockdown, and they expect it to reach $5 billion in the next five years.

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The revolution of men’s makeup is unstoppable,  and regardless of what some may think, it is in no way tied to sexual orientation. There are straight men who are wearing concealers to hide blemishes on first dates, as much as gay men who may experiment a bit more with colours, and vice versa. Although this revolution is global, things are of course a bit slower in pace locally in regards to Italy, however things are evidently changing , leading with artists in the music industry like Achille Lauro (who appeals to the Gen Z audience) who often pushes the boundaries of tradition with colourful nails and makeup, and Fedez & Ghali who often get their nails done by Unghie Della Madonna.

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These are subtle moves that result in an effort to redefine Italian masculinity, a topic which we explored in our second digital cover. With public figures like so openly experimenting with the spectrum of male beauty, it has no doubt been influencing the younger generation of men. Many of today’s Italian TikTok boys like the Lapresa Twins are beginning to experiment with the use of nail polish and eyeliners. Hopefully within the next five years, the pace will pick up and Italy will likely be on the same track as America in normalizing men’s makeup.