Korean Men And Make-Up

I believed a hyped lie before I moved to Asia, and that lie was that most men wear beauty products as casually as women do in South Korea. The strange thing is that all I felt was a sense of excitement. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that hiding a few blemishes with concealer or foundation makes a man any less of a….well, a man.

message.Maybe I’m just one of those strange girls attracted to extremely metrosexual men, but I really don’t see anything wrong with men wearing make-up. Unless, of course, he begins to use my make up. Then, we’d have a problem. However, if he had his own make up bag full of his goodies and pinky swore never to use mine, I think I’d enjoy having a boyfriend who put as much thought and effort into his appearance as (some) women do.

So, before I made my move to Korea I had read all these articles and seen a bunch of ads on Korean sites like Soompi that stated men wear make up. Most of the ads were for skin products like BB creams and powders. I never saw anything for eye liners and lip gloss. It was marketed simply as a way to have flawless skin, and my god did those K-pop stars on the ads have nice skin! Their perfectly smooth faces were even better than mine.

I braced myself, preparing my eyes to see men sitting in cafes as they pull out their compact for a quick pat of powder on the nose. I even half expected to have to fight off a few forward thinking men in the aisles of beauty stores for the last tube of my favorite Tony Moly BB cream.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I landed in South Korea and didn’t see a single man with that dewey skin that can only be obtained with BB cream. “But the..the..the blogs I read told me that men would wear make up!” I pouted.

Blogs like Daily Caller wrote interesting pieces on how strict gender roles are embedded  in South Korea to allow for a softer male who pays attention to the clothes he puts on his back and his skin care routine.

While Korean males do have a style all their own that their western counterparts might consider “feminine” or girly, this does not mean that men’s beauty products have become the norm in Korea. Even Flower Boys refrain from slathering on beauty products each morning before heading out to work. Instead, these guys make sure their skin care routines are perfected so that they never have to worry about make up in the first place, which I suppose makes perfect sense.

So, why are there so many beauty product ads featuring gorgeous males? As far as I have learned, the ads with beautiful male soap opera stars and pop idols are actually advertising women’s make up. Sounds a bit strange for a male to demonstrate what a make up could do for a women, but then again I didn’t go to school for advertising, and I’m guessing by the immense success Korean beauty chains have gained worldwide, they’re the experts. And they’re definitely doing something right. Oh, and a little tip: if you see a nice new compact or lipstick with a male on the ad, chances are the product is for women, so you can buy it with no worries that it’s infused with whiskey or that it might make you grow whiskers.

So, now that you know the truth about men and make up in South Korea, what do you think? Would you date a male that wears make up? Tell us in a comment below! We’d love to hear! And to learn more about Flower Boys, check out my article on the cute guys in Korea here.

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