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Male skin care and sheet masks part I: Routines “gain momentum”

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Male skin care and sheet mask routines

Related tags: Skin care, Hygiene, Male, Gender

In recent years, the male grooming sector has grown in popularity and frequency throughout Asia. We asked David Tyrrell, Global Skincare Analyst for Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel what pivotal influences are impacting this trend and why "South Korea's male grooming market continues to gain momentum".

Healthy contribution

Introducing or maintaining healthy looking skin is the prime reason males select facial sheet masks — the serum-saturated fabric that expedites the formulation effect into the skin — as part of their grooming routine.

As more and more men are looking to improve their skin’s appearance, an increasing number of Asian males are adopting this product format.

Males are “less engaged”​ than females when it comes to adopting skin care routines, Mintel states. While this may appear to be a disadvantage, it presents marketers and formulators with an abundance of opportunities to connect with consumers through innovative ideas and creative campaigns.

Outside of the niche

Facial sheet masks still remain niche, however, as skin care has not become an essential skin care step in the male grooming routine.

“It's not a daily ritual, but men are using the sheet mask for important occasions such as job interviews or key meetings,”​ said David Tyrrell, Global Skincare Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel.

Brands are now targeting males with bigger sized sheet masks. With the move towards specific male-focused sheet mask attributes in tact, a growing proportion of males are selecting skin care products that can answer their healthy skin-seeking needs.

Male-led ingredients

At present, US and European brands have been slow to offer facial sheet masks. Those that have, are more likely to focus on the female or unisex market, rather than utilising innovative ingredients to suit male skin care.

Clay and charcoal are two main ingredients that are known for absorbing excess oil and sebum — aspects that are likely to affect male skin.  

Attractive additional claims are also enticing more males to develop their grooming routines: “For instance, men are more inclined to choose masks that control sebum; so charcoal masks are a big draw”​ and “the nose mask is a favourite option for acne control,”​ added Tyrell.

Men are exploring sophisticated skin care routines in various marketplaces in Asia-Pacific (APAC) including Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

On the whole, “men's facial mask usage has increased for all countries over the last year,”​ Tyrrell confirmed.

Function and practicality

Efficiency and time-saving applications are sought-after benefits in both South Korea and in the US.

Multifunctional skin care in the male segment is also a rising trend: “South Korean men also gravitate toward an all-in-one format such as moisturiser that claims to combine a toner, emulsion and essence,”​ Tyrrell went on to say.

The personal care element of male grooming appeals to males in Asia who seek practical and functional routines: “In addition, all-in-one facial cleansers that combine a shaving function and all-in-one shower products for the body and hair are more popular.”

Global research company, Mintel, reveals that the majority of the Millennial male population in the US (58%) opt for skin care products based on functional performance as its practical usage and habitual shopping preferences remain a key driver in purchasing decisions.

However, almost a third of younger US men aged 18- 34 have added an extra step into their skin care routines, while 41% of Millennial men use personal care products to feel healthy, Mintel’s research revealed.

As a result of these trends, Tyrrell emphasises that “it is important to reach out with gender specific messaging that appeal to their interests”​.

On-target advertising messages

Cosmetics and personal care promotions need to be “entertaining, current and once again, targeted”​ as advertising campaigns affect the purchasing decisions of 18% of Millennial men.

In the US, “South Korean beauty brands need to evolve the way in which they communicate the health value of K-Beauty products to the younger US male”.

Tyrrell states that Dollar Shave Club is one brand that has been very effective in engaging the younger US male in grooming regimes by adopting a fun and entertaining voice.

As this is proving successful “why not apply a similar approach with K-Beauty for Millennial men in the US?”​ Tyrrell asked.

The second instalment of this article, which will further outline the differences in skin care habits and sheet usage between Asian and US consumers, and provide insights into how brands can tackle this, will be published on Tuesday 15th August.

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