UK-based Shakeup Cosmetics was founded in 2018 by Beijing-born twin brothers Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu who observed a gap in the market for male-friendly make-up products.
“This industry is heavily targeted at women… As a guy, trying to find skin care, let alone make-up is very daunting and very difficult. You have to overcome that hurdle of asking for help in department stores, not to mention the 52 shades you have to try and select from,” said Xu.
Just like women, Xu believes the skin and beauty needs of men are potentially just as diverse.
“There's no straight answer, not a single answer because I think just like women, guys are looking for skin care and cosmetic products for different purposes.”
Like many men’s cosmetic brands before them, Shakeup initially targeted a younger crowd but was surprised to see a more diverse age range responding to their products.
“What surprised us the most was the age trend. Initially, when we launched, we thought we would have the younger generation, the LGBTQ community… But what we have found was that apart from that predicted group, we do see a lot of guys over 45 and 50 looking for our products. I guess when you get to that age, you want to hold on to your youth a bit longer – and that’s only human nature.”
In the Chinese market, the brand has been going toe-to-toe with heavyweight brands like Chanel and Tom Ford, further validating the company’s mission.
“We were not expecting things to move that fast and it was a great validation of this market and it proved our concept. It’s was nice to know that yes, there are guys that need our products, we haven’t been delusional to think that, we’re not alone. That was a great, great feeling,” said Xu.
While many have placed their bets on men’s cosmetics boom for several years now, Xu for one does not believe that the moment has yet to come.
“I think it's because of the number of brands that dared to go into this category, were not enough to get to that critical mass where you can tip the balance.”
However, he believes that we are “on the cusp” of the fabled boom and that the time is ripe for the category.
“The social mindset has changed in recent years. I think it started from the #MeToo movement where toxic masculinity and the toxic view of what a man supposed to behave like, has been challenged.”