Japanese men are increasingly turning to cosmetics and skincare to sharpen up their image, with those in their 40s and older seemingly becoming more conscious about how they present to important clients and customers.

The market grew about 1.7-fold from 2017 to 43.3 billion yen (US$275 million) in 2023, according to major Japanese marketing research firm Intage Inc., as men focused more on how they appear in the video and online meetings that became much more common during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

The use of make-up became more accepted among some young Japanese men in recent years, but the trend has spread to older generations, with spending on cosmetics rising some 1.5-fold among men in their 40s and 50s, the firm said.

In November last year, Shiseido Japan Co. featured actor Takashi Sorimachi, 50, and his wife and actress Nanako Matsushima, 50, in its advertisement for the men’s skincare brand Shiseido Men.

Sales of the brand rose about 60 per cent after the commercial was aired and through early March, attracting men across a broad range of age groups, according to the company.

Yuta Arai, involved in sales strategy of a drink maker under Asahi Group Holdings Inc., took part in a make-up lecture by Shiseido in March which saw him using an eyebrow pencil and eyeliner for the first time.

“I would like to try this when I need to psych myself up for a business presentation,” Arai, 28, said.


‘Lunchtime facelift’: the latest beauty trend in image-conscious China

‘Lunchtime facelift’: the latest beauty trend in image-conscious China

In 2022, a wellness firm under Suntory Holdings Ltd. began selling skincare product Varon which the company markets as both a toner and moisturiser, targeting men in their 40s and older.

Its cumulative sales in two years exceeded 4 billion yen, well above the initial expectations, according to Suntory Wellness Ltd.

As about 70 per cent of middle-aged or older men have yet to experience skincare, the potential addressable market is huge, said an official of the company.