How TikTok Threw the Male Beauty Market into the Highlight

March 28th, 2023 by

It’s not new news that TikTok plays an incredible role in whether a brand or product becomes popular—especially with Gen Z consumers. Every week there’s a new hot product making the rounds, influencing users in their thousands to rush and make a new purchase.

A particular consumer profile TikTok has been influencing heavily is male beauty shoppers. The male beauty market has grown rapidly over the past few years, and is estimated to be worth $110 billion by 2030.

Insights from GWI showed that beauty and cosmetics have been the fastest interest within male consumers, increasing by 21% in just three years. Interest really peaked during the first COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020, while TikTok’s user base was growing at an incredible rate.

During early 2020, easy skincare was all the rage on TikTok. People had more time on their hands through working from home, being furloughed, or having school/university postponed, meaning they could put their efforts towards something not previously considered—in this instance, skincare. TikTok created a wealth of beauty and skincare content, offering in-depth and beginner friendly tutorials and breakdowns on skincare, hair care, and grooming.

Male-centred beauty hashtags have made a splash on the platform. The #mensgrooming hashtag has over 1.7 billion views, and #mensmakeup has over 351 million.

@luke.corbett Blushin pt 2 #mensmakeup #beauty #blush #grwmmakeup ♬ Satellite speed audio – 1D Audioz

Men in beauty isn’t a new concept, but it’s gradually filtering down to become a daily norm for many men. TikTok has helped break the gender stereotypes down, reducing the restrictions men previously felt towards beauty, and has paved a new path for self expression.

On the platform, there are countless videos of men sharing their “undetectable boy beats”, which is essentially no-makeup makeup. Many men have shared their thoughts on makeup, and how it helps them feel more confident by hiding any skincare concerns they have.

In addition to skincare, and natural-finish beauty products, men have also become more interested in traditionally feminine beauty products. With the rise of different aesthetics, including e-boy and indie sleaze, there’s been a significant increase in male-beauty content around eyeshadow, eyeliner, and nail polish.

@dthekorean Would you put blood on your face? 😏 #korean #kbeauty #koreanskincare #chemicalpeel #Skin1004partner #skincarehacks #skincaretips ♬ Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra

Popular male skincare TikToker David Kim proposes that the rise of male beauty and grooming stems from the commonplace of social media. With the selfie-culture and aesthetically-focused content prevalent on social media, men have become more aware of their appearances than previous generations, and are directly confronting their insecurities with beauty, skincare and grooming.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen male-focused beauty and grooming brands burst into virality thanks to TikTok. Due to many men working from home, they have been able to experiment with skincare and makeup with time and privacy they haven’t previously had.

@stryx_official Reply to @_quantreau 🦈 #sharktank #mensmakeup #mensskincare #beautyindustry #mensskincareproducts ♬ Low Down – venbee & Dan Fable

Jon Shanahan, co-founder of male cosmetics and grooming band Stryx, bases a large portion of the brand’s success on the disruptive nature of the brand. He informs that the best performing videos are those that show a masculine-presenting man putting effort towards their appearance, and it’s this shock factor that helps the brand stand out.

He also states that his top performing videos are GRWMs when he has a moustache. He believes the juxtaposition of a masculine moustache combined with makeup catches people off guard, resulting in longer view times and higher engagement.

As social media and TikTok continue to battle the social constraints against male skincare and beauty, we expect to see more creators and brands continue to show men that skincare, cosmetics and grooming are their friends and can offer them a boost of confidence.

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