Batra now drops a beauty video regularly. The idea: to make it gender-neutral. “I recently received a DM that said, ‘I used to hate your beauty videos initially, but I tried some things and they made me feel amazing and more confident,’” he says.
Social media is veering the men-and-makeup conversation from why to why not. It is helping content creators, too, to test waters.
Mumbai-based lifestyle influencer Shakti Singh Yadav was admittedly hesitant to talk about makeup so as to not alienate his followers. Early this year, he made an “enhance your eyebrow with a spoolie” video on TikTok and it went viral. He released a makeup collaboration video in June on his Instagram. He says, “To be honest, the response has been 50:50. But it’s also 2020 and acceptance is growing.”
Brand expert Harish Bijoor says gender is on a quiet and quick erasure mode.
In the West, social media makeup stars like Patrick Starrr (who launched his beauty brand One/Size this week), Manny Mua and James Charles have man-aged to find acceptance and commercial success with brand tie-ups. The rising aspiration among Indian men to look better can be evinced by the growth of men’s grooming market.
According to an Assocham report, the Indian male grooming industry was Rs 16,800 crore in 2018 and is expected to touch Rs 35,000 crore in the next three years. Men in the age group of 25-45 years spend more money on grooming and personal care products than women. A Mintel February 2019 report reveals that the average Indian man spends 42 minutes every day on grooming, with men in metro areas spending 61 minutes.
Mintel research also found that 22% of male consumers aged 18-34 years follow a social media personality. Bijoor notes that the lowest common denominators of male grooming are fairness cream and moisturiser; a bit higher is the corner barber shop and higher still is the men’s spa. He adds, “Spanning every category is the social media beauty and grooming influencer. This is one-on-one yet anonymous — a potent combo for a man too shy to admit that he is looking for grooming tips.”
Mumbai-based makeup and hair expert Clint Fernandes says, “Traditionally, men in India have used makeup and adornments. The online availability of makeup has helped them buy their own without any embarrassment.” The pandemic too has made it popular, thanks to Zoom calls. Samir Modi, founder, Colorbar, says, “Makeup — at least concealers and foundation — have become par for the course.”
Concealers, tinted lotion and lip balms come under male-specific makeup. Fernandes adds, “Unlike women beauty bloggers who use complicated contouring, too many products and tools, men have simplified the process.”
Modi notes that while skincare, hair-care and grooming products have gender-specific variants, most colour cosmetics aka makeup products are gender-neutral. To expand more choices for men, Colorbar plans to introduce 33 new shades of foundation in the next two months and add more offerings in their menswear range REM. Pigmentation, ageing and blemishes are top concerns for men.
Mumbai-based model and actor Jason Arland has been doing makeup tutorials and agrees that there’s a slight shift. “Not throwing shade but why is it that when a straight boy does something, everyone is all praise like ‘comfortable in his own skin’ or ‘so fluid’. We need to make it normal for everyone,” he adds.
Arland, who is averse to calling himself an influencer, says, “Taking care of your skin and wearing makeup to look good are another form of self-love and self-care.” Delhi-based lifestyle influencer Abhinav Mathur says the change has been in the offing for a good five years. He says, “Now, it’s as normal for guy friends to exchange skincare and grooming routines as women. When I put out my first beauty video (two years ago), I expected responses like, ‘Dude, that’s so girlie’, but instead I got DMs on ‘How to pick the right concealer!’” Mathur adds that the insecurity stems from lack of knowledge: “The more content is out there, the more questions will be answered.”
Mumbai- and Colombo-based grooming specialist and content creator Riaan J George says the Indian man is already conscious about grooming, and the awareness has trickled down from tier-1 cities to tier-3 towns. The big shift, George feels, is that men now want to learn the finer points of looking good. He says, “There’s a huge market for male beauty content in Hindi and regional languages.”
Thanks to Instagram, the potential beauty customer is consuming a diet of beauty videos and selfies. Yadav says the audience wants to experiment with looks — beauty or fashion.
Batra adds, “The consumer base is bigger than the offerings.” Makeup is no longer a marker of masculinity.
Arland says, “Beauty has no rules, there are no limits. And in the end it all comes off.”
MAKING OF A GOOD-LOOKING MAN
Male Grooming Market in India
Rs 16,800 cr in 2018
Rs 35,000 cr* in 2021 (*Expected)
Segment includes Bath & Shower, Haircare, Skincare, Deodorants, Shaving
Shaving and face account for over 50% of the pie
Source: Assocham Report 2018, Research & Markets.com
If you have 50,000+ followers, you can earn Rs 1-2 lakh every month
Single collaborations start at Rs 60,000
WHAT MEN CAN STOCK UP ON
MOISTURISER AND SUNSCREEN:
Use sunscreen even at home
BB OR CC CREAM:
CC stands for colour correcting and BB creams are lighter foundations
Takes care of dark circles, blemishes
Keeps skin oil-free
Takes care of patchiness in beard and moustache
Source: Clint Fernandes, celebrity makeup artist