updated 6 Feb 2010, 05:08
    Powered by
user id password
Tue, Feb 02, 2010
The Korean Herald/Asia News Network
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Korean men discover makeup

Nam Won-chul, a 24-year-old university student, was shocked when he spotted hair wax, a tube of foaming cleanser, powder compact and a hand mirror in his friend's bag.

"He just nonchalantly said that now men need to take care of their own looks too," Nam said.

Though it might yet come as a surprise to some people, more and more men are using makeup. They enjoy not only basic skin care like skin lotion and lip balm but full makeup from creamy foundation bases to smoky eyeliners.

Following the trend, makeup salons for men are gaining popularity.

Loft:D, a makeup studio in Seogyo-dong, western Seoul, which opened last year, is a pioneer in the domain.

"Men are interested in looking good, too. I thought men also had the right to enjoy their life, looking good with cool makeup on," said Kim Doo-ha, director of Loft:D.

For men who are not yet familiar with makeup, the shop prepared a menu which customers can select from, as if choosing a drink at a cafe. The menu, which will continuously be updated, currently has three types of makeup for men - "Basic," "Soft Smoky" and "Real Smoky."

"Basic" simply covers up the blemishes, while "Soft Smoky" adds some accent to the eyes with brown underlines. To get an idea of "Real Smoky," well, think of Big Bang member T.O.P.'s eyes.

But if you are still not so sure which one to get, just inform the makeup artist about the occasion.

"I just tell the artist where I'm headed, for example the club or some important photo shoot, and she fixes me up with the most natural look that fits into the occasion. I usually ask for stronger looks when I'm going clubbing, which makes me feel like I'm dressing up for Halloween," said Shin, 25, a regular customer who visited the shop last Tuesday.

"I spent many years in Japan where it is natural for guys to shape their eyebrows, so putting on some makeup is not weird for me at all. I think men putting on makeup will soon be settled as a culture in Korea, just like how men getting perms did."

Typical male customers to the salons include performers, lecturers, salesmen, those who have important interviews or even blind dates coming up.

"They have specific demands, like 'I want to cover up these blemishes' or 'please lighten up the dark circles under my eyes,'" said Kim.

"Wearing makeup must add confidence to men, like it does to women. A lecturer told me that he gave a far better speech when he wore makeup," Kim added.

Now the shop has expanded its services to women, who get to choose from nine different options.

Women make up about 60 to 70 percent of Loft:D's customers but there are some who bring - or drag - their boyfriends with them. They receive a unique service named the "Couple Makeup Event."

The service includes makeup service for the couple, drinks, snacks and two hours in a private photo studio. A professional photographer takes pictures of the couple once the makeover is finished and the couple can take home a small album.

"Your skin looks so smooth!" a couple exclaimed to each other after getting the makeover. They had stopped by on their way to enjoy some wine at a classic bar nearby.

"He used to look like this back in high school. It would be weird if he says he wants to wear makeup like this everyday, but looking at him now, I'm thinking some more skin treatment on him would be nice," said one satisfied girlfriend, 24-year-old Kim Jwa-young.

Goups of girlfriends often visit the salon to celebrate or commemorate something. Nine 29-year-old women had recently visited to capture the final days of their gorgeous 20s.

"We would like our shop to become a comfortable place where men and women can freely get makeup and hangout. We have lots of customers who became our friends or who became friends with each other. We throw parties every now and then," said Cho Kang-hoon, also director of the studio.

Price for makeup for men ranges from 12,000 won to 17,000 won, for women it ranges from 20,000 won to 30,000 won. Couple makeup event costs 70,000 won. For more information, visit

more: men, make-up
readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.