Former baseball professional Alex Rodriguez is not your typical makeup client. Heterosexual, Gen X, and traditional male, he may be one of the last celebrities you would want to launch a beauty product.
And yet, last week, he did just that.
At a new event for men’s health brand Hims, ARod launched its new concealer “Blur Stick,” which was described in the press release as a “skincare solution specially developed for men.” The product is available in eight different shades and is packaged in a gray tube the size of a lipstick. The product is also shaped by the star, who was one of the first to invest in Hims.
In a series of low-key promotional photos, ARod, dressed simply, looks in the mirror in an uncomplicated room and applies concealer to his cheeks. Unlike the usual publicity for celebrity beauty conferences, this publicity event feels almost deliberately ordinary.
It gives the impression that applying makeup is a simple, unremarkable part of the star’s daily routine. And for a growing number of men like ARod, it is.
In the West, people’s interest in men’s makeup appears to be growing, especially among Generation Z consumers. A survey by research firm Morning Consult in 2019 found that one-third of American men under the age of 30 years would “consider” using it. Men’s lifestyle retailers like Mr Porter and Mankind now have dedicated cosmetic categories on their websites, providing a degree of anonymity for first-time shoppers.
Porter launched a makeup product on her website with Tom Ford Beauty Eyebrow Gel in 2017, and since then it has been reported that demand has continued to grow. This success allowed the retailer to start selling a dedicated men’s makeup line last year, the “War Paint for Men”. The website now has more than 39 makeup products from seven brands. Purchasing director Sam Kershaw said in an email interview: “This is one of our fastest growing categories this year.”
Kershaw added that people’s interest comes from “a wide range of age groups.” Porter’s men’s cosmetics sales have increased by a third in the past year. He said this is due in part to changes in people’s attitudes towards skincare products and an increased awareness of anti-aging products.