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[Weekender] Booming market for men’s skin care

Participants try an instant moisture mask during a grooming class hosted by Lab Series. (Lab Series)
Participants try an instant moisture mask during a grooming class hosted by Lab Series. (Lab Series)

Korean men in their 20s and 30s are more interested in skin care ― the various products and treatments ― than anywhere else in the world, according to skin care product manufacturer Estee Lauder.

“Healthy skin allows an individual to make favorable impressions on others while also providing that extra sliver of confidence, which are both important in this contemporary society driven by fierce competition,” Lab Series communications manager Kim Jung-sook told The Korea Herald.

Changes in lifestyle are another reason Korean men are trying to take better care of their skin, according to the manager.

“As the amount of time spent on outdoor activities is significantly increasing, men are becoming more vulnerable to skin trouble, which can be a major concern,” she added.

Lab Series is a leading skin care brand owned by a New York-based company that only targets men.

The brand offers a diverse lineup of products that range from toners and essences to BB creams and moisture masks.

Despite the growing number of products available for men, many still do not have the proper know-how to put them to good use. And most still find it slightly embarrassing to openly visit a cosmetics corner, according to the manager.

That is why Lab Series has been hosting special “grooming classes” for men in order to provide them with knowledge about their skin and teach them the correct ways to use skin-care products.

“Although many men actually own cosmetic products, either as gifts or by personally purchasing them, the majority do not make efficient use of them,” said Kim.

“Our grooming classes aim to provide valuable information so that men may be able to maintain sound and healthy-looking skin,” she added.

The hour-long classes, offered four times a year, consist of a lecture for better understanding the skin followed by demonstrations and practice sessions to show how to use the products.

Lab Series invites roughly 25 to 30 people per session ― mostly in their 20s or 30s ― from among those who sign up through the official site or its Facebook page, and primarily helps participants determine their skin type.

“Most men believe they have oily skin, but this is a false assumption. Men, too, can have dry, normal and sensitive skin types so it’s important that they choose products that are right for them,” explained Kim.

She added that many also believe that cosmetics for women are better, yet they are merely different.

Kim says that because men already have oilier skin, they need products that have lots of moisture and better absorption.

Men also have thicker membranes, less moisture and larger pores than women, according to skin care specialists and dermatologists.

Experts advise that it is crucial to wash off dead skin cells as thoroughly as possible.

They also say that, especially for men, shaving can leave small cuts that must be treated in a timely fashion to avoid the risk of infection.

“Above all else, because it can be quite difficult for damaged skin to heal, more men are beginning to realize that it is better to get into the habit of tending to their skin early ― for the sake of prevention,” Kim said.

“A tiny bit of care is all it really takes.”

By Kim Joo-hyun (