News and Commentary

National Drug Store To Sell Line Of Make-Up For Men
Man Applying Eyeliner Against Gray Background
Ilya Sereda/EyeEm/Getty Images

CVS, the largest drugstore chain in the U.S., has announced that it will add a men’s cosmetics line from Stryx to some 2,000 stores, lending credibility to the notion that makeup for men is going mainstream.

Men’s make-up has long been sold in high-end stores, but adding the products to about a quarter of CVS stores nationwide will make the products more accessible and more affordable.

“Men’s grooming has seen incredible growth during this stay-at-home period,” CVS said in a statement. Putting Stryx products on the drugstores’ shelves is a move to cash in on that trend and provide what the company’s top executives think are products for which there is a demand. “Men are a top customer focus at CVS Beauty,” the company said in the statement.

The Stryx products strike a masculine tone in advertising.

“Even though Stryx is pitching a product traditionally made for women, its presentation is stereotypical male,” the Chicago Tribune reported. “The packaging is black, grey and dark blue. The concealer tool is pitched as sleek and discreet and could be easily be mistaken for a black pen, clip included. A photo on Stryx’s website rests the makeup on a wooden desk, next to a leather-bound notebook and rocks glass half-filled with booze. A slogan reads: ‘Handsome made easy.'”

“We didn’t just take a women’s product and slap a ‘For Men’ label on it,” Stryx says on its website. “Our products are meticulously formulated for male skin.”

The products don’t intend to make men pretty, the company says, but rather allow them to hide their flaws. “You don’t roll out of bed looking your best, but by the time you leave home you should be. Product 01 is a sleek, discreet, and simple-to-use Concealer Tool that effectively hides any zits, under-eye bags, dark circles, razor burn, scars, and more,” the website says.

On the other hand, some are looking for something different. The Tribune points to one such potential customer, Max Belovol:

The 23-year-old grew up wearing dazzling eye shadows and foundation for figure-skating competitions, but didn’t become truly comfortable with wearing makeup during work until the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s a Zoom effect,” said Belovol, a law student based in Atlanta, who prefers concealer and its subtle look. “People don’t have to worry about how they look at work. You can paint your nails, and nobody on the Zoom call is going to know.”

Belovol is part of a growing shift — about one third of U.S. men under 45 said they would consider trying makeup, according to a survey by Morning Consult in September. Chalk it up to quarantine boldness, like Belovol, and the continued evolution of traditional masculinity that has already created a $9.3 billion U.S. men’s grooming and skincare market.

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