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BizTrend: Cosmetics makers to market men's cosmetics.

TOKYO, July 8 Kyodo

Cosmetics manufacturers are starting to market cosmetics for men, believing that the economic recovery will encourage men to ''invest'' in their faces.

Shiseido Co., the largest cosmetics producer, began selling 14 kinds of cosmetics for men, called ''Shiseido Men,'' at major department stores across the country in May.

The cosmetics, including face lotion and liquid foundation, sell for 2,100 yen -7,350 yen.

With the famous soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata as a model, Shiseido is offering ''men's face caring'' in a strategy to encourage men in their 30s and over to purchase its products.

Shiseido is also posting counselors on the sales floors at department stores to give advice to men.

''The number of men who feel better because they care about their faces is increasing. They now feel less resistance to cosmetics,'' said a man in charge of sales.

Mandom Corp, the top manufacturer of men's cosmetics in Osaka, is scheduled to market face-caring products in August, anticipating that demand for them will grow in the future.

On the other hand, Kose Corp. is taking a cautious attitude toward selling relatively high-priced cosmetics. Its subsidiary will begin selling a 399-yen facial cleanser and others at drug stores in July.

Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. said it has no plan to market new products this summer.

As the previous boom in men's cosmetics in the mid-1980s was short-lived, some of the manufacturers are hesitant to actively enter the field.

An official at a cosmetics company said, ''Deep-rooted among men is a consciousness that cosmetics are for women. We don't expect the market to grow.''

In 1967, Shiseido put on the market MG5, the first cosmetics brand for men. In the mid-1980s, cosmetics gained popularity among young men, bringing the ''first face-care boom.'' But the boom did not last.

According to Fuji-Keizai Co., a survey company in Tokyo, the men's cosmetics market has been sluggish since 1997. The market was worth 189 billion yen in 2003.

But an official at a cosmetics company pinned hopes on possible interest among young men saying, ''Recently, ordinary boys in their teens have been buying cleansing pads.''

A Kose survey said 45 percent of men in their teens and 20s are using cosmetics to make them look smart, while 31 percent said they are using them to attract the opposite sex.

Fusako Mitamura, a writer well versed in the cosmetics industry, said, ''The baby-boom generation paid attention to their appearance before marriage, but once they got married, they paid less attention to that because leadership was taken away by their wives. Young men won't use cosmetics when they grow older.''
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jul 12, 2004
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