The Straits Times
Published on Dec 10, 2012

Pretty boys and dancing divas give S.Korean cosmetics Asian appeal


SEOUL (REUTERS) - Their skin is smooth, their hair is salon-fresh, and between them they've sold millions of records. Now, they are making it acceptable for young Asian men to buy beauty products.

South Korea's male K-pop icons have been enlisted by the country's cosmetics firms as they try to expand beyond its borders to take on global giants like L'Oreal and Unilever across the continent.

"The male K-pop stars are very good looking and I think the make up helps them look good. So why not me as well?" said Lenard Heng, a 26-year old graphic designer, out clubbing in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

South Korean men spend US$900 million (S$1.1 billion) a year on beauty products, more than a fifth of the global total, research firm Euromonitor says. But even the vanity of a nation is no longer much of a growth opportunity.