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Nagoya dept. store quadruples men's makeup area as industry adapts to gender neutrality

Jazz performer Daichi Kato checks his subtly-brightened skin in the mirror after applying foundation, at JR Nagoya Takashimaya, on Nov. 18, 2022. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- A major department store in this city renovated and reopened their men's makeup section in November, expanding it to four times its previous area. The new section is said to be the largest in central Japan's Tokai region.

    Saxophonist Daichi Kato visited the JR Nagoya Takashimaya department store at JR Nagoya Station and had makeup done professionally there. Kato, who is 39, told the Mainichi Shimbun, "As I approach 40, I've started to notice the bags under my eyes and marks left from shaving," Kato said. "I perform in front of people, too."

    He was surprised by the impact of applying some shading, remarking that it made his face look sharper.

    Four brands popular among beauty-conscious men have opened kiosks in the new space. Sixty brands line the shelves in total, with products ranging from general skin care to colognes to hair removal kits. The space has been designed with white tones for a gender-neutral feel.

    The men's cosmetics industry continues to grow even as women's cosmetics sales have fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth of the market has been spurred by young men conscious about how they appear on social media and businessmen who have more opportunities to stare at their own faces on screens during teleconferences.

    Forty-one-year-old Masanori Ito, a man from the Aichi Prefecture city of Seto, was there to shop for his favorite brands. He said he owns the brand's entire makeup line including nail polishes. "I use makeup when I go out on weekends. On weekdays, I'm too busy," he said, adding that he gets advice from his wife.

    As the beauty industry adapts ever-faster to changing gender norms, the growing market for men's cosmetics continues to draw attention.

    (Japanese original by Atsuko Ota, Nagoya News Department)

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