Men's beauty industry on the rise as stars Harry Styles, Alex Rodriguez launch cosmetics companies

Pop singer Harry Styles is recently rumoured to have launched a cosmetics line, joining the likes of baseball star Alex Rodriguez in the hundred-billion-dollar beauty industry. 

According to beauty trend forecaster Clare Varga, they may be some of the first male celebrities to create beauty lines for men, but they certainly won't be the last. 

"By 2024, there will be a levelling up of the gender split in skincare, as changing grooming priorities and evolving cultural attitudes to masculinity and beauty will see 'proper skincare routines' finally gain lasting traction with men," she tells Newshub. 

Thanks to the likes of male beauty YouTubers including James Charles and Manny Mua, the beauty industry is increasingly becoming more gender-inclusive for a modern audience. 

From 4000 BC through to the 18th century, men all over the world from all different cultures used makeup, whether it be the ancient Egyptians or powdered-faced English kings. 

However, during Queen Victoria's reign in the 1800s, she deemed makeup to be an  "abomination", associating makeup, vanity and femininity with "the Devil's work." 

Makeup-wearing men reemerged on the fringes of pop culture hundreds of years later, with quirky personalities like Boy George, David Bowie and Prince sporting made-up faces. 

In the early 2000's, pop-punk artists like Pete Wentz, Jared Leto and Adam Lambert became case studies for the term "guyliner".

But Varga says the male cosmetic industry in the present day is less about "guyliner" and more about men looking after themselves. 

"[It's] more about concealing any imperfections and boosting men's confidence, especially acute in the wake of the pandemic," she says. 

Varga says that not unlike women, mens' grooming habits have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the long hours spent looking at their faces on Zoom. 

"They were made more aware of how they looked and how their skin looked as they lived video-call saturated lives," the beauty trend forecaster says. 

Varga predicts men's demand for anti-ageing and anti-fatigue products will increase due to pandemic-related stress, with the desire to look younger appealing to men across the globe. 

"In Silicon Valley in the US, the desire to appear younger has created a 'Brotox boom' among the tech community, while in the UK, aestheticians have reported a 70 percent rise in men seeking consultations," she says. 

 Centennial Beauty co-founders Jordyn Christensen and Lauren Meisner point to the launch of Alex Rodgriez's "blur stick", a concealer for men made by beauty brand Hims, as a turning point. Varga says brands are also adapting to change. 

"War Paint for Men's founder set up the brand after he was bullied at school for how he looked, and his range caters for a wide range of skin tones" she says. 

Faculty, a men's-only cosmetic brand, is trying to establish the idea of "third-wave masculinity". 

"There's no way to be you, no one way to be masculine," co-founder Fenton Jagdeo told Hypebeast. 

"The same way that masculinity is evolving, men are being introduced to taking care of themselves.