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CVS adds men's makeup to thousands of stores as the industry begins to boom

The new normal?

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

America's largest drug store chain, CVS, announced this week that it would be adding a men's cosmetics line to 2,000 stores across the country in hopes of cashing in on the growing industry.

For decades, men's makeup consisted of niche products primarily sold in high-end stores, but that is all changing now as interest in male cosmetics has reportedly experienced a recent uptick, especially since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Men's grooming has seen incredible growth during this stay-at-home period," CVS said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News. The outlet noted that the move is part of an overarching strategy to capitalize on market demand for grooming products tailored to men. "Men are a top customer focus at CVS Beauty," the company said.

The company behind the products, Stryx, was founded in 2017 after chief executive Devir Kahan woke up on his wedding day with a zit on his face and had no socially acceptable way to fix it. He became convinced that he had discovered an underserved market — men looking for ways to have better looking skin without the stigma attached.

As such, the packaging for the new products, which are a concealer tool priced at $19.99 and a gel cleanser at $11.99, appears masculine in nature.

"Even though Stryx is pitching a product traditionally made for women, its presentation is stereotypical male," the Bloomberg report noted. "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.'"

The company adds on its website that they "didn't just take a women's product and slap a 'For Men' label on it," rather their products are "meticulously formulated for male skin."

Though not all consumers of male cosmetics are looking for a product so discreet. Take for example, Max Belovol, 23, who, according to Bloomberg, "grew up wearing dazzling eyeshadows and foundation for figure-skating competitions."

While the move by CVS marks the first time that a major chain drug store has begun selling makeup products for men, opinions have been changing about the issue for some time.

Last year, BBC News asked, "is men's make-up going mainstream?" while noting that the male grooming business, valued at $57.7 billion in 2017, was "growing exponentially."

"We're not just talking Nivea; we're talking moisturizing foundation and bronzers, concealers and brow definers — proper cosmetics," the news publication added.

One last thing…
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