Japanese men flocking to anti-aging cosmetics

A variety of men's skincare products can now be found on store shelves and featured in special displays, claiming to keep men young by making their faces glow or preventing wrinkles and dry skin.

Men appear to be paying more attention to anti-aging care as they enter middle and old age. The men's cosmetics section in the Isetan Shinjuku department store in Tokyo offers more than 900 products from about 20 European and US brands.

Customers browsing the offerings include not only men in their 20s and 30s, but men in their 40s, 50s and even 70s. At Isetan, sales of men's cosmetics in December were up more than 10 per cent compared to the same month in 2012, an official said. Expensive wrinkle-prevention products targeting middle-aged and elderly men appear to be particularly popular.

US brand Kiehl's sells a 48-gram container of facial cream for ¥4,935, which is about two or three times the cost of many common creams. The product is said to smooth out skin, and is popular among people bothered by blotches and dull skin.

A hot seller at the men's cosmetic section at the Odakyu department store in Shinjuku is "Age R+" from the US brand Lab Series, the store said. It sells for ¥7,035 per 50 milliliters, and contains ingredients to moisten and firm the skin, and give it a healthy glow.

Sales of Shiseido Co.'s men's cosmetic brand "Shiseido Men" grew 10 per cent last fiscal year from the year before. The company said expensive products, including a facial cream priced at between ¥7,000 and ¥8,000, do well among men in their 40s to 60s.

Toru Sakura, who develops men's cosmetics at Shiseido, said signs of aging such as wrinkles and skin folds begin to appear in men at around 30 years old.

"Middle-aged and elderly men are conscious of their looks, and want to make their skin look younger than their actual age. They're behind the expansion in the men's cosmetics market," Sakura said.