Seoul - Every morning Chung Yong-Hyen, 35, goes through a daily ritual of applying five skin care products. "I wash with face cleanser, serum booster, toner, moisturizer, and sun screen," he says while being pampered at Amorepacific Spa in downtown Seoul. The lean six-foot tall marketer in public relations visit the spa once or twice a month and spends about $500 every season on various products 'to maintain and take care of' himself.
Chung's lifestyle may seem at odds with the Korean conservative culture in which macho men tend to have dominated the social scene. But the latest numbers show a surprising trend of Korean men striving to look beautiful. Nearly 21 percent of global sales of men's cosmetics, a total of $495.5 million, have been sold here last year, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research firm. That makes Korea the largest market and by far the largest in terms of per population – only 19 million men - as well. The whopping sales figures are expected to increase by 79 percent this year, reaching $885 million, according to South Korea's largest cosmetics company, Amorepacific.