|YouTube beauty expert Hunion|
By Rachel Lee
More men are becoming courageous enough to change the country's strict conventions, especially in beauty and fashion, and Hunion is one of the brave ones.
The YouTube beauty expert, whose Korean name is Park Sang-hoon, calls himself a beauty creator who specializes in cosmetics product reviews. He has over 54,000 followers.
"I have always been interested in skincare products rather than makeup tips, which is why my YouTube videos are more focused on the products themselves," Park told The Korea Times last week.
Park was always interested in grooming since young -- he had a dream of becoming a beauty editor after he watched the television program "Get It Beauty" in 2012.
Since then, Hunion began his work on YouTube, posting makeup videos daily for two years.
In Korea, online personalities dominate the industry as consumers spend more time on social media. Online stars -- especially on Instagram and YouTube -- have become powerful enough to replace household names as they know how to convey messages about content and make it attractive.
Hunion was lucky to have parents who supported him in pursuing his career in a society that still has certain stereotypes of conventional femininity and masculinity in fashion and beauty.
"Without my parents, I would not have been able to overcome such barriers and it still remains to break the country's conventions on gender," Park said.
"I am aiming to improve myself as a male beauty creator. Beyond just some content designed to show off, I am trying to inspire some diversification."
Hunion has also tried to fight against restrictions. Negative comments on his YouTube channel hurt him, but his supporters have helped him be proud and more responsible in what he does.
In order to upload three "original" videos three times per week, he usually gets only four hours of sleep a night.
In Korea, an increasing number of men use makeup for self-grooming. According to industry data, sales of men's skincare products have gone up by 80 percent over the last five years. The country, the world's sixth-largest exporter of cosmetics, has a beauty market estimated to be worth about $10 billion, 10 percent of which comes from men's products.
Despite a surge in the consumption of male beauty products, there still exist certain stereotypes of conventional femininity and masculinity in fashion and beauty in Korea.
In Europe, a growing number of brands such as Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford sell makeup designed specifically for men, including "guyliner" eye pencils, bronzing creams and concealers.
Men are less afraid of wearing a tinted skin primer or BB cream on nights out, and some even expertly pluck their eyebrows.