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Toronto entrepreneur brings makeup for men to South Korea

Andrew Grella knows most men aren't necessarily comfortable wearing makeup and he's created his Formen cosmetics line with them in mind.

Toronto's Andrew Grella is the brains -- and face -- behind a new makeup line just for men.

Liz Beddall/Metro

Toronto's Andrew Grella is the brains -- and face -- behind a new makeup line just for men.

A Toronto entrepreneur found the inspiration for his burgeoning business from the most unappealing of sources: teenage acne.

Yes, Andrew Grella got pimples on prom night.

“I went to all these places I thought would have products for men to fix the problem, but I couldn’t find anything,” Grella recalled. “Then I came home, and my mom basically attacked me with her make-up bag.”

The makeup worked, and he went to prom looking good. But, he was left wondering why there wasn’t anything on the market for men.

Fast forward a few years and Grella’s company — Formen — launched while he was still a student at Ryerson University. Now, thanks to a city program for young entrepreneurs, he’s preparing to hit the market en masse — working with a distributor to get his products on store shelves in South Korea.

“A lot of buyers and people interested in skin care for their stores will go to South Korea to see what’s happening and what’s coming down the pipeline,” Grella said. “Being in South Korea will give you clout as a product or technology that’s on its way.”

He hopes to be in Canadian stores within a year. 

For now, Grella is selling products online, including those that mask under-eye bags, a product that reduces facial shine, cream for your complexion and, of course, concealer for those nasty pimples

Customers tend to be professionals who literally want to put their best face forward. That’s reflected in the make-up’s branding, Grella said.

On his website, you won’t find videos of women falling all over make-up wearing men or bottles blinged out with gun metal grey, as is the case with many other men’s products.

Instead, Grella offers tutorials on how to apply make-up subtly and correctly because many of his customers don’t really know how to use it.

“Our customers range from super skin fanatics who email us about everything to those who are like, ‘I wash my face sometimes but I have this pimple, what should it do?’” he said.

Andrew Grella: before (left) and after makeup application.

Liz Beddall/Metro

Andrew Grella: before (left) and after makeup application.

Andrew Grella’s tips for applying makeup you can’t tell is there

1.       Use as little product as you possibly can.

2.       Test it out first so you know how much to apply.

3.       Keep your skin healthy, and you’ll need less product.

4.       Drink lots of water and moisturize.

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