THE seriousness with which men approach beauty care can be seen on their bathroom shelves. Products previously perceived as quintessentially female appear to be nudging the after-shave for space. And make-up for men is ''in''. Male supermodel Cameron, he of the 100-centimetre chest, black eyes, black hair and moody personality, recently announced he would be launching a new cosmetics and skincare collection for males. To be called Appearances, the range will include mascara and lip gloss. Make-up has long been the domain of performers - Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Elton John - even Hongkong's own stars. Taiwanese pop idol Jimmy Lin Khi-yan does not allow photographs to be taken when he is ''bare-faced'' - which is rare. He may have youth on his side but he uses make-up to reduce his sallow complexion and to hide red blemishes. Lin told a reporter recently he was not choosy when it came to brands. ''My manager usually has all the stuff prepared for me and I have no qualms using cosmetics provided by the TV stations,'' he said. But like most men who wear make-up, he confesses he does not apply mascara or lipstick, only a light foundation. What he does have on his bathroom shelf, however, is a range of products for a thorough skin-cleansing routine. Away from the spotlight, Le Salon Orient owner Kim Robinson has been known to sport mascara and foundation as has lawyer Kai-bong Chau, businessman William Louey and interior designer Simon Jackson. But beautician Frederique Deleage says it is rare for male executives to wear make-up. ''But if they are homosexual or a transvestite, or a little bit that way inclined, they would tend to buy a skin bronzer because they like to have healthy looking skin,'' she said. ''They might wear a very light foundation to get a nice skin tone. The skin bronzer gives them protection but it also gives them that glow. They brush it lightly over the face. Some men do eyelash tint, so they don't need to wear mascara. I have tattooedeyebrows for men whereby you imitate the little hairs that are in the eyebrows. ''I think men should not be prejudiced against for wearing light make-up. After all, men have used make-up to enhance their looks for centuries. Men used to wear make-up, wigs and pamper themselves - it is not a new concept. ''Hongkong is conservative and I think there is more talk about men wearing make-up than them actually doing so in reality. ''I think men are vain, yes, and some are more vain than we are. If I can give someone more confidence, that is fine by me. Men should be able to use the treatments we have just as much as women. I would encourage any man to do whatever it takes to look better, feel healthier and to have more self-confidence.'' The Sunday Morning Post sent P.S. editor Owen Hughes along to the Make Up For Ever studio in Central, the only boutique in Hongkong dedicated to all aspects of make-up, for a ''going-over'' by owner Robert Juan. He started by using purple powder on Hughes' chin to tone down the difference in colour before the application of a light foundation. A concealer was then used to take away the dark circles under his eyes. This was followed by a dusting of translucent powder to give a matt effect. A light beige colour was applied to the eyelids and transparent mascara was used on the eyelashes to make them darker without adding colour. A bronzer was applied to his cheeks, the middle part of his forehead and the chin to add volume to the face. Transparent lip gloss with a brown tint was used to give a hint of colour to the lips. ''It was a definite improvement. I think the pictures show that,'' said Mr Juan. ''I am not here to dictate whether men should wear make-up but I think it has to do more with personal choice. I think it will take a long time for men to get used to wearing make-up though,'' he said, confessing he did not. And Hughes' verdict? ''All men like to be pampered but I am not sure how many would like to step out of the salon and into the street with a full face of make-up,'' he said, having removed all traces before returning to the office. ''I could see the attractions, however, of being able to mask my imperfections, spots and shaving nicks with foundation and powder. ''Ultimately, I have got enough to do in the mornings without battling with my wife for mirror space.''