Male makeup is here to slay.
If most of the men in your life can barely be bothered to put on a moisturizer and that only happens during winter, this article will probably shake you to the core. However, if you’re more open (or used to) to using more than one product to care for your face, this might come as good news. Welcome to the new era of democratic beauty for all, not just the XX chromosome-blessed vixens.
Mainstream publications struggle with the changing beauty concepts, especially one that has been traditionally contained within queer realms where make up has long been a tool for self-expression. In the ever-changing socio-political landscape where personal freedom reigns supreme, this beauty revolution is here to stay.
Even though men have been using makeup almost as long as women, it was usually for completely different reasons. It was either to invoke fear in their enemies, to portray women (think Shakespearean theatre) or to simply mask the lack of hygiene (French court, anyone?). Whereas women have been using it to enhance their best features, it seems that men feel using male make up to achieve the same makes them admit to some shameful deficiency.
First things first, we need to break this down into two categories: some men, like the adorable James Charles, use a full makeup pallet, heavy contouring – the works. Their look is more feminine and queer. The second group is men who use makeup to achieve a natural, “improved” version of themselves. Most men that fall into this category first started using makeup to hide acne or acne scars, or to look younger and fresher at work.
Regardless of the reasons and style of male makeup, the stigma surrounding this trend is still strong, thanks to masculinity norms that don’t allow the same freedoms to both sexes. However, in the year that feels almost revolutionary in terms of gender nonconformity, the shift is palpable. It all started in an Asian country where all the beauty trends come from – you’ve guessed it – South Korea. Thanks to Korean pop idols that use makeup profusely, male makeup has become acceptable, even desirable. Striving for the immaculate face is pretty normal in a country where men spend more on skincare than anywhere else in the world.
The west has been embracing it as well – big brands like Chanel or Tom Ford have launched some products, but nothing on a large scale just yet and certainly not created especially for male skin. One brand trying to make a difference is UK based MMUK MAN that is educating hapless (sorry guys) men on the merits and functionality of the products and encourages men to be brave and own their beauty.
Big brands are still in R&D stages but judging by the popularity of artists like Troye Sivan who’s not ashamed to cover his blemishes the best way he can (his makeup video on Vogue blew up the internet), this movement is unstoppable as it should be! However, the real mind-shift will happen when we see a true CIS man use it without a trace of shame, owning it completely. Someone like James Bond perhaps?
In the meantime, remember that no makeup looks good on scally, dry, unkempt skin. Skincare first, stunning second!
Ava Paine is a beauty aficionado, amateur dancer and keen DIY master. This Aussie is far, far from home.