mens makeup

So I asked 25 men out there — all hip urban professionals — the question, “Should men use cosmetics?” Here are two replies that I got, from both sides of the camp:

the schism of manhood Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect participants’ identity.

“Today’s sophisticated man should be concerned with how he looks, since it is his appearance that people first see and remains a major factor in how they gauge him…
– James Thaddeus, 36, Santa Barbara, CA

Zack and James both describe themselves as modern, stylish men, who lead active social lives. “I’ve never smeared any kind of cream on my face, and I never will,” he says.

an encroaching phenomenon

It seems like only yesterday, we were reading about revolutionary new shaving products that were better suited for men’s skin. Clinically tested and approved, they provided better protection and kinder treatment to the face than the white foam men have used for generations before.

Enter new lines of fancy moisturizers, after-shaves and soaps that promised to keep men’s skin healthy and young looking. Most men were able to forgive if not totally overlook the way such rhetoric, limited to women’s beauty magazines, crept into the phraseology of men’s issues. After all, if we were making strides in being healthy on the inside, external health was its logical extension.

Exactly how much are men spending on grooming products?

Charles Passy before — and after — applying makeup.

For most of my adult life — OK, make that for all of my adult life — my morning “grooming” routine has gone something like this: a quick shower, followed by a quick shave. I’ve washed my face with a specialty cleansing scrub, I’ve applied a gel to “cool” my puffy eyes and I’ve dabbed on some Anti-Shine powder to avoid appearing too, well, shiny.

In short, I’ve discovered men’s makeup. (And Mintel expects it to grow an additional 13% by 2018.) Data on men’s cosmetics (and cosmetic treatments) specifically is perhaps even more telling: A recent survey of 1,000 American and British men, conducted by marketing company JWT, found that many men considered such products or treatments perfectly acceptable. For example, 54% approved of such skin care products as moisturizers and eye creams, 24% gave the nod to facials and even 9% had no issues with foundation. Little wonder that such clothing designers as Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs have launched men’s cosmetics lines of late.

And don’t forget men and Botox — the “Brotox” phenomenon, as it’s been dubbed: From 2000 to 2010, demand from American men for injections surged by 258%, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But cosmetics professionals also say a style-conscious younger generation of men — the “metrosexual” generation, if you will — is embracing better grooming as something that’s as essential as wearing a form-fitting suit. (And these same men also have been raised in an era of skin-cancer awareness, so they’re much more accustomed to using skin-care products to guard against the sun.) Add it up and you’ve got a whole bunch of guys wanting to look their best, but in a distinctly “guy” way.

“For men, it is not about being pretty. They have a pimple or a bit of discoloration, they want to cover it up — it’s as simple as that.”

On top of all that, experts say there’s this simple fact: Men’s skin is far oilier than women’s. “I thought, ‘Why couldn’t I send him somewhere to buy some products?’” she says.

Man makeup: One guy’s glam adventure(3:51)

The men’s personal-care products market is on the rise as a style-conscious younger generation embraces better grooming. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was slightly weirded-out as I went through my morning ritual that first day — my bathroom time stretched an additional 10 minutes as I did all my scrubbing and powdering (I also applied a Camo concealer and lip balm, which are other key items in the Mënaji arsenal).

I probably would have been more weirded-out if it wasn’t for the fact that Mënaji tries to make it easy on us guys. Sure, the Anti-Shine and Camo are cosmetics in the purest sense, but some of the key products in the Mënaji line — and other men’s cosmetics lines, too — are about scrubbing away dead skin, drawing out impurities and clearing clogged pores. When you devote more time to your morning grooming, you leave the house in a different frame of mind — as if you’ve become the star in the daily show that’s called life. I have to confess that while it probably improves my appearance, I don’t like having stuff on my face in much the same way I don’t like sporting jewelry of any sort (I’ve been married for more than two decades, but I’ve never worn a wedding band).

She’s worked on Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, every tech executive you can name, and Hugh Jackman—“my most favoritest person in the whole world,” she said as I thumbed through her portfolio.

Studying my face, Hill told me she didn’t see any obvious areas of concern. They remove blemishes, redness, signs of aging and fatigue, cuts or nicks from shaving, and most other indications that you’ve had a well-lived life. “When men think of makeup they think it’s heavy, that it’s unnatural, but we’re living in a new century,” Hill says. The most advanced cosmetics are designed to be photographed close-up with high-definition cameras, so they need to add pigment while leaving one’s pores visible. She applied “high-definition” makeup with an airbrush, a gun that sprays a very fine mist of color at your face, so fine that the dyes blend into your skin in a way that looks and feels like you have nothing on. Compared to wearing no makeup, with just a bit of color, I look like I took the time to bother about my appearance.

Which prompts the question: Why don’t I wear makeup all the time?

Men should wear makeup. evidence of the application of body paint dates back at least 50,000 years and is taken to be one of the first signs of modern . It was only around the turn of the 19th century that facial adornment for men began to go out of fashion—though at the same time, other cosmetic enhancements for men, especially hair-care products, took off. If it’s seen as necessary for a modern man to comb and sculpt his hair, why isn’t he expected to make up his face, too?

Note that I’m not advocating for men to wear lipstick, blush, or other obvious signs of makeup. Red lips and cheeks and dark eyes are perceived as feminine because they cannily simulate female fertility—when a woman is ovulating, increased blood flow reddens her lips and cheeks, so lipstick and rouge are a way to mimic that effect. studies show that when humans are presented with faces with even color distribution—faces whose skin tone looks the same from region to region—we find them more attractive than faces with uneven color. (The theory is that even color distribution is a token of youth, and youth, in turn, signals fertility.) Study after study has shown that people are disarmed by makeup—even though it’s obvious when a woman wears makeup, she’s judged as more attractive (by both men and women) than when she’s not wearing makeup.

It stands to reason that men could benefit from the same effect, especially if the makeup isn’t obvious. When you’re trying to impress someone—prospective dates, prospective employers, business associates, your spouse, your family, your employees—there’s no reason not to wear a little foundation. We live in a world constructed of artifice—where not only magazine covers but even snapshots are now retouched, filtered, presented in the best light possible. The conservative, male-dominated society was prompted to embrace male cosmetics in part because makeup worked—men who wore makeup found that it gave them a leg up romantically and in employment markets. “Especially if they’re single—they just feel better about themselves and look better.” Over the past few years the market for skincare products for men has been booming, though cosmetic companies have been wary of products that resemble traditional makeup. src=”/content/dam/slate/articles/technology/technology/2013/09/130919_TECH_MaleMakeup-003-manualbrush.jpg.CROP.article568-large.jpg”>Farhad with manual brush makeup.

Courtesy of Rose Hill

This one is even worse: After a quick application from a bottle of Revlon foundation—that is, not the high-definition stuff designed to look like you’re not wearing anything—I look way too orange, like I’ve been colorized.

Farhad Manjoo, cheap makeup.

I’m married and I have a job—though we’ll see what happens after this article runs—so I don’t think I’ll be wearing makeup every day.

The Stigma of Men’s Makeup

Photo: Getty Images

When Yahoo Beauty editor-in-chief Bobbi Brown was hired to do Mike Tyson’s makeup, he told her, “You ain’t touching me with that stuff” when she opened her makeup kit. According to, the average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime, but only 15% percent of sales of the $382 billion beauty industry are from men.

Related: Tackling Facial Hair: Tom Brady Scores More With a Beard

When guys get blemishes or dark circles under their eyes, they’re not expected to hide them. But guys can be insecure about their skin, too. While many women love to experiment with bright lips and bold eye makeup, men who wear makeup often don’t want anyone else to know about it. In an article for GQ, Regular Guy Drew Magary wrote, “The fear of liking makeup is probably what keeps many men from ever trying it.” Stereotypically, men are supposed to be unfussy, but for guys with public jobs makeup is not only a necessity—it’s a blessing. 

Benedict Cumberbatch made waves after praising the value of concealer on the Golden Globes red carpet. Just applying a plain facial moisturizer helps with hiding blemishes—no tinted makeup needed at all.

Related: The Pro Linebacker’s Grooming Routine

Select men have actually owned up to their cosmetics use for years. With increasingly more offerings dedicated to dudes in the beauty market, men are becoming more comfortable with grooming, and no longer hitting up their sister, girlfriend, wife, or mother for emergency concealer. Unisex lines like Malin+Goetz, and dedicated men’s grooming products, like Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino Conditioning Beard Oil ($50) are helping some men become more comfortable using beauty products.

Related: Men Add Facials to Their Ever-Expanding Grooming Routines

Recently, BuzzFeed writer Isaac Fitzgerald wrote about wearing a full face of makeup Monday through Friday, with an incremental increase of makeup every day.

(Fortunately, we had put in a fresh pair of contact lenses that morning and was quite observant.)

After stalking Phillip on Twitter and Instagram for weeks (his daily beauty product snapshots put our bare faces to shame), we became even more interested in his routine and how it fits into the modern paradigm of makeup for men. but that started the whole thing.”

Fast forward a couple of years and this male beauty editor has a refined makeup routine that is built on great skincare and a “few fine shimmers and dewy finishes” like Clé de Peau concealer, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation and Bobbi Brown matte bronzer.

makeup for men

Tilbury recently uploaded a video tutorial to her blog called “Groomed, Healthy Look for Men” where she demonstrates how guys can use makeup as a secret weapon to transform a tired complexion, conceal a spot and brighten up hungover eyes.

With so many brands creating new skincare and makeup formulas that make this easy for men to achieve, we asked Tilbury for a list of products that she’d recommend for the modern man.

For men who have never cared for their skin before, start with deep exfoliation using the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleaning System and cleanse with Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash. Applied right in the lash line, a powder-based liner will be harder to detect but will instantly bring out the eye color.Cleverly applied bronzer and highlighter can also completely reshape the facial framework and give you the masculine square jaw and defined cheekbones you have always wanted.

Are you a man who wears makeup?


It would just feel wrong to see these rockers on stage without their signature makeup — even fans try to replicate their look.

Ozzy Osbourne

This “Godfather of Heavy Metal” must keep black eyeliner in his back pocket.

Adam Lambert

That black eyeliner really brings out his baby blues.

Jared Leto

The actor looks quite brooding with his kohl-rimmed eyes.

Steven Tyler

He enjoys getting his makeup done.

Elvis Presley

He had to look perfect to keep those ladies swooning.

Pete Wentz

This Fall Out Boy frontman loves his punk eyeliner.

Russell Brand

The comedian almost always wears eyeliner.

David Bowie

This legendary rocker sported many different androgynous looks.

Billie Joe Armstrong

It seems that in order to legitimately be a punk rocker, one must invest perfect a smokey eye.

Brandon Flowers

The Killers singer accentuates his big brown eyes with eyeliner.

Marilyn Manson

He has pure dedication.

Featuring big brands like Nickel, Rodial and Clinique

Real men like to look their best and with these subtle tricks of the trade you’ll have flawless, professional looking skin without that over caked make up look. Our range of face powders offer a selection of shades from translucent to tan, ensuring that you’re left with a shine free but most importantly, natural, finish.

The lip treatments in our range also working in some subtle skincare without blowing your cover.

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