Once upon a time, you would be hard-pressed to find a makeup brand for men. Today, male grooming and beauty is a multi-billion-pound industry. How and why has this happened?
We can certainly start with the ethos of our own brand, which is founded on the belief that makeup for men can be a vital tool in making you feel that bit better about yourself. It definitely played a huge part in our founder, Danny’s, story, who maintains that it has helped him manage his body dysmorphic disorder. You can check out more of that here!
The stereotypical image of what a man should be is – thankfully – changing. Whereas we were once expected to remain almost cave-like in our approach to life, men are finally acknowledging that – as human beings – we too have feelings. Research continues to show growing pressure on men to look a certain way – unsurprising given the world we live in today. According to the Guardian, the number of men hospitalised for eating disorders rose 70% between 2010 and 2016 – exactly the same rate of increase as women.
David Yi, founder of men’s beauty site, Very Good Light, puts it succinctly in an article for Vox: Men have always had the same insecurities as women, he says, “it’s just that they have been conditioned not to talk about it.”
Yes, there may be many who still identify with the ‘strong and silent’ archetype of a man, but the great thing about men’s makeup in this regard is twofold: Not only can it help you attain those feelings of inner strength and self-assurance you so covet, but it also no longer needs to be a mutually exclusive kind of thing. You can be a ‘man’s man’ who wears makeup – especially when using subtle products designed to be quick, easy and efficient.
It helps, too, that public powerful figures are embracing men’s makeup. French president, Emmanuel Macron, spent £22,000 on products in his first three months in office, Victoria Beckham told This Morning that “David 100% steals my beauty products” (#blenditlikebeckham) and Pharrell Williams informed GQ that he exfoliates “like a narcissist madman”. (Read more about exfoliation and other skincare tips here.) Men’s makeup, then, becomes easier to correlate with things like self-assurance, determination and the ability to succeed.
Social media – as ever – has a huge part to play, too, helping turn men’s grooming from a ‘why?’ to a ‘why not?’. Instagram, in particular, fully normalises men’s makeup, largely through the presence of male skincare influencers which continues to draw mainstream attention. YouTube is another massive source of this, boasting increasing numbers of male vloggers and makeup artists giving makeup tutorials. Check out our very own channel here!
There are many, therefore, who wear makeup with the sole focus of looking better. Still, these men are conscious that they don’t look as if they are doing so, emphasising the importance of effective yet low-maintenance and discreet products.
A shift in beauty norms?
You might be forgiven for assuming men wearing makeup is a relatively new phenomenon. In actual fact, this is far from the case.
Ancient Egyptians – both men and women – wore kohl around their eyes, while male courtiers in 18th-century Europe were also comfortable with a full face of makeup on. Their reasons may have been different, sure, but you can’t argue with the facts. So yes, while male beauty norms are strikingly different today than they were even a decade ago, the notion that men can wear makeup is nothing new.
What is new, however, is makeup specifically made with men in mind. No longer must we borrow from our wives, girlfriends or mums; no longer must we shop in female-centric department counters. Male makeup is real, and it’s going nowhere.