When you think of makeup the first thing that comes into your mind is undoubtedly a female. There are numerous blogs, youtube channels that feature young women trying out the latest makeup and beauty trends. But today, after centuries, finally a man wearing makeup is not taboo. Thanks to the vast social media world and influencers like Bretman Rock and Manny Gutierrez, makeup for men is slowly in the stage of becoming more gender-neutral. However, the concept is fairly new.
Long before being in the ‘Women-only’ category, makeup and skincare were in the dominion of men. Stretching right from 4000 BC up until the 18th century, men used makeup in various ways. In Egyptian culture, makeup actually played a very big role. People used to believe in the genderless makeup concept. During 4000BC men used to highlight their eyes with a black pigment to create a cat-eye design. Later some time, Kohl, lip pigments, and cheek stains also gained popularity. Although, the purpose of wearing makeup wasn’t like today, to look more attractive. The dramatic eyeliner was a symbol of wealth and status.
Forwarding to the 1st Century AD, Roman men used to apply powder to lighten their skin and apply red pigment to their cheeks. They also used to cover bald spots by painting their heads. During Queen Elizabeth I’s rule, men used to apply highly cakey makeup to make their skin ghost-white. It was very normal until the 1800s when makeup came under only one side of the spectrum. Until the Victorian era, it was very common for a man to wear makeup. But, as Queen Victoria declared makeup as ‘vulgar’ which soon led it to take a single side. By the 20th century, makeup was seen in the ‘women-only spectrum.
With the arrival of modern movie-making in Hollywood, the concept of male vanity came into the talks again. Hair and makeup for men started to appear again. It was Clark Gable’s polished look that became the primary example of metrosexual beauty.
Men and Their Association With Makeup All Around the Globe
Despite makeup and trending beauty trends being classified as ‘women-only ‘over the last couple of centuries, there have been several counter-cultures that have challenged this norm. There was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego which was mostly recognized for this. There are numerous modern-day examples as well. Slowly and steadily, the thinking and attitude of people started changing towards gender identity. The use of cosmetic products for men became more and more common. Soon it gained popularity.
The entertainment industry of course played a major role in breaking the stereotype. It will come as no shock to anyone those evening news hosts and our favorite A-list personalities are flaunting a healthy glow with a foundation on the silver screens, television shows, and theatre platforms. The term ‘metrosexual’ made its way into the world couple of decades ago which also led many brands like Jean-paul Gaultier to launch makeup lines that were specifically for men. However, it was very short-lived. This was years ago, but today numerous brands have a variety of products for men. In the year 2016, Covergirl Cosmetics declared James Charles as its first male Beauty Ambassador. Not only that, new brands are entering the market constantly each year. In fact, the Men’s beauty industry is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing categories over the upcoming years.
With the big markets in Japan and Korea, genderless makeup is surely making its way into the European, Australian, and the Markets of the USA. This trend emerged for men from shaving creams, Moisturizers, SPFs, Fragrances, and now Makeup. All in for a single motive to look and feel their best. As the general representation of making is becoming more flexible in the life of common men, not only the YouTube Gurus, a little concealer to hide a blemish or a little brow gel is becoming common.
Makeup and Stereotypes Attached to it
It’s very common to see people in the entertainment & news industry wearing makeup when they are on the television. The world is slowly accepting the concept that makeup has no gender. But with wearing makeup comes a lot of stereotypes attached to it. The increasing use of Social Media and YouTube has made a huge impact on the standards and its usage. However, there is a lot of disrespect for these ‘famous’ people stepping out of their houses without wearing any makeup. As strange as it may sound, it is difficult for people to accept you if you bravely come out and flaunt your natural beauty.
On the other hand, individuals who wear ‘too much or ‘not right’ makeup are also hugely criticized. These polar opposite views of people can affect the self-esteem of a person making them fearful of experimenting with new trends. With the fast-paced world of technology, it has become easier for people to throw hateful and ignorant comments towards other individuals, celebrities, and their peers.
Due to the huge gap between male celebrities wearing cosmetics and an average man, these celebrities and males wearing makeup are mercilessly trolled. If an ordinary man decides to follow any of the trending makeup trends going on in the world, he’s either perceived as ‘goth’ or he will be highly judged by society, his friends, and family. For example, if a male decides to wear foundation or some kohl, he will be either called ‘feminine’ or even ‘gay’ in some cases.
Undoubtedly we all have our personal preferences but we shouldn’t dictate them to other people who choose to do what we don’t think is ‘right’.
Influencers Who Have Put Forth This Conversation
Makeup as a whole is associated with ladies in our society. Today, more and more men have started breaking this stereotype as a form of expression and creativity, breaking the stereotype that it is not only restricted to any gender. Below is a list of influencers who wear makeup and are breaking stereotypes in their own different ways.
Cover Girl a few time ago announced teenage makeup artist and blogger James Charles as their first male campaign model.
MyGlamm in India, hired makeup artist Jason Arland to shake people in a traditional space.
THE SOCIAL STAR
Jeffree Star’s bold dramatic videos and loud personality helped him to get superstardom and create an amazing cosmetics line.
Besides being a successful content creator, he likes to experiment with makeup. He indeed inspires many men who want to wear makeup but don’t due to different reasons.
SHAKTI SINGH YADAV
Shakti Singh Yadav is a lifestyle blogger who promotes makeup positivity amongst the male community.
Makeup is another form of creativity and the best form of expression. We think that everyone including males has the absolute right to express themselves in the way they want. There is so much room for so many brands and social media surely plays a very big role in breaking the stereotypes.
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