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More Men Than Ever Are Starting To Wear Makeup

Updated October 13, 2018 2.4k views10 items

The next wave of beauty industry inclusivity? Makeup for men. The history of men wearing makeup dates all the way back to ancient Egypt and extends through the ‘80s glam rock era with Prince and David Bowie. More recently, Johnny Depp and his propensity toward eyeliner are modern examples of guy glam. But a greater number of men are wearing makeup than ever before with male beauty bloggers on the rise, CoverGirl recently hiring their first man as a brand representative, and beauty products made specifically for men flying off the shelves.

The men's haircare and skincare industry has grown exponentially within the last few years, so it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to see the makeup trend continue among men. With modern beauty standards affecting guys, your boyfriend might just become your newest Sephora shopping buddy. 

  • Men Have Worn Makeup Throughout History

    Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Flickr

    Lest you think we're in the middle of a makeup revolution, you are sorely mistaken. The history of men's makeup is long and vast. In ancient Egypt, eyeliner was a sign of status and wealth. Makeup actually enhanced a man's perceived masculinity—kohl eyeliner, green malachite eye shadow, and lip and cheek stains made from red ochre were the norm for nobility. Similarly, in Rome, men were known to paint makeup over their bald spots, much like we might fill in sparse eyebrows today. They also used face powder, blush, and nail polish made out of pig fat and blood.

    Kings of England and France were often partial to a couple of key makeup products. King Louis XVI, who went bald early and relied on makeup to enhance his appearance, popularized the look of extravagant makeup and hair products for men.

    Men's makeup fell out of fashion for a few centuries, until the perfectly groomed, polished look of 1930s movie stars like Clark Gable brought a "metrosexual" style into the spotlight.

  • Androgynous Makeup Is Also On The Rise

    While the top male beauty bloggers of the time prefer a full face complete with foundation and fake lashes, that's not the only way men are wearing makeup today. Androgynous makeup is having a moment, too, for more low-maintenance types. "No makeup makeup" for men involves just a few key products: concealer, a brow gel, a dusting of blush, and a swipe of lip tint. Now that's a routine most men can get behind.

  • Cosmetics Offered For Men Are High-Quality


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    Yves Saint Laurent began the trend of creating beauty products specifically for men with his "male" version of Touche Éclat in 2008, and ever since, makeup brands have continued the craze. Kat Von D collaborated with Billie Joe Armstrong, a famous advocate of guyliner, to create a men's version of her cult-favorite product, Basket Case Anti-Precision Liner. The smudgeable liner is, as Armstrong says, "the first guy eyeliner."

    Men's skincare brand, DTRT, now makes "Boys Be Bold" BB Cream, Tom Ford sells concealer in their For Men line, and there's even a male-specific bronzer from Clinique.

  • Beauty Standards Are Affecting Men, Too

    Photo: Terry George / Flickr

    We're used to hearing how impossible beauty standards affect women and women's self esteem, but men are feeling the pressure, too. Designers digitally alter male models' faces to appear blemish-free with strong cheekbones and square jawlines.  Research shows that a growing percentage of men are unhappy with their appearance and have begun abusing products like protein shakes and steroids to change their bodies.