Let's start a conversation about men's makeup

Why men's makeup is good and why more men should embrace it!

Man with beard putting on makeup blush on eyes at Humanery
Words by Jessica Punter
Oct 03, 2022 
Jessica Punter Men's Grooming Writer for Humanery

Jessica Punter is a Grooming Editor and regular contributor to men’s lifestyle destination, Ape to Gentleman. Jessica has held staff roles such as the former Style & Grooming editor at British GQ. She has reported on the world of men’s grooming since 2006 and her work has been published by British GQ, MR PORTER, MATCHESFASHION and many more.

Men's grooming writer and journalist Jess Punter shares her views on how all men should embrace makeup and the top 10 things you need to know about men's makeup.

Men’s makeup has evolved far beyond that traditional, token tinted moisturiser in a single ‘universal’ shade. Premium beauty lines such as Tom Ford For Men, Givenchy Mister and Boy de Chanel are now well established, while newer, makeup specific brands on the scene aim to offer products on par with the beauty counters.

“It’s no secret that most gay men have worn female makeup products for years because that’s all that was available, while straight men have been borrowing their girlfriend, sister or mum’s concealer, powder or brow pencil in secret,” says professional makeup artist, Benny Hancock. 

Bronzers, BB creams, foundations, powders, eye pencils, brow gels and brushes can now all be found under men’s ranges. The common theme is subtle products that cover the skin naturally, add definition and bring out the best in your features.

Men's makeup in popular culture today

The expanding offer for men's makeup is partly thanks to a boom in contemporary role models pushing gender boundaries, alongside pressure to conform to a social media driven aesthetic that’s boosted by filters, ring lights and other digital tricks. Men who like statement makeup make a large chunk of today’s red carpet coverage and fashion editorials; Billy Porter, Adam Lambert, Troye Sivan, Darren Criss, Lil Nas X, Damiano David from Måneskin are all prominent, alongside the super makeover skills of YouTubers like James Charles and Jeffree Star.  

Meanwhile, David Beckham gets called out for pinching his wife’s makeup collection, Pharrell Williams is often seen rocking the guyliner, Ansel Elgort wore glittery eyes to the Golden Globes and Timothée Chalamet’s cheek highlighter can be seen catching the flash bulbs of the premiere paparazzi. 

There’s now a majority of men in the public eye wearing a degree of maquillage - not just the ones who like to shout about it. If you want to get ahead, you need to look your best. Donald Trump’s bronzer addiction is well documented, but did you know Emmanuel Macron spent €26,000 on a personal makeup artist in the first three months of his French Presidency?

Emmanuel Macron President of France wearing men's makeup

Source: Article from The Week.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images 

What does makeup mean for the rest of us men?

Rather than recreate a look from RuPaul’s Drag Race, most of us just want to look healthy and well-rested, like we’ve just come back from a holiday. “The ultimate look that most men want to achieve is far more natural and lightweight on the skin,” says Hancock, “so the formulas I created cater to this and also to men’s skin in general.”

You don’t need to suffer from acne, eczema or a visible skin condition to appreciate the daily confidence boost that makeup can give. As newer entrants to the market, brands like Benny Hancock FOR MEN and Shakeup Cosmetics have eyed the opportunity to offer more accessible, affordable and inclusive ranges that cater to every skin tone.

Born in Beijing and raised in the UK, twin brothers, Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu have a cross cultural perspective on the beauty norms for straight men. As founders of Shakeup Cosmetics, Jake Xu says, “Asia is definitely leading the pack with most Millennial and Gen Z men already using a sophisticated skincare routine on a daily basis, many of whom use makeup on a regular basis. How one looks is huge part of everyday life and it is a crucial part of making a great first impression. For example, in South Korea, it’s common for companies to request that candidates submit photos as part of their job application. Asian women also consider it a good trait when a guy takes care of his skin and how he looks. Traditionally women have had the choice and options to cover up signs of fatigue or blemishes, or whatever they need to look their best for an interview or a night out, and we just want to provide the same option for guys.”

Shakeup Cosmetics Makeup for Men Available at Humanery.com

Shakeup Cosmetics sell a BB cream every five minutes, and it’s the best selling product both here and in China. The demand is there, so why do we still detect a hint of reticence from the average straight man when it comes to being open and honest about wearing makeup? “Men shouldn’t feel ashamed about taking pride in their appearance,” says Hancock, and we wholeheartedly agree.

Here’s the thing - if you feel self-conscious about wearing tinted moisturiser, foundation, or concealer, people probably won’t even notice, but there’s every chance you’ll feel happier with your appearance. Makeup just represents an extension of a smart outfit and a subtle psychological shift, that leaves us feeling primed and ready to take on the day. 

Never tried men’s makeup? Here are ten things you need to know...

  • A BB cream is a good place to start. Combined with moisturising agents like hyaluronic acid and SPF, a BB cream will condition and protect the skin while offering natural coverage for a brighter, more even skin tone. For best results, apply after your usual skincare routine. 
  • Concealers use a heavier pigment, which is why they are better at hiding dark circles, blemishes, correcting redness or uneven pigmentation. Dot under and around the corner of the eye and around the nostrils and blend in with fingers.
  • Fair skinned? You might need to adjust the shade depending on the time of year; a paler tone for winter and a warmer tone for when you’re more tanned.
  • Baffled by brushes and sponges? It’s easy to apply cream-based formulations with your fingertips. Just slowly build up the coverage until you’ve got the desired finish. Check your jawline/hairline and around the ears for any tell-tale tidemarks and blend well.
  • Want to use a brush? A round, buffing brush is the best way to apply powder and powdered bronzer. Dip or swipe across the product and then shake the brush to remove the excess before applying it to the skin. Clean brushes and applicators frequently to limit bacteria - we just use hot water and a little shampoo, blot with a clean towel and let them air dry.
  • Don’t shy away from lip liner. First, apply a regular lip balm as an undercoat primer, then trace the outline of the mouth using a lip pencil in a neutral shade. Blend the line using a brush or fingertips. Alternatively, fill the area with a matching shade of lipstick.
  • Pressed powder is a good way to fix your base, absorb shine and keep things nice and matte. 
  • Bronzer can give you a healthier tan and a more chiselled look by defining your jawline and cheekbones. 
  • Brows are important. You will be surprised at how much of a difference brow products can make. Shaping, tidying and filling in the hairs frames the face and opens up the eye area.
  • Never sleep in makeup. Even if you’ve only put on the barest hint of a tint, take it off using a high-quality cleanser to keep the skin clear and healthy before going to bed.

Featured Products for For Men's Makeup

Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser
Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser

Shakeup Cosmetics Let’s Face It™ BB Tinted Moisturiser

£25.00
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men
Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men

Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain™ Under Eye Concealer for Men

£20.00
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen
Benny Hancock  Concealer / Corrective Pen

Benny Hancock Concealer / Corrective Pen

£18.00
Benny Hancock Beard Definer
Benny Hancock Beard Definer
Benny Hancock Beard Definer
Benny Hancock Beard Definer
Benny Hancock Beard Definer
Benny Hancock Beard Definer

Benny Hancock Beard Definer

£19.00
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™
Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™

Shakeup Cosmetics Lip Life to the Full™

£12.00
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

£7.95
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick
BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick

BUG for Men Shameless Perfection® Beard & Brow Stick

£16.00
Haeckels Natural Lip Balm with Shea Butter and Vitamin E
Haeckels Natural Lip Balm with Shea Butter and Vitamin E

Haeckels Natural Lip Balm with Shea Butter and Vitamin E

£18.00

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