Makeup For Men | History & Present Day
Makeup for men is nothing new. It’s been around for thousands of years and has been worn in almost every culture. In more recent history, makeup for men has been less mainstream, but this is changing. Social media and a whole host of gender-neutral and male-focused beauty brands are helping men all over the world to feel more comfortable enhancing their beauty with makeup.
The History Of Makeup
To understand makeup for men, let’s take a look at its history and where it all started to move right through to the modern-day and how makeup for men has evolved.
In Ancient Egypt, makeup for men was around from as early as 4000 BC. You can see how that is reflected in the art of that time, showing men with kohl-lined eyes along with lip and cheek stains. Men in Ancient Egypt also used makeup for religious purposes, to evoke gods and ward off illness, and to signify their wealth and status.
Men in Ancient Rome applied red pigment to their cheeks, used powder to lighten their skin and painted their nails. They also painted their heads to camouflage bald spots, which isn’t a million miles away from the hair powders and sprays used today.
In Elizabethan England, makeup for men was extremely fashionable. Imagine skin powdered to be ghost-white (sometimes using lead-based makeup that caused serious health problems and even death) and pink lips.
The same went for 18th Century France, with King Louis XVI driving a trend for over the top wigs, makeup, and hair products. Painting on a beauty mark was also popular for men at this time.
Makeup for men took a little break for a while, as the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Austerity kicked in, with men being more concerned about working long hours and putting food on the table than beauty trends.
1930s Hollywood kickstarted the male beauty industry again, with men in movies wearing makeup and styling their hair for the silver screen – Clark Gable’s polished, debonair look springs to mind.
The 1970s and 80s saw Glam Rock, the rise of the Dandy and a more androgynous, fluid look for men. Think Boy George, David Bowie, Prince and Adam Ant. There also started to be more male makeup artists working in the industry at this time.
In the early 2000s, the indie, pop-punk and emo music trends brought forward a focus on eyeliner and nail polish for men, with some men experimenting even further with the trend. The idea of a metrosexual man started to re-emerge, with some brands bringing out versions of their cosmetics for men.
With the rise in social media, the 2010s saw more self-expression in men’s makeup, especially with popular online influencers like Bretman Rock, Manny MUA, Jeffree Star and James Charles. James actually ended up being the first male face of Covergirl.
Today, more and more men are experimenting with makeup and enhancing their natural beauty. It’s a completely different look from the overstyled statement looks of the past, and is more around simplicity, concealing imperfections and making the most of your natural attributes.
Humānery has been established to lead the rise of male beauty with an array of expertly curated independent men’s grooming and beauty brands.