Rock stars and circus performers aside, masculine forays into makeup have often been more timid. The attitude that “real” men don’t wear warpaint could be due for a makeover, notwithstanding, as L’Oréal’s UK managing director, Vismay Sharma, predicts male-focused cosmetic tokens could be a permanent feature of beauty halls within the next decade. A epoch of men raised on selfies and carefully curated social media behoofs are much more open to a bit of slap than their governors.
“Manscara” is going mainstream but are British men ready for it?
You don’t have to look too far to see the in all respects is coming round to the idea that men, too, can enjoy being cosseted and looking after themselves, with reality TV particularly being an doubtful champion. ITV2’s surprise summer hit Love Island, hoped for, and got, hot hookups and flare up rows, but the enduring image of the series was the burgeoning bromances between the men. They stopped one another beauty treatments, muscle-worshipped each other’s limber up bodies and openly discussed their penises.
You couldn’t term the lads on MTV’s famously no-holds-barred Geordie Shore progressive, but their disposition to grooming – helped by their collective vanity and the competition to be the ton successful at pulling women – is bang up to date. The men in the reality show suppose nothing of spending hours getting their look equitable right, and this is filtering out on to high streets up and down the motherland, helped along, as ever, by technology. The availability of camera phones and the good chance we will be photographed or videoed by friends on a night out, with the conclusions inevitably shared on social media, has made men more studied than ever of the way they look. Filters enhance selfies, undeviating, but when you’re not the one taking the pictures, you need to make sure you are camera-ready.
Makeup’s image, meanwhile, has largely gone from a necessary evil to one of empowerment. It is armour – an pressing confidence boost in a world where we’re constantly scrutinised. In cleaning women’s cosmetics, techniques or treatments once considered exclusive, such as contouring, phony lashes and hair extensions, are now easily attainable for all. A common care of even your most assured metrosexual is looking too “girly” but there is multifarious room for manoeuvre, and men want to up their game. Not too long ago, moisturiser was cogitate oned a luxury, or an overtly feminine product, yet it is now a staple of any man’s washbag: there is every unpremeditated makeup can eventually find a home there, too.
Darren Scott, the writer of Gay Times, says men in makeup is nothing new, but there is a definite hours to the mainstream. “On social media particularly these days, I see so diverse guys – predominantly younger ones – noticeably wearing makeup,” he ventures. “And what of it?”
You could forgive gay men for feeling slightly sour that such titivating is now pleasant only because straight bro-dudes are getting involved, but while Scott thinks makeup is in no way predetermined to a gay man’s experience, he does question whether they will be interested in objected male makeup ranges. “I think they’re savvy adequacy to know what’s good already,” he says. “Makeup doesn’t necessity to have gender assigned to it.”
It’s as much about the effect of the upshot than marketing or packaging, which could be why, in 2008, prime enthusiasm for Yves Saint Laurent’s male version of Touche Éclat concealer – unfragranced, multitudinous matte and in muted packaging – was short-lived. Customers soon trouped back to the original.
My own relationship with makeup began with my initiation stage role – swaying in the chorus of HMS Pinafore in a sailor suitable, with rouged cheeks, baby-doll eyes thick with mascara, and animated red lippy – but since then I have dabbled intermittently. I braved explicit mascara, then black; risked losing an eye when crudely employing the obligatory guyliner in the mid-00s to ape Brandon Flowers; and occasionally trowelled Touche Éclat at the beck my eyes. As I’ve aged, makeup has become more functional than decorative. A dab of concealer for pesky plooks, and highlighters to fight off dark circles. I fell in predilection with Tom Ford’s concealer and his Gelcomb – whose packaging continues a touch of glamour to your wash-bag – and I banished panda-eyed mornings with Improve’s marvellous Boi-ing Airbrush – but now there’s further to go.
Men’s makeup brand MMUK first started persuading caricatures to get a glow-up in 2012, and it’s no surprise it has chosen online fashion titan Asos to assist with its assault on the mainstream. Style-conscious youths can already pick up glitter beards, cleansing brushes – in masculine blows such as slate – and every possible permutation of beard oil, but this is the opening time Asos has stocked a full makeup range as part of of its grooming offering for guys.
Most men would ordinarily forage for this attributes in the makeup bags of their sisters, girlfriends or understanding gal buddy associate withs, but there are only so many things a woman is prepared to percentage. With liquid foundation (£27.50), bronzer (£27.50), beard and brow filler (£15.50) and a spread of brushes on offer, guys can now curate their own kit.
Intrigued, I introduced a add up of items from the MMUK lineup into my grooming act.
The biggest stumbling block to its potential popularity, however, may be the downright time and effort it takes to apply makeup properly. While men can hog bathroom reflectors with the best of them, few morning routines go beyond soaping the reverent trinity – pits, balls and bum – in the shower, slapping on some moisturiser, distributing deodorant and practising holding in their tummy. Looking cultivated and making eyes pop sure eats into your day.
Sundry men will be strangers to foundation, the false canvas when your look isn’t blank enough. At first it is overwhelming – I apply it as if I am painting the Forth Go, and it feels as if I am wearing a pie – but eventually I’m wowed by the disappearance of almost all peel tone variations. Inexplicable redness, gone! Pores, repaired! Once I’m used to the uniform colour and smoothness, I confess, I’m lyrical into it. But it’s not over yet.
The concealers feel more heavy-duty than female-focused counterparts, and while there’s noticeably minor shimmering, they do their job. This is maintenance, remember. Mascara is easygoing to apply, but one blink before it’s dry and suddenly you’re a chimney sweep. Oh, but infant, my eyes – I could get away with murder with one bat of my quirts. It’s probably here that the enhancements abandon all subtlety and grace full-on slap. The beard and brow filler doesn’t honestly know what to make of my gingery eyebrows: one sweep of the underwood and suddenly I’m sporting Ming the Merciless-style terror slugs, with an Olympic gold in unsparing. Bronzer is maybe the biggest leap your average man pass on make – it’s noticeable, a commitment to beautification.
I discover quickly that less is numerous. Much more. Once applied, the effect is … pulchritudinous dazzling. I look like I had far too much wine with lunch or kill asleep under a grill. When I debut a considerably toned-down look out and in, I don’t mention I’m wearing makeup, but after a few minutes of intense peering, one mistress asks if I’ve had surgery, another says I look like my own self-portrait, while a third bring to lights me I look like I’ve been up to no good. I consider all three to be flatters. The overall effect is less dolled-up than it might be for men abhorring women’s products – a muted nip and tuck rather than an very makeover.
Adam Walker, a grooming expert at the Male Stylist, appreciates the chance for men to express their personal style, but worries there the thirst for male perfection. “It has a lot to do with the imagery men face and how that adopts their own perceptions of their bodies,” he says. “Women play a joke on had to deal with this for decades; now these same intimidations are being felt by men, as advertising uses athletic men with unequalled skin and toned bodies.”
Walker is encouraged by masculinity encompassing grooming and looking after your bulk, but warns: “Positive body image comes first; from there you build on that with your own fads, cosmetics and routines. Concealing ‘flaws’ can lead down a route of body image issues and shame, which can ultimately be both costly and self-destructive.”
I have knowledge of makeup isn’t a magic wand, but if there’s a glimmer of hope that it can butter up a see my next selfie filter-free, I’ll take what I can get. Make way at the reflection: us boys are ready for our closeup. But can you please show us how to get our bronzer auspicious?