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Is It Feminine For Men To Wear Makeup In India?

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Is It Feminine For Men To Wear Makeup In India?

The late 90s and 2000s saw an uprise in men's skincare products in the beauty market of India. Social media exposed men to beauty tips for men and the latest products for skincare. So if we think logically IT IS OKAY FOR MEN TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR SKIN, BEARD, HAIR, AND FACE COMPLEXION BUT IT IS NOT OKAY FOR THEM TO WEAR MAKEUP! WHY? India has its notions about men wearing makeup. "Oh! He isn't manly enough!",” Wearing makeup makes him more feminine!”, “What! There is makeup for men! Really?" These are a few lines one might hear from women and men across India discussing men’s makeup.

 As per a report by 6Wresearch India’s men’s grooming market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% by 2023. But this research and many others target only the grooming sector for men that includes skincare, haircare, beard grooming, and other aspects, none elaborate on men's makeup.

History Of Men’s Grooming & Skincare

makeup for men

The early 2000s saw skincare and fairness segments catering to the men’s market in India. From Emami to Garnier all have stepped into the men's skincare and grooming market. Diving into the aspirations of the men in India, the companies boldly introduced fairness creams and skincare face washes for Indian men.


By 2010 and onwards a new segment for men's grooming grew with a revamp in the Indian market. Where Gillette and P&G were players for aftershave, shaving creams, and razors, Indian companies like Beardo, Bombay Shaving Company, The Man Company, and many others came up with grooming kits for men. This created a rage in the men’s grooming market and opened new avenues for men to try and pamper their skin, beard, and hair.

Men & Men’s Makeup

For men to wear makeup is not a new concept. Egyptian men would put eyeliner around the eyes and men in Ancient Rome applied pigments on cheeks and nail paints. The word metrosexual was coined in the 90s that described a man who spends a lot of time and effort on his grooming.

In India, men since the Ancient Vedic period have been applying kohl to enhance their eyes. 

Popular Perception Towards Men Wearing Makeup In India

Although men have been applying makeup for decades in India either in theater, movie world, or weddings yet there are many popular perceptions towards those men who wear makeup frequently.

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  1. Is He Gay!

A perception generally built for men who wear makeup every day or follow the latest beauty tips for men. Makeup is associated with the LGBTQ community in India. Many feel that those men who keep up to date with grooming and makeup are either gay or bi-sexual.

  1. So Feminine

Makeup is popularly associated with women in India. When applying makeup to highlight their features it is considered to be feminine and they are associated with females.

  1. Has He Lost His Masculinity

Men to wear makeup in India mean the man losing his masculinity. The linking of makeup and the urge to look pretty and well-groomed to date is more of a feminine character in many societies in India.

  1. Men Should Look Rough & Tough Not Smooth & Silky

Honestly, this depends upon preference and opinions, men are meant to be rough and tough with scars and rough skin but women should be smooth and silky.  So any initiative by men wearing makeup to have even skin and highlight their features makes them feminine.

The Changing Era

It would not be fair to say that all the opinions stand against men wearing makeup. The new generation including Gen Z and millennials are bringing a change in the popular notion. Many YouTubers and bloggers are raising the topic of men’s makeup and giving beauty tips for men in makeup.

This is breaking the taboo of men wearing makeup being associated with feminine qualities. This change and revolution through social media and digital media channels are sure to bring equality between men and women and break through the stereotype of MAKEUP IS ONLY FOR WOMEN!

Below are a few bloggers who promote male makeup

  1. Siddharth Batra

  2. Ankush Bahuguna

  3. Zeeshan Ali

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I Knock Fashion Desk

Where all the screaming and shouting is about how women are discriminated against and suppressed by men in India, there is another truth that shows the other side of the coin. As male stereotypes and roles in society are so deeply engraved to being rough and tough any action or inhibition contrary to the popular belief system is detested by the Indian society. Men's makeup is another such topic that has many opinions and views in society but mostly talking openly about makeup for men in India is still a taboo in the process of being broken.

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