As this modern world is moving forward, the gender demarcations that were once very clear, are slowly blurring. People have become more accepting towards many things that were considered a taboo earlier. One of them is - men wearing makeup. Thanks to our social media age and many male MUAs, we can now say that men's makeup is breaking the taboo and becoming more gender inclusive. In the recent past, CoverGirl announced James Charles as its newest face and many saw it as groundbreaking. But, is men wearing makeup really new? - History states otherwise.
If we look deeply in our history, the use of feature-enhancing makeup by men has a strong place. Men have profusely used makeup from 4000 BC through the 18th century, till it was considered as an abomination by the church and the Queen Victoria I of Great Britain in the mid-18th century. This further narrowed the definition of masculinity and by the 20th century, makeup was seen as only a girls’ thing.
There are many artifacts from that time with men wearing makeup.
Makeup played an important role in highlighting the masculinity of ancient Egyptian men in early 4000 BC. Men used almond kohl to create dramatic cat-eye designs as it communicated wealth and status.
A few decades ahead in history, Roman men were known to dabble their face with powder, pigment their cheeks in red and paint their nails in pig’s blood and fat. After a long-long period, male vanity came again with the arrival of the cinema. Metrosexual beauty made its way to the golden screen.
Since the mid-20th century, makeup was associated with femininity and was perceived as the women’s routine. However, with people becoming more aware and open towards metrosexual beauty, the taboo around men’s interest in skincare and makeup has decreased. Therefore, the male grooming industry is now worth multi-millions, worldwide. Once seen as only a “girl’s thing”, grooming products and makeup have now made their way in to a man’s cabinet. This has resulted in beauty sections dedicated to men's makeup in stores.
However, makeup brands still face the challenge of making men believe that, makeup can be manly. Many companies have been struggling for decades to make men's makeup a medium of breaking the taboo and winning their confidence either by rebranding their products or by packaging them differently. Some also debate that makeup actually gives masculine benefits as contouring helps pronounce jawline.
Makeup is one of the most vlogged topics on the internet. Everyone’s Instagram feeds are flooded with makeup videos by many male vloggers namely James Charles, Patrick Starr and others. These MUAs have more than 6 million people following them on different platforms. A survey also states that their audience comprises of 11% of males.
The Advertising industry is also playing a vital role in promoting makeup for men. Many brands have featured famous male makeup vloggers in their videos. As mentioned above, CoverGirl’s bold move of featuring a male on its cover page for the first time in its history is also a good example of how brands are trying hard to penetrate in the male market. They are also taking up masculine faces and celebrities to endorse their brands - Garnier Men's face wash by the famous actor John Abraham.
Just like women, men too wish to feel and look beautiful. They too wish for a clear and glowing skin. Many men have now stopped caring about the gender double standards of the society and have started making efforts to care for their skin.
Following a regimen of washing their face with a facewash, moisturizing their skin and treating concerned skin issues with specialized creams is a regular part of a man's life now. Many men have boldly embraced their will of grooming. They have stepped up and picked the right makeup to cover their dark circles or blemishes. They have matched the right foundation for a flawless looking skin. Men have started being a part of the makeup world that they had lost touch with for more than a few decades.