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Men and Make-Up

And so the heavy discussion continues: Exactly when is it okay for men to put on make-up?

On Man-liners, Concealers and Brow Gels…

When GiGi O. first met Angel S., the first thing he commented on “were his eyes – his angelic eyes,” GiGi O. recalls. “I recall specifically saying: ‘You have such beautiful eyes.’”

Angel S., of course, just said thank you.

When they were going into the “business of getting to know each other,” as GiGi O. puts it, “I noticed my friends, who were standing not too far from where I was talking to Angel S., were trying to control themselves from laughing. So excusing myself, I approached them, asking them to at least share the joke that was tickling their funny bones to death.”

“You have such beautiful eyes,” one of them said to him, in between laughter, repeating to him what he just said.

“He does,” GiGi reasoned, then, thinking they may be thinking he was picking Angel S. up, he added: “And it wasn’t a pick-up like.”

More laughs.

“What?” GiGi O. was getting annoyed.

Even more laughs.

Then: “His eyes. Is not all natural. Is well made-up.”

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“I remember looking back, at Angel S.,” GiGi O. says, “and dissatisfied with what I was seeing from a distance, approached him tohave a closer look. True enough, he had makeup on. No wonder the beauty of his well-made eyes.”

And so is raised an issue that is now in application – Ought men wear makeup, or is it still too stereotypically feminine for men (including gay men) to pick up?


In Man, Your Face Looks Nice! Is it the Makeup? (Cosmetics: The Final Frontier in Male Grooming Trend), Lauren Sherman writes in, of all publications, Forbes Magazine (, that men should “not be surprised if very soon your toiletry kit contains not only shaving cream, deodorant and toothpaste, but concealer, oil-absorbing face powder, and brow gel. That’s because guys are relying on an increasing number of made-for-men products like these to put their best face forward.”

Wendy Lewis, author of The Beauty Battle: An Insider’s Guide to Wrinkle Rescue and Cosmetic Perfection from Head to Toe, as quoted by Sherman, states: “I think men are much more receptive to the whole grooming concept from start to finish. Makeup is sort of the final frontier. They’re certainly concerned about camouflaging imperfections. The idea of a little light dusting of powder is no longer an extreme measure.”

Getting a boost, of course, is the industry looking at giving men a boost as far as physical beauty is concerned – in 2008 alone, and in the US alone, $4.8 million was spent on male grooming products, 7% higher than 2007 figures, and a whopping 42% percent increase from 2001, according to Euromonitor.

In fact, if closer attention is given to the pharmaceutical companies producing cosmetic products, the targeting of men as a market is obvious, e.g. Clarin’s Self-Tanning Gel for Men, MAC’s man-liners, Eskinol’s face washes, et cetera. There has, in fact, been a “masculinization” of makeup to make it appealing to men.

“Makeup has become a more common part of the male beauty routine,” Sherman says.


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That makeup is gaining prominence is a given.

The bigger question is, just because makeup is there, should men wear them?

According to Chrissy Dolezal, writing for, “not only are men dabbling more with hair products and hair styles, more men are getting manicures and pedicures as well. Men have also started breaking into cosmetics and beginning to wear makeup on a regular basis.”

This is because, Dolezal adds, “men today have found that we women do not wear makeup because we like it, but because we need it. Cosmetics help us to have beautiful, perfect skin. It hides our acne problems, scars, and dark circles. It is makeup that helps our eyes appear larger (or smaller if you have prominent eyes), lashes longer, plus gives us those perfect pouty lips.”

There are, of course, the health benefits of make-up – e.g. from protection from pollutants, to harmful UV rays protection, to moisturization of the skin, et cetera; though the focus remains on the aesthetic value of the products. And here, says Sherman, quoting Lee Gilbert, who founded Montreal-based KenMen, is what to remember as far as this is concerned: “In order to get that competitive edge, they have to look better. They’re going to do whatever it takes — and there are products out there that can help them achieve this.”

Back in the party attended by GiGi O., “everybody just about started talking about Angel S. and his makeup,” he recalls.

Not that Angel S. minded, actually, since “upon knowing people are talking about his makeup, he just smiled and said, ‘But it worked, didn’t it?’,” GiGi O. says.

And this would be the very rule of application of makeup on men – as it is with women, for as long as it “enhances the attributes, it should be okay,” Angel S. says. ‘I was told I had beautiful eyes, wasn’t I?”

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