My friends at Ulta Beauty inform me that guys asking about foundation do so in whispered tones and looking around sheepishly like they’re trying to score a crazy party drug. And yet, men have worn makeup for an eternity. People in ancient Egypt, around 3,000 B.C., thought wearing makeup gave them protection from the gods. I would argue today, a little blush brings them on. Later, Queen Victoria associated makeup with the devil and referenced makeup as a horrendous invention by the Crown and the Church associating makeup with femininity. And men went back in the closet. The last part we already knew.
Today, one of three men under thirty would consider wearing makeup, and another thirty percent are a maybe yes. Women often hear they should go all out because “they’re worth it,” and soon, men are going to make you wonder if they were “born this way.”
New perceptions of gender–more specifically, the greater acceptance of gender fluidity and things like choosing your personal pronoun — have opened the door to men’s acceptance of more traditionally feminine products and services. However, the marketing of cosmetics for men still retains a heavily masculine sensibility, but this is changing.
Apparently, young, early adopter men are open to covering up, not glamming up. Their attitudes about beauty differ from their male peers overall. There’s widespread agreement on caring about one’s appearance; men ages 18-29 are more likely to reject the idea that it’s taboo to wear makeup and less likely to report discomfort over usage of products primarily marketed toward the opposite gender.
Educating men about products and getting guys to experiment is already starting and propelling the growth of the men’s makeup category with an educational approach to re-familiarizing men with products they know of but never thought were suited for them.
I showed my concealer stick to my neighbor friend in his fifties, “Is that a lipstick?” he asked. “No,” I replied, “you use this to cover up your wrinkles, wanna try it?” he said, “no, thanks.” I’ll bet you dinner that a guy in his twenties would probably say, “Cool,” and not only know what it is but wonder if it’s in his shade.
Hearing the opinions of so many people and varied lifestyles in the creation of The Macho Men photos convinced me it’s time for beauty salons and barbershops to openly assist men in looking their best through cosmetics. A men’s cosmetics section in our stores is viable. I suspect the introduction might be along the lines of these Macho Makeup images, subtle, protective, as in sun protection and healing, and enhancing a man’s confidence and style. But what do I know?? I just wear the stuff.
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