Monday, 11 April 2016

Are men missing out?

So, I've been spending the last week or so working in Beauty in Paris. I've been interviewing women about their beauty choices, reading about how mothers deal with introducing beauty regimes to their daughters, and I've even undergone a makeover myself.

Having my face 'done' by an expert

But there's one voice that I've yet to hear: that of men.

It makes absolute sense to me that men should be just as interested in their visual appearance as women. It's not as though there's no historical basis for men using makeup. We'll avoid diving back to the Ancient Egyptians or the Renaissance for the moment and stick to the 20th and 21st centuries... Obvious examples like David Bowie and Boy George continue the idea of makeup is a feminine trait whilst celebrating their gender-spanning artistry. But who ever thought Elvis Presley effeminate for wearing black mascara to accentuate his baby blues? Or Johnny Depp less of a man when he portrayed the heavily made-up Jack Sparrow? Male style icons have used makeup throughout the decades and used it to set the standard for facial attractiveness.

Now, in this new millennium where gender has moved from a binary choice to a fluid spectrum and where a man can be the brand ambassador for a line of luxury womenswear, it seems only logical that makeup use should be normalised amongst our masculine friends.

Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith) modelling a very expensive skirt ensemble with his female colleagues

It certainly doesn't seem to be something that's talked about openly, unless you're a young vlogger on a mission, but there's much evidence to suggest that 'grooming products' like tinted moisturisers, bronzing powders and beard-filling pencils are on the rise. They're sold by specialist providers and I've seen them in men's bathroom cabinets (Airbnb hosts, do you really expect us not to look?). But I've never heard them mentioned in conversations.

YouTube's Beauty Boy (link above) publishes tutorials on how to get that 'no makeup' look

And, perhaps most surprising, the big makeup brands are not capitalising on it. You can walk into a prestigious beauty store in Paris and head straight for the men's fragrances, but those delectable little coloured pods on the other side of the room are clearly marked NOT FOR YOU.

So what do you say, chaps - are you being massively overlooked? Is makeup something that appeals, or indeed something you already like to indulge in? Are there still stigmas that prevent you giving it a go, or would you rather steer clear of the whole thing altogether?

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