Make up your (narrow) minds, makeup’s for everyone

23.11.2018 | By MICOL PIOVOSI

Makeup is just for women: that’s what people used to think back in the old days. Not in the ancient days though. History teaches us that men used to wear makeup: ancient Egyptians wore eyeliner, Romans used rouge and nail polish and Elizabethans and Georgians applied face powder.

So why did men stop using makeup?

During the reign of Queen Victoria I, male grooming faded into the background. Also, the Queen had declared that cosmetics were vulgar and unladylike, asserting that only promiscuous women would wear makeup. During the Victorian Era, the Church held much power, explaining why at that time makeup was considered the work of the Devil. Due to the stigma of using makeup, the link between vanity and homosexuality may or not have formed. All of this led to the pressure to be masculine in a homophobic society.

The big challenge in modern times has always been getting men to understand that makeup can be manly – of course, if that’s what you want to go for. In the last decades, makeup only worked for goths, punks, and queer males, but not for the straight folks. Yet everything should be a choice for everyone! Men can wear makeup too, whether they want to use it as useful help or as a way to look fabulous.
Many companies have been trying to do so for decades, actually. Sometimes in a curious way – like calling the eyeliner “guyliner”, which might sound slightly too creative.


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Thanks to male makeup vlogging though, the idea that every man can wear makeup started to spread. Following this new current, many brands are finally launching successful makeup lines for men.

Just like Boy De Chanel, Chanel’s first line for men: foundation, eyebrow pencil and lip balm. The line has debuted in South Korea in September and will be rolled out in the rest of the world in November. However, male cosmetics still make up less than 1% of the global beauty market, although 15% of UK men under 45 bought makeup in 2016.


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Will the stigma around makeup for men ever change?

Jamie Ward, male makeup vlogger says “Yes. Since I began my mission to prove makeup is genderless, I have received a fair amount of criticism from small-minded individuals, but the vast majority have embraced the idea and have been keen to learn more! You’ll never please everyone, and that’s OK. I find the opinions of negative individuals irrelevant and their nasty comments just make me fight that little bit harder each day to prove that men shouldn’t be embarrassed to wear makeup!”

Thankfully, new generations like tough challenges.