Speak On It

Men In Make-Up

I’m looking into the stigma against men in make-up – is it seen as emasculating? What’s the difference between a cheeky bit of guyliner and a full face of make-up and where does the line sit for people to find it socially acceptable?

When reading into the history of make-up and where it originated from I discovered one of the earliest known applications of make-up was by Egyptian men and women. Both men and women during this time wore eye shadow. Green was the popular colour and they would apply it to their top and bottom eyelids. Brow and eyelash enhancers were staples as well. These types of cosmetics were made by combining black oxide, carbon, and other substances, sometimes with toxic properties, to give them a dark, almost gothic look.

The use of make-up existed in Europe also with men and women from aristocratic classes platering chalk powder and white lead on their faces for a ghostly look. During that period, the pale look was very desirable as it distinguished the wealthy from the common people. Nowadays make-up is worn to enhance features: so when did this stop being a sign of wealth and become less socially acceptable for men to wear make-up?

There is an argument that men wearing make-up can be emasculating and lead people to stereotype and labeled as homosexual. Many celebrities such as Johnny Depp and Russel Brand are seen as attractive and masculine yet I can’t seem to discover where the fine line is between men in make-up to the point where is not the norm.

When asking people’s thoughts on twitter and tumblr, someone suggested that people are afraid when it comes something different, for example drag queens.

If people become less sheltered to all the different subcultures then maybe there will be less of a stigma. I love the feeling of wearing make-up and being able to ‘do myself up’, it allows me to express myself, so why shouldn’t guys be able to?

At Illamasqua we love men in make-up! We stand for non-conformity and breaking the mould! We recently held a competition where by Make-Up Artists & enthusiasts could submit their ‘Masqualine’ face charts to us and the looks we received were stunning, using bold colours and designs when it came to applying make-up to men. Here are the winners face charts…

(Winners in image order: Blanka Bare, Jack Tyson, Qamar Zaman, Samual Froggart, Sarah Reddin.)

We also have a Pinterest board dedicated to men in make-up. If you haven’t visited our Pinterest page yet then see it by clicking here.

What are your thought’s on men in make-up?

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Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert