Men In Makeup

Should men in makeup be more accepted in our society?


Brendan Hennessy, Staff

Could men wearing makeup not only break gender stereotypes but also increase diversity and make today’s world a better place by changing the way people view masculinity? These questions have been asked for centuries and in the most recent years, this question has become more and more prominent as men become more interested in the use of beauty products. The only downfall of men wearing makeup is a large number of people within our society don’t always find it to be both acceptable and decent to associate or wear cosmetic products and be male. Though this is true men have been honestly wearing makeup since the beginning of its first usage.

In an article by Amanda Montell, published by Dotdash and supported by Byrdie, she describes the idea of how “masculinity was important in ancient Egyptian culture, and makeup actually played a role in that. As early as 4000 BCE, men used black pigment to create elaborate cat-eye designs.” Men have been wearing makeup since makeup was originally made and was used by men as a sense of power and wealthiness. Montell also specifies that, “It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that makeup was relegated to one end of the gender spectrum”, meaning makeup was originally non-gender based and has now been seen as a feminine product. The same article mentions, “As the rules of gender presentation become more and more flexible, makeup continues to slowly infiltrate some men’s everyday routines–not necessarily always in the larger-than-life fashion of youtube gurus, but in subtler ways.” It shouldn’t matter on gender, both men and women should be respected based on their life choices and how they chose to live. Hopefully, as our society advances into the future more and more people will realize that makeup has nothing to do with what you identify as but rather as how you fought to change gender stereotypes. 

In another article by Julia Brucculieri, supported by the Huffington Post, mentions, “Brands such as CoverGirl, Rimmel and MAC recently put men at the center of their marketing materials”, and, “Earlier this year, ‘Get Out’ star Daniel Kaluuya walked the red carpet at the Oscars wearing Fenty Beauty foundation”. Though the makeup industry has been dominated by women since “the mid-1800s” men have recently increased interest in the use of beauty products such as makeup. Even though makeup is still largely marketed to women, Andrew Grella the male founder of the cosmetics brand Formen, in the same article, describes that, “When I saw what the products actually did for my skin, I thought there should be a brand that was dedicated to that specific target demographic. Pretty much just targeted toward me.” Grella has one of the most successful male lead cosmetic brands and believes that the things that makeup and skincare products do for men and women are exceptional. Men and women both should be able to wear makeup and use skincare products, if they choose, and not have to be worried about being judged or deemed unworthy in our society.

On the other hand in an article by a data journalist Paul Hiebert on the statistics behind the acceptance of men in makeup he believes, “New data reveals that while only 11% of the public thinks it would be good if males started wearing makeup”, and, “America isn’t ready for men in makeup.” While his data may show that only 11 percent of the public accept men in makeup this would be considered untrue because he only tested a small group of people for his data, yet the reason behind why this is can be deemed accurate. In another piece of research he conducted in his surveys, his data states, “37% of Millennials aged 18-34 say it’s acceptable for men to wear mascara, compared to just 25% of those aged 35-54 and 9% of those 55 and older.” In recent studies, like this one, most older men and women believe that it is not acceptable while most younger people believe it is more acceptable and a lot better for both our society and the individuals within it. As time passes more people will slowly start to become more and more accepting of the idea of men in makeup and hopefully, a gender stereotype will not be included in these amazing products anymore. 

In this article by, they talk about the largest male makeup using country worldwide and it turns out, “South Korean men spent $495.5 million on skincare last year, accounting for nearly 21 percent of global sales, according to global market research firm Euromonitor International.” South Korea seems to be one of the most male makeup using countries worldwide and makeup in South Korea is seen as a sign of cleanliness and wealth. In the same article, it establishes that, “The metamorphosis of South Korean men from macho to makeup over the last decade or so can be partly explained by fierce competition for jobs, advancement, and romance in a society where, as a popular catchphrase puts it, ‘appearance is power.’ Women also have a growing expectation that men will take the time and effort to pamper their skin.” Both the economy and relationships are based on self-care and appearance with not only the basic skincare products but also things like mascara, eyeliner and concealer to cure imperfections or just feel plain powerful. South Korea seems to be one of the most successfully accepting countries for men in makeup and should be seen as very diverse in so many different ways.   

There are multiple pieces of information behind the reason why men wear makeup as well as how long they’ve been wearing it to not only break gender stereotypes but also just to feel proud in the way they take care of themselves. Makeup can be defined as an art form not based on gender, but rather on how you use cosmetics to both enhance specific features and restore or improve your appearance.