My introduction to men’s makeup happened in the early 2000s with guyliner, the dark, smudgy lids that celebrities like Johnny Depp and Jared Leto sported. But today it’s more than just a standout eye — it’s a movement. The growth of men’s beauty and fashion products has been outpacing that of women’s since 2010, and brands are catching on and cashing in.
Last November, Chanel launched Boy de Chanel in the United States with three essentials: foundation, lip balm and an eyebrow pencil, all created with men in mind. The collection competes with Tom Ford for Men, which includes concealer, bronzing gel, a brow definer and more.
“It’s not so much a trend but a question of zeitgeist,” says celebrity makeup artist Tyron Machhausen, who counts Rihanna, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington among his clientele. “The rules of gender representation are becoming increasingly flexible thanks to countless male beauty bloggers and more male representation on all kinds of media platforms.”
One such platform is Very Good Light, an online men’s beauty destination launched in 2016 by David Yi. Its mission? To redefine masculinity by broadening the concept and creating more inclusivity for the empowered man.
“We’re seeing that a one-size-fits-all approach to masculinity isn’t working,” he explains. “Toxic masculinity is now the subject of the moment, and everyone is paying attention to how and why men have been conditioned to be who they are. Broadening the definition of masculinity makes for more inclusivity, love and understanding, all of which help dismantle patriarchy. That’s powerful.”
Traditionally female-focused beauty brands like Milk, NYX and Urban Decay have all expanded their product ranges to be more inclusive. Here in Minneapolis, iconic retailer Martin Patrick 3 recently started selling Formen, touted as the world’s first male cosmetic house.
“We’re not selling lipstick or glitter sparkles,” says Martin Patrick 3 CEO Dana Swindler. “We’re selling confidence.”
So far, the shop’s top sellers have been Formen’s color correcting (CC) cream, dusting powder and concealer. Swindler explains that CC cream is an easy step up from a standard grooming regimen. It provides slight and discreet coverage for acne, scars and other skin imperfections.
As for how to use it? Machhausen’s expert advice: “Keep it easy. Color match in natural daylight. Blend, blend, blend. And remember that less is more. It’s makeup, after all, so experiment with it, have fun and don’t take it too seriously!”