Is The Male Make Up The New Thing?

Back in February, David Beckham graced the cover of LOVE 20.5. Styled by Kim Jones. He wore a Dior open neck white suit, with bright green roses and bird tattoo spiraling up his neck and bright blue eyeshadow.

Is The Male Make Up The New Thing? 1
David Beckham on the cover of LOVE magazine

Yes, an eyeshadow. Miranda Joyce, who worked as the make-up artist says “With the lighting and pose, David reminded me of David Sylvian from (1970’s and 80’s band) Japan. It seemed right to add eye make-up, the bright blue that Bowie wore in the Life on Mars video.” 

She continued “I knew David could make it work, even though it wasn’t something he’d done before.”

It’s certainly a great portrait of the star. Yet what really got everyone’s attention was the eyeshadow

Men And Makeup

Over the past few years, men are no strangers to the art of make-up. Alexander the Great was a fan, while the Picts daubed their faces in blue woad. However, somewhere in the 1800s, someone decided that real men don’t wear make-up. Following the ‘smart’ declaration whenever a man did, it was in the spirit of transgression. 

Artists like Bowie and Prince weren’t just trying to look cool, they were challenging what society knew about gender, sex, and society.

Is Male Make-up About To Go Mainstream?

We have one of the world famous faces wearing make-up. What does that change in the industry?

Men’s cosmetic line has been launched by Chanel and Tom Ford and male make-up artists Manny Gutierrez and James Charles as front men for US mega brands like Maybelline and Covergirl respectively. 

Gutierrez and Charles are part of a powerful influencer group of men in make-up, including Jeffree Star and others.

Behind the foundation, lip balm & eyebrow pencil, 80% of the fan base of these influencers are young girls. 

Do they challenge the conventional notion of masculinity?

Why are men still so resistant to the idea of facial decoration? 

Basically, from childhood boys are told to be against it. Despite the claims of increasing metrosexuality, gender norms men are by far stronger. Analysis of toy marketed to a young boy, show that the messages are to be strong, brave and not to invest in your appearance. However, for girls, beauty is key. 

Today, a male-grooming business, valued at $57.7 billion in 2017 is growing tremendously. According to research and Markets, the market for male-cosmetics is set to reach a staggering $74.6 billion by 2023. And it’s not just Nivea; I mean posturing foundation, bronzers, concealers and brow definers- proper cosmetics.

It could be argued that the more lines are blurred between the sexes, the better life will be for everyone. “Masculinity is still such a fragile concept; the fact that Beckham wearing eyeliner is headline news shows how little things have changed,” says LGBT activist Jeffrey Ingold.

Beckham in make-up communicates a certain liberation from the norm; he’s a sportsman and a businessman and a style leader and, on the cover, I think he personifies modern masculinity, confident to step out of his comfort zone and experiment.

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