Are You Down with Man Makeup?

Published in: Just For Fun


How would you feel if the guy in your life started to wear guyliner (aka eyeliner) and power bronze (bronzer)? Younger men these days are more open to wearing makeup — eyeliner, concealer, bronzer — than ever before. How do you feel about man makeup?


“When beauty companies started investing heavily in focus-group research a decade ago, a surprising fact came to light: Some men dip into their wives’ concealer, bronzer, even eyeliner.

‘Makeup for men is a small niche category, but it is definitely growing,’ says Roman Shuster, a retail analyst for Euromonitor International. He says the influence of rock bands like My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco, whose lead singers wear dark eyeliner and mascara, are making the idea of wearing makeup attractive for a younger generation of men.

‘If a guy had worn makeup 10 years ago, he would likely have been beat up. But that’s changed today because more men are getting into grooming. What was once considered weird isn’t so farfetched now that you are using moisturizer and body washes,’ Mr. Shuster says. He calls this the ‘spillover’ effect.”

-Dave Lackie, Financial Post

My brother won’t even touch the countless bottles of conditioner I give to him, and El Hub gawks at my every suggestion to use moisturizing skin products (“But it’s Kiehl’s, sweetie!”). I doubt the guys in my life will be asking if they can borrow my Stila Sun Bronzing Powder, but if either of them asked to borrow some concealer to cover a pimple or asked for a few blotting papers before a big interview, I wouldn’t mind.

For the Boys: Man Makeup in 7 Easy Steps

  1. Exfoliate with a gentle product like Clinique Seven Day Scrub Cream
  2. Apply toner
  3. Moisturize face (and neck!) with a lotion containing SPF
  4. Use a brush to properly apply concealer
  5. Dust loose or pressed powder onto forehead and face
  6. Apply a clear or neutral-colored lip balm
  7. Wash face before bed to remove makeup and to cleanse the skin

Apparently, even in nature male makeup makes a difference. Research conducted into the mating habits of New Jersey barn swallows (no joke!) revealed that male birds with feathers cosmetically darkened had higher testosterone levels and more luck with lady birds than those not wearing any male bird makeup at all. Talk about chick magnets!

G’morning, girls, and happy Wednesday! Who’s ready for a coffee break?

Last night I had grand plans to continue (start) my packing for our trip on Friday, but it so didn’t happen. Instead of packing, I ate half a tub of Haagen Dazs ice cream (dolce de leche, baby!) on the couch and watched a few old episodes of The X-Files. Yippee!

Procrastination is my master…

How was your evening?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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So far, 62 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    I am not against man make-up, but my BF is probably the last man alive that would ever apply make-up. He’s too lazy to shave most of the time and doesn’t even moisturize.

  2. Jessica says:

    I did date a couple guys at the end of h.s. and beginning of college who did the eyeliner thing. What can I say? We listened to The Cure A LOT. But the last time I was into a guy who wore makeup, I was 18. I’ve pretty much left all that behind now, you know? (Not The Cure, though. Disintegration is still in the desert-island top five.)

    What trips me out is how Ray Liotta looks like he’s wearing eyeliner, even though he isn’t. It’s crazy! Also, a look that I bet many women wish they had.

    I got my husband to use skin care after we started dating. He’ll only use one bar for face and body (currently Origins cream bar) and one moisturizer. Origins Have a Nice Day was on tap, but then he went shopping without me and the Origins SA got him to buy one that’s “made for guys” — but it doesn’t have SPF. Grr.

    Off topic, thank you for the Sonia Kashuk flat-topped brush recommendation! I got one last night and used it with my Tarte Natural Beauty cheek stain stick this morning. I love it!

  3. Amanda says:

    that bird story has me cracking up! I think the a lot of the bird world the males are the “pretty” ones, since they are trying to attract the females.

    Oye, I leave for a quick trip home tomorrow and haven’t started packing yet. Luckily it’s just for the weekend so I won’t have to take much. But I do need to bathe both dogs and wash their bedding–they are going too. πŸ™‚ but “grandma” (my mom) likes for them to arrive CLEAN. Plus I need to do my toenails before we leave. I spent most of last night doing laundry and getting the hubby’s bday presents together. We were supposed to play softball but got rained out-I was really bummed but did need the spare time.

  4. Mariah says:

    I think it’s a little weird seeing a guy in makeup. Eyeliner, mascara, etc. (Unless it’s Halloween or they are a professional rock star.) Also, there’s a Mac MA who’s a guy and is always in full face makeup when I go in to the local freestanding store. I have no problem with it, but I have bad memories of it because he gave me a horrendous makeover once. >.< (Black, black eyeliner, which never looks good on my lower lash line, and dark lined lips with nude gloss over it. O.O I looked like a gang member’s girlfriend. LOL)

    But I also think it’s atrocious that men ignore moisturizing! ESPECIALLY ignoring SPF moisturizers. I mean, they have made brands that cater to manly looking facial stuff. Like Clinique’s men’s line, or I think even drugstore brands do it too. Same stuff as regular, but just more manly looking.

    I mean, I know men age better than women, but there’s no reason to not to wear sunscreen!

    I can’t believe your brother doesn’t use conditioner though. I thought everyone used that. It’s like, in no way girlie.

  5. Janine says:

    I don’t think I have a problem with manly makeup. A little concealer and powder can do wonders for a woman’s psyche; probably for fellas too. I DO think men need to take their skincare more seriously, though. Doesn’t seem to be an issue for men under 35, but the older gents… sheesh.

    Just found your response to my comment re: the MAC wipes. You USED to have oily skin? DISH!

    Janines last blog post..Know THIS About Laser Hair Removal

  6. Susel says:

    I wouldn’t like it but thats just me πŸ™‚

    Susels last blog post...twenty-four.

  7. Tania says:

    Hey Karen! Me being a soul sista and all it’s natural for guys to care about their appearance. I mean all of the men in my family SWEAR by Noxema. My bro who looks like an inmate/gang member in his dickies and gold, loves manicures and pedicures. Totally depends on the dude I think. I do feel a little bit wierd looking at guys like Zach Effron cuz he’s so….pretty. I mean I feel like I need to step up MY game. Last night I had Papa John’s deliver me my fav (BBQ chicken and bacon pizza) and watched Dan in Real Life. Juliette Binoche is exquisite…..

  8. Ellery says:

    I’m a guy and I looove makeup. I usually just wear some foundation, powder, winged eyeliner and mascara but sometimes I wear eyeshadow. I think I can pull it off because people say I look very andgrogenous, and I have lots of confidence so anyone saying anything doesn’t bother me.

    I think more men should wear eyeliner though. The world would be a prettier place. C:

  9. Butta says:

    Oh hell nay! I can’t even wrap my mind around this concept for men who aren’t acting or singing on stage. That’s just downright suspect.

  10. Heidi says:

    Oh dear. I have a guy friend who wears Armani silk foundation only for special occasions. He looks the same, but better. Less than a 100 years ago, women were frowned upon for wearing rouge on their cheeks and lips. Perhaps men wearing makeup will become more acceptable in the future. But I wouldn’t want my bf to wear foundation.

  11. Megan says:

    LOL seriously… my ex b/f from a few years back was open to some non makeup skincare…such as I would suggest he try a specific face wash, exfoliator, cleanser…and he would…and he would use it regularly if he liked it. My current b/f thinks I’m nuts most of the time, but it’s only a matter of time. During the winter he had chapped lips and I was like oh use this (moisture surge) on them then wait five minutes and use lip balm or vaseline…and he looked at me like I had five heads. BUT…he did try it…and then he ended up thieving one of my travel size sample pots of moisture surge (not really…because I begrudgingly told him he could have it…knowing full well he would never dare buy the stuff for himself). I say it’s only a matter of time before I get him to exfoliate…which he laughs at me for. It’s kinda his joke…when I get something new…he asks me is that for exfoliation too? LOL

    Yeah I don’t think I could handle a guy wearing eyeliner…not my thing but definitely skincare and making their skin look better if they have bad skin is defintely acceptable.

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Erin,

    El Hub’s the same way. If I even come at him with a bottle of lotion he says, “Keep it away! It burns!”, LOL. Big baby!

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Disintegration is a most excellent CD. My fave Cure CD will always be Mixed Up, though… honestly, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listend to the Close to Me remix.

    Have you ever noticed how nice Ray Liotta’s lashes are? They are so curly and thick. So not fair!

    I’m super glad that you love the flat top! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it the best brush, and it’s SO CHEAP!

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    LOL, that’s totally something my parents would do if I had dogs! πŸ™‚

    Sweet! Your hubby is a Gemini, yes? Geminis rule… and yes, I’m saying that because I’m a Gemini! I’m sure he’ll love his presents!

    I need to do my toenails, too. They were hot pink last week (for SATC) but I’m thinking I’ll need to wear a bright red or orange for me trip!

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Mariah,

    Yeah, he’s got a TON of hair, too. It’s longer than mine and thicker. It would be so beautiful if he put some leave in conditioner at least! You’d think he’d want to reach out and grab a handful of nice smelling hair but noooo.

    I’ve tried repeatedly to trick both boys into using “manly” grooming stuff. I gave those gift sets for years as stocking stuffers and they just end up sitting on a shelf in the bathroom!

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Janine,

    LOL, girl… I wish I could say there was a serum or something, but honestly, I just got older. I hit my 30s and my skin became drier than good sarcasm.

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Susel,

    Yeah, I guess it depends on the person. I still dunno how I’d feel if El Hub came home with full on foundation, that’s for sure.

  18. Karen B says:

    Hmm, some concealer is fine, but apart from that it’s a big no-no for me.

    I’m off now, drooling some more over my desktop (with Fernando Torres… I’m a newly converted footie fangirl… Lotte convinced me)

    Karen Bs last blog post..Happy Birthday Lisa! ♥

  19. Karen B says:

    Hmm, some concealer is fine, but apart from that it’s a big no-no for me.

    I’m off now, drooling some more over my desktop (with Fernando Torres… I’m a newly converted footie fangirl… Lotte convinced me)

  20. Sylvie says:

    Hi Karen, kudos to you for the brilliant idea behind this post! I know both kinds of men in my life- my father will borrow (permanently) my mum’s MAC concealer (I must take him concealer shopping) whereas my brother refuses to wash his face with anything besides water if he washes his face at all. I’ve managed to start my boyfriend on a face-washing regiment (cleansing exfoliator + toner; he won’t use a moisturiser). I secretly doubt that he remembers to wash his face before bed unless I’m there but he maintains that he does and maybe I should start believing him. He hates the feeling of lip balm so I discreetly put on extra MAC lip conditioner before kissing him.:P He won’t let me put any eyeliner on him, not even for laughs. Please let me know how I can do that if you know of a way! Sometimes, I think it’s really unfair that guys don’t even care about themselves when we’d gladly die for the things they have like gorgeous eyelashes. When I’ve got 2-3 coats of Plushlash on and I ask my bf to look at me, he says “not bad, almost like mine but not quite.” Not fair!

  21. Janine says:

    “Drier than good sarcasm?” I LOVE it. THIS is why I’ll keep reading your stuff. Fun turns of phrase and the occasional naked Christian Bale photo. NICE!

  22. Amanda says:

    Yup, he is–his bday is Friday.

    I vote coral for your toesies-coral is just so “beachy” to me. I’m actually doing hot pink when I get home (periwinkle is what they were.)

  23. Vivien says:

    Zac can wear allll the makeup he wants, I’m still gaga over him!!!!!!

  24. Jenny says:

    As a beauty writer, if I only accomplish ONE thing, I’m making it man-makeup! No more letting the fellas off the grooming hook!

  25. geminiris says:


    Hey Karen, this is my first time posting a comment on your website, but I’ve been a fan of the site for a couple of months now. Anywho, seeing guys wearing makeup freaks me out, and I blame it on Wacko Jacko (a.k.a. Michael Jackson). I think my man is too hood for makeup anyway haha *whew*

  26. geminiris says:

    PS: I don’t mind when male makeup artists where makeup because then I can gauge whether they have bars or not, but that is my only exception =)

  27. LaurenIvy says:

    No man makeup for me, thanks..I’ve always liked rugged, athlete types so i doubt it πŸ™‚ Pretty guys are sooo not my type!

    LaurenIvys last blog post..I Meant to Go to Bed an Hour Ago

  28. Karen says:

    Hi Tania,

    WOW! That’s a completely foreign concept to me. I wish I could get the dudes in my life to swear by Noxema! That’s hot. And that’s so cute that your brother takes care of his hands AND toes. If I had a nickel for every time I saw El Hub with long, Dracula toe nails I’d be a RICH WOMAN.

    I could never date a Zac Efron or any boy of similar prettiness, either. I like them rough around the edges. Plus, I wouldn’t want him using my shampoo or my hair products. That stuff ain’t cheap! πŸ™‚

    Pizza and a movie sounds really good right now. I was too lazy to cook and ate a pretty gross Lean Cuisine, now I’m going to do some work before watching “The Real World.” How did you like your movie? I’ve been wanting to rent that one.

  29. Karen says:

    Hi Ellery,

    WORK IT, BABY!! πŸ™‚ I love you just do your own thing and that you have the confidence to pull it off. Kudos!

    LOL, I guess I wouldn’t mind men with well applied liner. A badly lined eye just won’t do. πŸ˜‰

  30. Karen says:

    Hey Butta,

    Okay, how about a lil’ brow gel? And suppose the brows were REALLY BUSHY?

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Heidi,

    I gotta say that your friend has great taste, cause I have a few samples of that foundation and it’s the sh*t! πŸ™‚

  32. Karen says:

    Hi Megan,

    Lucky girl! Your BF sounds really fun and nice. Does he like the new Moisture Surge reformulation? πŸ˜‰

    I really wish El Hub would be so open to using skin care products. Getting him to exfoliate would be like a Christmas miracle!

  33. Karen says:

    Hi Karen B.,

    I know zip about football so I had to google Fernando! Cute! Hmm, I wonder if he uses skin care products!

  34. Karen says:

    Hi Sylvie,

    That’s a great idea of putting on extra lip conditioner before kissing! I will have to try that in the future.

    LOL, I wish I could give you the secret to getting a guy to try beauty stuff. And I totally agree that it’s NOT FAIR when guys have gorgeous lashes. El Hub has the longest, most beautiful eyelashes, and for years I told him I wouldn’t marry him unless he let me take an eyelash curler to them. After we got hitched I took out the lash curler and was like, “Well, buddy, it’s time,” and he STILL refused to let me! He claims it was a ploy to get me to say “I Do!”

  35. Karen says:

    Hi Janine,

    Aww, thanks, girl! LOL, I’m glad the C. Bale pics are appreciated by others… WOOT!

  36. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Nice! I have hot pink on my toes right now. Coral it is, then. πŸ™‚

  37. Karen says:

    Hi Vivien,

    You and a buncha other women! I have an older friend who is NUTS over him. He’s not really my type but hey, I can acknowledge that he’s got some nice features.

  38. Karen says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Hey girl, we all gotta have goals. My mission is to get the world put SPF on their neck!

  39. Karen says:

    Hi Geminiris,

    Nice to meet you! πŸ™‚ Ahhh, Jacko. I really love his old music, and last week I went running and did sprints to Wanna Be Starting Something. It’s too bad he’s such a mess now.

    Girl, when I was single I liked hood boys, too. πŸ™‚

  40. Karen says:

    Hi LaurenIvy,

    I guess no Zac Efron for you then, huh? πŸ˜‰

    During the pre El-Hub years I wouldn’t date guys who had more hair products than I did.

  41. Megan says:

    LOL… he is fun… and I think it’s cute that he tries to act interested and ask me questions about my makeup and skin care… it’s usually either “What’s that do?” or “Is that for exfoliation too?” LOL He hasn’t tried the new moisture surge yet though…I do have it now though…I’ll have to ask him…

    Oh and I do that trick too with the lip balm…put extra on and give him a kiss…he’s onto me though…he’s all the time like what are you trying to make my lips shiny? LOL

  42. Karen says:

    That’s so cute! Now you have to take that boy to the next level…he needs to learn the difference between the crease, outer V and the waterline. πŸ˜‰

    Okay, I guess I am the slow to get on the lip balm trick train, LOL. El Hub needs some Stroke Kiss in his life!

  43. Karen B says:

    I think he does use some SPF at least. He’s Spanish and has loads of freckles…
    The Spanish NT had to play the USA and apparently it sucked… *rolls eyes* Maybe it’s for the better I didn’t catch the game.

    Karen Bs last blog post..Happy Birthday Lisa! ♥

  44. Karen says:

    Hi Karen B.,

    He better! I wish I knew more about soccer. The guys are kinda hot!

  45. Karen B says:

    I know! Lotte just got me into it and boy do I like it πŸ™‚
    What age would you put on Torres?

    Karen Bs last blog post..Happy Birthday Lisa! ♥

  46. Medina says:

    My 37 years old husband rocks guyliner and a military jacked about once a month on a night out. Otherwise he moisturises, uses Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser and steals my concealer to cover up an occasional spot. The trick with guyliner is that you can’t do it if you’re too groomed, a bit of raggedness is a must otherwise you wind up looking more like Pete Wentz rather than Johnny Depp.

  47. Sylvie says:

    Oh and regarding the lip conditioner and then kiss thing, I recently told my boyfriend that we should go shopping for lipstick together so that we can find something that looks good on me and on him too, considering that we always end up having the same lip colour within 30min after I’m done with my makeup. He rocks Lychee Luxe πŸ˜›

  48. Glosslizard says:

    I hafta confess, I confidently clicked on “Yeah, whatever he wants” knowing that my Hubby would never even go for concealer! πŸ˜‰

    I would’ve been down with it when we met in high school though, it’s one of those things that seems rebellious then, but kinda silly after he hits 30! Skincare, however, is a different issue!

  49. Karen says:

    Hi Karen B.,

    Maybe mid to late 20s by the looks of his pictures. He looks like he’s spent a lot of time in the sun. I will always have a soft spot for David Beckham, though. Le. Sigh.

  50. Karen says:

    Hi Sylvie,

    Oh! Lychee Luxe is one of my favorite Lipglass colors. That’s awesome that both you and your sweetie rock the same shades. πŸ™‚

  51. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Yeah, usually the mohawk/guyliner combo is completely acceptable (before 30). πŸ™‚

    Speaking of skin care, is he ready for toner? Or is that too big of a step right now?

  52. Karen B says:

    Yes, David does have things going on πŸ˜‰
    Wow, you’re pretty accurate age-wise. Most people get him around 18 while he’s 24. Lol.
    And he has loads of freckles, it’s funny. He’s not that tan for a Spaniard.

    Karen Bs last blog post..Happy Birthday Lisa! ♥

  53. Glosslizard says:

    I don’t think he could handle toner. What? A whole extra step once you’re out of the shower? Whaddya nuts? πŸ˜‰

  54. Lidia says:

    I am completely in favor of men make-up and cosmetic care. My boyfriend is a metrosexual guy and he is using cosmetic products, he is almost obssesed of getting tanned at a tannig center, and he sometimes uses concealer and lip balm. I adore him because he is not like all the rest of the guys, so neglected or sloven. He is absolutely addorable

  55. Karen says:

    Hi Karen B.,

    Oh, he’s still young! You can date him! πŸ˜‰

    I love the Spaniards! Man, they can party!

  56. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    I know, right? You know what would happen? He’d start using toner and then all of the sudden his skin would look airbrushed and perfect! So not fair! πŸ™‚

  57. Karen says:

    Hi Lidia,

    That’s cool that he takes of himself! Do you ever use his products?

  58. Lidia says:

    Hi Karen,

    His products are man type and they are for oily skin, so they are not compatible with my skin type. Sometimes HE uses my tweezers and my lil sis tonner when he is not at his place and his skin get’s oily.

    Lidias last blog post..Culoarea sezonului? Fuchsia!

  59. Karen B says:

    Of course I can date him, once he decides to break his engagement to Olalla (honestly, that’s her name…)

    Karen Bs last blog post..Happy Birthday Lisa! ♥

  60. Karen says:

    Hi Lidia,

    Yeah, El Hub steals my tweezers every once in a while, too. There was a phase when he was using my shampoo. It’s by Bumble & Bumble so it wasn’t cheap, and I found out he was using for both his hair and his body, LOL and ARGH!

  61. Karen says:

    Hi Karen B.,

    I have the same plans to date Christian Bale. πŸ˜‰

  62. stephanie says:

    Hi everyone. My BF is a nurse with long beautiful hair and femmine features. He is so into his hair and makeup and skin care and I realy appreciates that he wants to look good for me. I’m sorry most women wouldn’t appreciate a man like mine but he is the most caring and gentle person in the world. I love having so much in common with him and we both enjoy helping each other with our hair and makeup. He wears his hair pulled back for work but its curled and down when we are going out. We both love merle norman makeup and wear it daily. We also wear a french manicure. Ladies you ould be surprissed at how many compliments he gets on his hair or nails or his makeup. Si as you can tell I’m totally in to makeup for guys

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