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The (Re)Emergence of Men’s Makeup

Beauty has evolved since the first Caveman Ball. Makeup, in particular, provides us with an expanded sense of identity. It gives us strength, illuminates our creative side, redefines our lines and elicits new personalities we never knew were there.


In last 50 years alone we’ve grown through many popular looks, from the natural eyebrows and shimmer shadows of the 70’s to the bold eyes and blush of the 80’s. We’ve embraced face jewels and body glitter in the 90’s, then fake tans and frosted tips in the 2000’s.



In the 2010’s, Kim Kardashian spread the art of contouring, while Kylie Jenner’s overlined lips went viral. Dewy skin was in, and inclusivity became a much larger part of the discussion. When Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty released 40 shades of foundation, people of all skin tones rejoiced. Many brands have followed suit releasing new products for every shade.


In the 2020’s, with all the new colors and all the new blends, what will emerge as the biggest trend?


Simple. More Men’s Makeup.


For the first time in centuries, thanks to social media and male beauty influencers, makeup is becoming more gender-inclusive. This concept, however, is hardly new.


From 4000 BCE to the 18th century, men used makeup for all kinds of purposes. As early as 4000 BCE, men used green eye shadow to evoke the gods and ward off harmful illnesses, while dramatic eyeliner was worn to communicate wealth and status.



During the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, makeup was wildly popular among men who valued ghost-white powdered skin. In 18th-Century France, men of the royal court painted on beauty marks. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that Queen Victoria I deemed cosmetics vulgar, thus makeup was considered "an abomination" by the crown and "the Devil's work" by the church.


In the 1900’s, hair and makeup for men reemerged on polished Hollywood stars. Later in the 20th century, makeup for men was ‘highlighted’ by music artists like David Bowie and Prince.


In the 2000’s, male beauty gurus exploded across social media and the concept of "metrosexuality" re-entered the cultural consciousness. Major beauty companies like Covergirl and Maybelline took notice and began to release targeted "makeup for men."



We are now experiencing the tip of the iceberg of the men’s makeup revolution. As the rules of gender presentation become more flexible, makeup infiltrates deeper into men's everyday routines. When it used to only be used for stage, men are now using cosmetics for clearing up imperfections and creating everyday looks without any stigmas.


Generation Z is now at the forefront of culture, leading a more progressive and open, sexually fluid movement. People growing up with the idea that you’re not tied to the gender you’re born with, and beauty can be anything for anyone.


With less stereotypes to barricade male beauty, the men’s personal care market is expected to hit $166 billion in 2022. Led by this new wave of consciousness, will 2020 officially witness men’s makeup coming out of the cupboard?

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