Men wearing makeup in the media


Screenshots by Simone Ledbetter

From left to right: Manny MUA, Antonio Beauty, Kendrick Rojas, Gabriel, and Patrick Starrr.

Increasingly, men are becoming bolder in the makeup community, wearing vibrant, full-face makeup on social media or in public.

Names like Manny MUA, Patrick Starrr, James Charles and Antonio Beauty are much more widely known. James Charles and Patrick Starrr, in particular, have been seen in a few commercial advertisements, in CoverGirl and MAC Cosmetics respectively.

However, while men have become more socially accepted, people still feel there can be improvement in the representation of men wearing makeup in the media, especially men of color.

Lack of representation

“In the makeup world many brands avoid showcasing boys wearing makeup”, said Affinity Magazine in a video on Twitter.

In response to his presence in the video, social media makeup artist Antonio Beauty responded through Twitter, “It’s an honor to be a part of a video shedding light on the lack of representation and inclusivity.”

Skyline cosmetology professor Carmen Richardson spoke in a recent interview with The Skyline View on the topic.

“You can’t just have something and represent one group; you have to represent everybody,” said Richardson.

She said if advertisements for cars only portrayed men, women would feel they could not buy cars. She also stressed the importance of equality for all human beings. And while she does not know many men that wear much makeup and none that are straight using makeup, she believes all people should be represented.

When a man is seen wearing makeup, he is typically assumed to be gay or feminine in demeanor. The presence of makeup has for years been closely connected to gay culture, and is still often viewed as such.

However, nowadays many men wear makeup, not with the attempt to appear more feminine, but to combine the art of makeup with their masculinity. This can be seen through the presence of beards, and masculine clothing and hairstyles, with full-face makeup.

Joy Marbello, an esthetician student at Skyline, talked about her many male co-workers who wear makeup and do makeup at Sephora.

“In fact, one of the gentlemen I work with has a big black beard and he still wears full face makeup with his big beard,” said Marbello. “I think it’s really great that men can still be masculine but then still have a feminine side where they’re embracing makeup and color, and being able to offer that on their clients as well.”

Makeup artists as role models

Marbello thinks a lot of makeup companies are opening up to men wearing makeup, and that makeup artists like Jeffree Star are the ones who really opened that door. She mentions how she recently met a 9-year-old boy that was dressed like a skater kid, but loved makeup and would often do his own makeup tutorials and go to Sephora to buy makeup with his mom.

“But he’s this little tiny boy that loves skateboards, loves boyish stuff, but he loves makeup and I think it’s really great that his mom is supporting him and embracing that. And I think him watching all those other males on YouTube doing tutorials kinda opened the door for him to embrace it himself.”

She feels that living in San Francisco, seeing a man wearing makeup feels much more normal to her and that brands have really opened up in portraying males. It is especially becoming more common on YouTube and Instagram, and she personally knows multiple straight men who love makeup.

However, while she felt that brands are more accepting of men wearing makeup, they could embrace it a bit more and utilize media as a platform for men to be expressive, and make it a more comfortable experience. She mentions while it is becoming more common in the Bay Area, it is important for the concept to be portrayed in advertisements for people to be comfortable with the concept worldwide.

Niecy Mosley, an esthetician student at Skyline, felt that media portrayal was especially important for representation.

“It has a huge impact when you don’t see yourself represented in anything, because you’ll feel like you can’t do it and that you’ll be an outcast if you try to do it, or that overall it’s unattainable.”

She states that whether someone looks like you, has a similar background as you, or is trying to achieve the same things as you, they will give you the drive and confidence that it is attainable. She also relates the topic to the Fenty Beauty line, and describes how Rihanna was successful because her representation of many shades of color and how she demonstrated there is a market for everyone, not just what brands choose to show.

“If we don’t get that representation, there’s a lot of people out there who won’t go for their dreams just because they haven’t seen for themselves that it can be done,” said Mosley.