by Robin Gillie
Forget about stubble, it’s all about the five o’clock eyeshadow as more men reach for rouge over razors
Peer into the dark corners of any department store in 2017 and you’ll find a modest but highly-detailed collection of beard oils, hair tonics and man-bun ties.
This is the rise of the male beauty industry. The confines of traditional masculinity have been banished.
In 2013, men for the first time spent more money on male-specific toiletries than shaving products. This meant that not only were men looking for moisturisers over razors, but that the definition of traditional masculinity was starting to change. Forget beauty routines centred around hygiene, men were beginning to openly spend on their appearance. A new market was born.
American cosmetics brand CoverGirl recently appointed James Charles, an Instagram-famous male makeup artist, as their new beauty ambassador, stating: “One year ago, he boldly chose to launch his Instagram to the world, using transformative, dynamic makeup looks to showcase the many facets of his personality, serving as an inspiration to women, men, guys and girls who might have been afraid to do the same.”
Charles sought to ensure CoverGirl mascara was available to anybody who wanted to use it, and he is not alone.
New male faces, Bret Manrock and Manny Gutierrez, have become famous from YouTube makeup tutorials, streams of Instagram content and sponsorships from prominent brands.
Gutierrez recently became Maybelline’s first male ambassador and is set to appear in mascara campaigns soon.
He has said, on YouTube, “I believe that men can wear makeup, teach makeup and vlog about it just as much as girls can and I am fighting for that equality.”
A quick survey of my peers revealed that even the most stereotypically masculine male spent time fixing his man bun. A more primped and polished guy unashamedly stated that the luxury of his “£60 hair treatment and amazing head massage was worth every penny”.
Slowly the beauty counters fill with a diverse range of faces and cater to a new client, the male.
Judith Butler, in her feminist text Gender Trouble, wrote that gender is “an ongoing discursive practice, it is open to intervention and resignification”.
Now, thanks to these pioneers, the subversion and contortion of society’s image of what it is to be masculine is changing.
Though the road may be rocky, we could soon see Charles and Guiterrez alongside Kendall Jenner in matching red pant suits as the Destiny’s Child of the beauty world. Make-up chat will no longer be confined to women’s restrooms and beauty counters, but to comparative dinner time conversation or the equivalent of asking someone their preferred pizza topping.