For Teen Vogue, by Sarah Wu.
When it comes to wearing makeup, you should be able to approach it however you want to. As the beauty community grows and and pushes back against restrictive stereotypes, more and more vloggers are embracing the idea of men wearing makeup — and shifting away from the outdated idea that it has to look any one way. Talented gurus like Manny Gutierrez and Patrick Starr have questioned the idea that makeup has to be gendered, and CoverGirl’s recent announcement of James Charles as their first male face built on that conversation in the best way possible.
The thing is, the idea of “makeup for men” still comes with underlying expectations that can feel implicitly condemning. As a recent article in Cakeboy magazine reminded us, there still exists a certain expectation that boy beauty looks should stand quietly to the side. “Google ‘makeup for men’ and the results yield a comically defensive tone in the popular discourse around men wearing makeup,” the publication points out. “’Undercover’ and ‘undetectable’ makeup tutorials rear their ugly heads.” This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with a minimal makeup aesthetic, but there is a problem with suggesting that makeup for men is only societally acceptable when you can’t tell it’s there. Even now, makeup is often gendered and attached to stereotypes surrounding masculinity and femininity. The prevailing attitude seems to be that if you’re a man and wear makeup, you still somehow need to conform to a “masculine” image.
“The thing is, the idea of 'makeup for men' still comes with underlying expectations that can feel implicitly condemning.”
To counter that mistaken belief, Cakeboy dreamed up three takes on men wearing makeup that we instantly fell in love with. MUA and visual artist Marcelo Gutierrez painted the models’ faces in washes of glitter and dewy tints that were totally irresistible. From a warmed-up base to burgundy lips and lids to sky-blue shimmers, these looks were all about fully embracing the presence of makeup — instead of masking it. It’s one of the most beautiful examples of barrier-breaking we’ve seen, and it’s another line in a conversation we hope continues to barrel forward. Watch it all unfold in this video — it’ll be the best thing you see today.
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