Why can’t men wear makeup?

Masculinity is challenged by everything that is considered ‘feminine’ or fragile. Men with makeup are not looked upon in society. The presence of social norms and stereotypes has a strong grip on all of us. Makeup is accepted to be for women only. Hardly did we see any man with makeup on his face until a few years back. Now that we see men wearing it, doesn’t mean society has changed and improved. It means we’re moving towards acceptance, but it is hard to vouch for an acceptable society. 

Men’s makeup is still not a lifestyle that is considered. Men might be called out for doing what they want to without having to be accountable for but that is not entirely true. Men have to adhere to the traditional masculine norms and maintain their status of manhood to be accepted in society. If a man puts on makeup, wears a dress, a shirt of color pink or follows any deviant lifestyle. Since when can men not wear makeup and why? 

There is history against this question and explanation to show the irrationality of the question. 

History of men and makeup

Men and makeup have a long history to dig and delve into. The saying that men cannot wear makeup is a recent invention. Makeup was a norm in some countries and societies in the earlier epochs of history. Makeup was a norm and a part of who men are and it was not a taboo completely as it is now. They could wear it any way they like. If we delve a little deeper we find that even the restricted dress codes that we follow nowadays were absent during the period of different kingdoms. 

Men's makeup

Men wore makeup in 3000 BC in China and Japan. Men used to wear makeup every day until the Victorian era. Even in the ancient roman empire, we come to know that men used to wear red tint on their cheeks and put nail paints. During the time of Queen Elizabeth, having spotless skin was the norm. Men at that time used contours and cosmetics on their faces for flawless skin. Bald men also used to put on wigs to cover their baldness. 

The ancient Egyptians also drew kohl in their eyes and created winged lines imitating the cat design. This was used to invoke their gods and goddesses. It is from Egypt that today’s winged eyeliner style is evolved and inspired. Egyptian men also wore other kinds of eyeliners with dramatic and creative designs. 

It is the history that shows us how norms and culture change with time and are regulated by the majority. The majority holds the authority, and in this case, it is society, that changes, stops, and introduces cultural and social norms in an era. 

Can men wear makeup?

The question arises about if men could wear makeup earlier, can men wear makeup now too? What affected the choices and the lifestyle of men in these two different ages? There is a no different answer but the major driving forces behind the life choices of men are the stereotypes, norms and the status of manhood in every era.

As we moved towards the 21st century, due to the lack of representation of makeup after the Victorian era that gradually led to makeup became a feminine practice. Even though the existence of makeup for men in the earlier ages is jarringly beautiful but the practice later on subsided. Men didn’t wear enough makeup and gave it up altogether which later turned into a masculine culture not wearing makeup. 

Lack of representation in society paved a way for social norms and strengthened the culture of identifying social practices with gender identities. Men and makeup can be seen together and to avoid the idea of normalization of men should not wear makeup. Men can wear makeup in any way they want to without being called out for the same.

Them wearing makeup will further deconstruct the idea of strict gender roles and toxic masculinity. The idea of maintaining the manhood and not imitating any feminine acts will also be destroyed which usually weighs on most of the men and plays with their mental health. Makeup can bring revolution and challenge toxic masculinity in a major sense. 

Rise of male makeup influencers

As we have moved to the age of social media and the internet, there has been a rise of social media influencers in many fields. Many male influencers have come out in the fashion, makeup and other fields where they weren’t seen before. The introduction of makeup for men in the market plays a key role in elevating and educating about the diversity in the fields that were initially reserved for women. 

The brand MAC recently launched a unisex lipstick for all genders, there are BB creams, face masks, concealer sand other facial essentials for men now. With the growth of the male makeup influencers, there is a growth in the usage and liking of the product in the wider sense. 

Many makeup influencers rose to fame by making a youtube video of basics of makeup or how men should put makeup. Male influencers have claimed that their sexuality has nothing to do with the makeup or the skin-care routine they follow. Influencers like James Charles, Jeffrey Star, Siddharth Batra, Thomas Albert are some of the makeup influencers that have shifted the beauty norms and representations in a female-oriented industry. 

Makeup for men

Men have formed a relationship with makeup and broken the stereotypes of toxic masculinity on the other hand. With the inception of makeup revolution again, we can introduce skincare and makeup for men in this female-oriented fashion industry. 

Foundation and primer is a base to any kind or theme of makeup you wish to apply. There are different kinds of foundations made according to skin colours. 

Then comes the concealer that hides your dark circles, blemishes or any spots on the face. Concealer and foundation must blend with the skin colour to give it a natural look. 

Next thing in makeup for men is a brow filler which gives shapes to your brows followed by mascara and a lipstick or lip balm of your favourite colour, and you’re ready! 

So, if you are a man and love applying little makeup, then please don’t get bogged down by societal prejudice!