Should Men Wear Makeup: The Simple Truth

Is he wearing makeup? It’s a question that no one should ask unless they want tips on how to look better. Realistically, history shows that both genders have always used makeup. Modern men can feel secure in putting what they like on their faces. Plus, good makeup can be almost invisible. Unless you’re getting very personal, people shouldn’t notice. I’m not going to tell you people aren’t cruel and foolish, but I will help you detangle the history, myths, and uses of makeup on men.

Should men wear makeup? Yes, if you need makeup, you should wear it even though you are male. However, it takes skill to put on makeup well. You need to put in the time to learn how it works, or you’ll probably look ridiculous.

If makeup isn’t your ‘thing,’ that’s fine. I’m not going to say that you need makeup. This article is for reasonable, mature adults who are curious about the subject of male cosmetics. For that reason, I’m not going to tackle homophobic prejudice in this article. That’s a whole subject on its own, and it’s not about grooming.

Regardless of the justification, some guys are spending too much time focused on what might go on in someone else’s pants. Let’s be honest, that’s a very weird problem. However, wearing makeup is just another skill in your toolbox for better grooming.

The Truth About Men in Makeup

Some of the most macho and idolized men in history have sported makeup. Vikings, the real kind, not just the ones on TV, rockstars, public figures like presidents and action heroes in movies all wear makeup. Naturally, no one thinks less of them for it. Confidence is the key to male makeup.

Makeup, appropriately done, looks good. The real question is only whether you’re comfortable enough in your skin to go the extra mile. It takes practice to learn the skill of applying makeup, so you’ll need to spend some time on technique.

Sadly, if you can’t handle a few throwback bullies, it’s better to skip the ‘guyliner.’ It’s always important to stay safe. Otherwise, confidence, like makeup, has always been attractive.

Additionally, it’s vital to know that unless you’re shooting for a feminine look, there’s no reason to believe that a little makeup will turn you into a Kim Kardashian clone. Darken some blonde lashes if you want them to show your eyes better. There are plenty of subtle ways to use a small amount of makeup to your benefit and still look utterly male.


Men Have Worn Makeup All Throughout History

The history of makeup is human history. Since the discovery of the first eyeliner, people have used a myriad of cosmetic products to enhance their sex appeal. Likewise, cosmetics can help you appear both younger and healthier. By covering flaws and drawing attention to excellent features, people can increase the positive reactions of people around them.

Men’s Makeup in Ancient Egypt

One of the earliest examples of makeup on people, including men and children, was found in the ruins of ancient Egypt. From around 2650 to 2134 B.C., the fashion of the time was to apply powdered malachite stone from the brow to the base of the nose.

Additionally, using a predecessor to modern brushes and sponges, the ancient Egyptians would take a smoothed piece of wood or bone to create the dramatic green eyeshadow. The color was chosen to honor and evoke the gods Horus and Ra, and people believed this would prevent illness.

By the time King Tut took over, green was out. The dramatic black kohl eyeliner that’s so iconic in hieroglyphics and on sarcophagi was the new trend. Black eyeliner would stay in fashion for generations. Beyond that, personal hygiene and even massage oils were considered essential. Even lower-class workers like those who build the pyramids adhered to strict grooming regimens involving cosmetics.

Men with lighter skin tones may want to opt for a more brown shade around the eyes. However, if you have dark skin or want a seriously noticeable ‘guyliner’, then kohl is perfect. Go with a waterproof and updated version to avoid smudging.

If you want a dramatic dark eye like rockstars and pharaohs wore, I suggest starting with an easy to use option like Maybelline New York Eyestudio Master Kajal Eyeliner, Onyx Rush. Though it’s a slightly more advanced product than kohl, kajal has been used for centuries to create a beautiful dark eyeliner. To try it out for yourself, click here

Viking Men Also Wore Eyeliner

Vikings in the prehistoric era wore eyeliner. Reports from an Arab scholar who traveled to the area talks about the use of a dark liner around the eyes of both men and women. Further, he speculates that it was to increase sex appeal and make people seem younger.

It seems likely that they used kohl similar to Egyptian cosmetic. Moreover, because Vikings sailed the world, it’s possible they got this tradition from Egyptians they met in their travels.

Ancient Roman Men Wore Makeup

In Ancient Rome, men often wore blush and painted their fingernails. The blush was most likely made of vermillion. The ground-up cinnabar cosmetic and paint ingredient made a nice reddish powder. A light application would have given the cheeks a rosy glow.

Unfortunately for those with weak stomachs, Roman men used pig blood and fat to paint their nails. While that’s a bit gross and unsanitary, putting a coat of clear gloss on your fingers makes the nails look healthier.

If you want much less disgusting nail polish to capture the healthy look, try Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener 3478 Clear. You can get it by clicking here. In addition to giving you a nice glossy transparent layer, the diamond and titanium hardening polish will seal your nails. It creates a barrier that is virtually shatterproof to keep your nails looking great. 

European Men Loved Makeup Too

English men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth were fond of powering their faces. A pale complexion was the height of male fashion at the time. Powder also had the added benefit of covering minor flaws like adult acne.

In eighteenth-century France, men painted on beauty marks. They were also obsessed with outlandish wigs. The trend for wigs was started by King Louis XVI, who was bald by the time he was 23.

The idea that makeup is related to gender was probably due to the repression of women. The idea that painting the face is a seduction technique isn’t new. However, that has always been more acceptable for men than women. Hence, women who painted their faces were immoral. New ideas are just that, a trend, albeit a long-lasting one, that is not indicative of what cosmetics were created for.

Football Players & Military Men in Makeup

When it comes to modern traditions, there’s nothing more ‘manly’ than a guy in a football uniform or a military uniform. You might not think of men as wearing makeup when you see those big black smears under their eyes. Yet that’s precisely what it is. The zinc that soldiers, athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts use to help reduce glare and sunburn is cosmetic.


Men Wearing Makeup on Stage & Screen

Whether you’re a news anchor, a political figure, or a movie star, makeup is a part of men’s lives on screen. Reducing glare from the lights with foundation and powders helps make men look better on film. Similarly, enhancing eyes, cheekbones, eyebrows, and lips helps the camera.

Though people are hailing Cover Girl as ‘groundbreaking’ because in 2016, they announced that James Charles as the first ‘Cover Boy,’ men’s makeup isn’t news. Even Clarke Gable, the famed Hollywood heartthrob of the 1930s, wore makeup every day he was filming. Even Hugh Jackman wore makeup to play Wolverine in Marvel’s X-Men.

Men who aren’t on TV can still benefit from a little concealer or powder when you want to look your best. If you’re blemish-prone, get razor nicks or other ‘imperfections’ that you’d rather not show, consider picking up a Men Pen concealer. The Men Pen concealers come in sixteen colors to match your skin tone, and it’s designed for male skin. Check prices and availability here.

Should You Wear Makeup

Men, if you’re still struggling with whether or not to wear makeup, don’t stress. There’s a simple way to figure it out. Like shaving, cosmetics serve a purpose, and they take effort to do right. Answer these three simple questions to decide whether it’s the right choice for you

  • Do You Need Male Makeup? If your skin is less than perfect and it bothers you them cosmetics will help you cover up the problem areas. Moreover, you can darken too-light lashes to make your eyes stand out, and yes, increase your sex appeal.
  • Are You Willing to Learn How to Wear Makeup? To look good in makeup, rather than like you lost a bet, you have to put in the time. You need to watch tutorials, practice, and get high-quality products. If you can’t commit to that, then makeup is not for you.
  • Are You Confident Enough to Rock the Look? Even shy, quiet men can rock a lightly enhanced face. If you can shrug off the narrow-minded naysayers and feel great because you look better, then you should add makeup to your grooming routine.

Whatever your reason for reading this far, makeup is a men’s product. However, you need to make sure you have the right colors and blends for your skin. For example, if you use a powder to reduce shine, don’t just grab a pharmacy compact.

I suggest Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder. Males’ skin naturally produces more sebum than women do. A powder that can absorb oil and doesn’t have any unnecessary harsh chemicals in it is better for your skin. You can get your own Innisfree Mineral Powder to try on your skin by clicking here

The Downside to Wearing Makeup

Men who wear makeup need to know the risks as well as rewards. There’s not a whole lot of downside as long as you apply it right and stick with high-quality natural products. Nevertheless, there are some things to be aware of.

  • Poorly applied concealer and powder will make any fine lines or wrinkles look more severe than they are.
  • Similarly, cheap eyeliners and mascara can run and smudge over a long day. Always pick a waterproof product to avoid the issue altogether.
  • You need a good makeup remover to get all the makeup out of your pores. Rather than reaching for a girly product, get a bottle of Bioderma Sébium H2O Purifying Micellar Cleansing Water from Amazon by clicking here. It’s suitable for means more sebum prone skin.
  • Makeup can cause acne. On top of scrubbing off your cosmetic enhancers at the end of the day, take good care of your skin. Especially if you’re acne-prone, use a cleanser designed for acne. Don’t be afraid to wash your face at lunch and reapply whatever you were wearing.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with a little embellishment. The art of male makeup is in keeping it low key. Especially if you’re going to be in pictures or you need to be seen at a distance, a hint of makeup can make a huge (positive) difference. Unless you’re doing a stage show, flamboyant makeup isn’t what you want for daily use anyhow.

If we can talk about manscaping your balls, then it’s about time we let the eyeliner come out of the corner and join the conversation. Repression aside, you have the right, and plenty of reason to cover a little adult acne. Manliness has nothing to do with whether or not you give lackluster lashes an upgrade before a hot date.

Men ‘should’ do what makes them feel best about themselves. A tinted lip balm will only change the color of your lips. Wear makeup if it makes you swagger and if it makes you blush, skip it.


While there’s nothing wrong with living your best life. However, flamboyant makeup tips for gender-bending/changing looks aren’t the topic of this article. There are plenty of superb tutorials from people with far more experience than I have. If you need drag-makeup tips, check out Pearl Bizarre’s tutorial on YouTube.

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