With the fashion industry getting further and further away from gender labels, it’s not a surprise that the makeup segment is following the same path.
Cosmetics have been around for centuries and they’ve been used for a number of reasons including promoting good health, in religious rituals and of course to enhance beauty. The ancient Egyptians gave a head start to the industry by creating products, like eyeliners, that later found their way to places like Greece and Rome and eventually the whole entire world. What’s important to mention is that back then, makeup knew no gender. Men and women from all classes would paint their faces for both aesthetic and health reasons.
Sounds familiar? Today’s idea of makeup is not that far from it.
Women were always known for their love for makeup and Hollywood has definitely had a big impact on it. Not even the Second World War didn’t manage to stop the British women from painting their faces. There were times that women in the society tried to project the cosmetic industry as something that helped women become a sexual object in the eyes of men but, until this day makeup still is a passion for many.
“Makeup is simply empowering. You wake up in the morning and you choose who you want to be. You add confidence with the touch of a brush and I think that’s just amazing,” said Sofia Grace, a 24-year-old makeup artist who works for MAC.
Even though women and makeup have has a long history together, the 70’s shined a light on a number of men who chose to blurred the lines between gender and makeup. David Bowie was one of the biggest stars of the era and his love for his makeup bag was apparent to everyone. Through the years male makeup has been seen as a taboo but today people seem to embrace it more than ever.
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As Alexander De Vaillier, who loves painting faces explained, “Makeup doesn’t have a gender. Just like skin care and hair products, it’s about wellbeing and self expression. It’s marketing that makes people believe that make up does have a gender.”
The rise of social media influencers has created a huge community of people who see makeup as something gender neutral. Big brands like MAC, Anastasia Beverly Hills and now Asos, have designed products that focus on individuality and not gender. The industry has also seen seen lines especially created for transgender people. What everyone is looking from makeup brands is to create things that meet the need of being comfortable in your own skin.
Today brands like Tom Ford even offer ranges that are made just for men. But even though more and more men are starting to wear makeup, gay and straight, the question still remains. Will the average straight guy ever leave the stigma of makeup and gender behind? And if he does, how would women really feel if he started using them?