What can makeup do for men

Of course it would be nice if someone would say something now. "You are looking good!" or "Well, fresh from vacation?", maybe something like that. But of course nobody comments on the day you come to the office wearing make-up.

That's how strong the damned poisonous manhood still has you under control. Even the first contact with the make-up jar makes you suspicious: Don't your colleagues notice anything? Or did you see the lightly powdered dark circles at first glance, but say nothing out of politeness?

Of course, these are exactly the wrong thoughts. Because you should put on the make-up for yourself and not for others, you have learned. Men should finally also have "the choice", says the manufacturer of the men's make-up that you dabbed on your face that morning: women can decide for or against make-up. So men should be allowed to do that too. At least that didn't sound bad at first.

Makeup for men isn't a particularly popular topic - at least for now. Market research predicts: In no other segment will the beauty market grow as quickly as it does here. Already today supposedly nine percent of German men use make-up products. That doesn't sound like much, but according to experts it indicates a change of times. In 2019, men around the world spent an estimated $ 1 billion on makeup. Now it is hoped that sales will develop in a similar way to that of skin care products for men - that is to say, by 2024 it is expected to increase by a quarter, to five billion dollars. Most of the big brands are therefore trying to address this new target group.

Just how The market in Asia is already huge. The aesthetics of masculinity there has changed permanently, towards a softer, more androgynous image of men. One reason for this is said to be the great success of the K-Pop bands for several years. Its members stand for a new, deliberately styled manhood that consciously plays with gender boundaries and is also intended to show boys in the West that as a guy you can easily put on a flawless silk complexion without being booked as a drag queen. As a result, Asian beauty brands are currently concluding many advertising deals with K-pop bands. But does that also have a chance in the West?

How many powder the T-Zone before going to the office?

In any case, the big labels have also converted here: Chanel, Clinique, Tom Ford, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs have had their own lines for men on the market since 2018. And there is even more evidence to suggest that something is changing here. In the fall, the presenter Barbara Schöneberger got a shit storm when she teased men on Instagram who not only wore "rolled up trousers", but "now" also put on make-up: "Men are men, men should somehow stay men too" , explained Schöneberger.

The question would, of course, be what exactly defines a Schöneberger man and why a few dabs of concealer should change that. Fortunately, the storm of indignation that swept over the moderator showed how much the gender roles have changed in recent years without someone like Schöneberger necessarily having to notice.

In the TV show "Queen of Drags" on Pro Sieben, amounts of make-up were recently applied to men's faces like never before at prime time. At the beginning of the year, the actor Ansel Elgort appeared on the red carpet of the Golden Globes as a matter of course with glitter make-up around the eye area. The British high-end department store chain John Lewis launched sales counters specifically for men's cosmetics in January.

But, beyond glossy TV and high fashion, is there really a man who brightens the shadows under the eyes in front of the mirror in the morning and powdered the T-zone before leaving the house for the office? And if so, is he just waiting to finally be able to use men's make-up?

Make-up for men doesn't mattify, it camouflages.

Yes, and he wants to help him - with this statement a somewhat dogged-looking young man in England has just attracted some attention. His name is Daniel Gray and he started a company that makes make-up especially for "real guys". Without make-up, says Gray, he would "not be able to leave the house" himself. He was bullied as a teenager because of his acne. So he secretly took powder from his sister. Because he would rather have died than go to a drugstore and buy women's products. He says that he now wants to spare other men these torments.

A perfect founder myth. No wonder that Gray has won a lot in the British version of the start-up show "The Lions' Den". The company sells its matt black jars with foundation, powder and bronzer under the name "War Paint". And they supposedly sold more than 20,000 times in just eight months.

While the gender boundaries in pop culture are being softened and re-measured more and more as a matter of course, the everyday guy obviously still has to add an extra portion of Rambo aroma to make the care palatable to him. So much for the shaky state of masculinity in 2020.

To test, you order the full set from the British start-up (seven pieces for the equivalent of around 110 euros) and take it to Moni Gutezeit, a make-up artist who gives make-up courses in a studio in downtown Munich. So far mainly for women. But she also occasionally does make-up on men, mostly managers before important appearances. She knows which psychological tricks are necessary: ​​Instead of powdering men's forehead, she says, she always prefers to apply a mattifying cream. Even if the effect is the same: She knows what a dislike men have above all for "what looks like make-up and powder".

Men's make-up should camouflage instead of making it more beautiful

Does it help that the marketing of most men's make-up is convulsively reminiscent of the commercials for Ax deodorants, which have not been in keeping with the zeitgeist since the noughties? In the War Paint promotional videos, bearded, tattooed models look grimly into the lens, as if they weren't dabbing their faces with a make-up sponge foundation, but were cleaning a grill grate with a steel brush. And the product description also stamps legs apart as much as possible: The make-up does not matt or make you look more beautiful - it "camouflages". Masking pens are a "handy, simple tool". Gladly of course "6 in 1", as if it were a multifunctional jigsaw. And not a tinted moisturizer.

Make-up trainer Moni Gutezeit can smile about it. She believes that it takes many small steps to slowly introduce men to the subject. It sounds a bit like she's talking about kids and green vegetables. However, she also wonders which man should really use a seven-piece set that includes foundation and bronzer. In any case, she doesn't know anyone.