Make-up for men: ooh or eww?
Turns out more and more blokes are getting handy with bronzer and concealer. We tried out one leading male make-up brand on some lucky Muddy husbands – here's what happened.
When it comes to make-up, I’ve always felt a bit sorry for men. The average bloke on the street has no knowledge of its magical, transformative powers. There’s no hiding an angry spot with a slick of concealer. No sneakily prolonging a holiday tan with bronzer. No confidence-boosting slash of lipstick ahead of an important meeting.
But modern men have seen our beauty tricks and now want in. The male make-up market is already worth £874m and is set to grow 24 percent over the next five years. Apparently one in 20 British boys now sport slap. And it’s not just the kind of preening youth who go on Love Island – middle-aged men are a key buying demographic.
In the interests of journalistic research, I persuaded my husband Rich and his friend Dan (both in their 40s) to test out male beauty range, War Paint For Men. (To be honest, it didn’t take much persuasion after I’d plied them with a few drinks one Saturday evening and then whipped out the bronzer.) This fast-growing British brand recently unveiled the first permanent high street make-up counter for men, in John Lewis Oxford Street.
I’d love to show you some photos of our makeover session but that’d be grounds for divorce apparently (spoilsport!). Think chimps’ tea party and you’ll get the vibe. And I can tell you that Rich and Dan, both of whom who’d never worn make-up before, were pleasantly surprised by how good the products were. War Paint For Men have wisely kept the range small (so as not to confuse male brains), designed unisex, minimal packaging and focussed on perfecting skin (so no glittery eyeshadow palettes, sadly). The boys tried the concealer (£18), anti-shine powder (£18), bronzer (£19), tinted moisturizer (£22) and foundation (£24).
Heavy-handed bronzer application led to an unfortunate David Dickinson-style look and they struggled to blend the foundation properly into stubble (must admit, I was no help on that front). But they were wowed by the dark eye circle-fading sorcery of the concealer and they’re both now fully on board with the notion of powdering one’s nose.
Basically, like all decent skin-perfecting make-up, War Paint For Men makes you look like yourself on a good day; a slightly less knackered, fresher version. Who wouldn’t want in? Rich and Dan, however, weren’t keen on committing any time to the process: “God, how do you do this every day?” they whinged, having spent all of two minutes in front of the mirror. Imagine if they’d had to do winged eyeliner. Or curl their hair. Or paint their nails. Or… OK, I’ll stop now.
So I won’t be fighting Rich for bathroom mirror space any time soon but would the men in your household wear make-up? Or if you’re one of our male Muddy readers (hello, boys!), would you? Maybe you do already? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below. But step away from the red lipstick, pal, that’s all mine.