The rise of the genderless makeup industry and the men behind it all

The makeup industry has always been viewed as a female dominated occupation, but times are quickly changing as men are paving the way for a genderless makeup industry.

For generations men have been wearing makeup. Masculinity was important in ancient Egyptian culture and makeup played a large role in that.

Men used black pigment to create cat eye designs. Kohl eyeliner, green eyeshadow and lip and cheek stains also later became popular amongst men. Roman men were known to apply red pigment to their cheeks and lighten their skin with powder.

Fast forward to the 20th century, men in makeup was hardly mainstream anymore, instead it was reserved for artists such as Steven Tyler, David Bowie and Prince.

Somehow men in makeup is seen as a taboo subject and has for quite some time.

James Charles, Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, these are just a selection of male makeup artists leading the fight to get makeup to be seen as something for everyone, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.

James Charles was the first male to be featured on the cover of Covergirl Magazine in 2017, Jeffree Star has a multimillion-dollar makeup company stocked all over the world and Manny MUA has an extremely successful YouTube channel and has collaborated with numerous makeup brands.

Despite all of their success many people still won’t support them due to the fact they are male.

Manny MUA was recently interviewed on Good Morning Britain and was completely slated by British viewers for “sending out the wrong message.”

They disagreed with the fact that he was given a platform to say that men wearing makeup is ok.

Instead of platforms using their voice to highlight the issue of the on-going bullying men are continuously receiving in this industry, they instead decided to focus on Manny joking about correctly shade matching Donald Trump.

Choosing to completely ignore the message Manny was trying to get across and instead poking fun at him trivialised his whole campaign.

Therefore, he is a now a joke rather than a main campaigner in the fight to get the cosmetic recognition males in the industry deserve.

I recently conducted a survey to see how society feels males are viewed in the makeup industry.

When asked if they believe males are fully accepted within the makeup industry 90% responded no while 100% believed that makeup brands do not include enough males in their brand campaigns, with people stating it is extremely important for brands to include males to help “destigmatise and normalise their inclusion in the industry.”

Most importantly, however, 100% believed social media does not do enough to tackle toxic/bullying posts.

Perhaps if brands were more inclusive within their campaigns and it became more common to see men advertising makeup, people wouldn’t have such a problem with it.

To get a real insight into how it really is to be a male in the industry I chatted with Harry Keenan, a local and up-and-coming male makeup artist, to get his thoughts on inclusivity in the industry and any experiences he has had being a male in makeup.

Do you think it’s harder for yourself being a male in the makeup industry?

To be honest I don’t what so ever, I think it helps me stand out especially in my area.

Do you think males in the makeup industry are accepted or do you think there’s still a way to go before men in the makeup industry are fully accepted?

I think they’re 100% accepted, as some of the most famous MUA’s are men, which is amazing!

Have you always wanted to be a makeup artist?

Once I started makeup I did want to become one yes, but before that I never once thought about it, I was actually meant to do dentistry in college but I changed to makeup.

Should brands include more males in their campaigns to be more inclusive or are they fine as they are?

Yeah they should! Just to show people makeup can be for anyone.

Have you ever received any hate for being a makeup artist?

I haven’t. I got noticed quite a bit in my area and it’s all been completely positive, but if I did, I wouldn’t let it bother me what so ever.

From my interview with Harry it seems as if society is well on its way, if not already there, to becoming completely inclusive of men in the makeup industry.

It was extremely refreshing to talk to someone who views the industry in such a positive way, despite being in a category that most members feel ostracised from the wider community.

Knowing that he has received no hate and only completely positive comments really does show that men are finally getting the cosmetic recognition they deserve.

Image courtesy of As/Is via YouTube, with thanks.

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