As beauty steadily becomes more inclusive, we’re seeing people of all skin colors, genders, and backgrounds gain more and more visibility in the industry — and not just those who are lucky enough to become the face of a brand. Thanks largely to social media, brands no longer deem people worthy of a following — everyone does. Now that we’re in control, the results are, well, beautiful.
I see a lot of articles about men in makeup or shilling out advice about makeup for men, but oddly, they’re rarely written by a man that wears makeup (hi). And also, they’re usually served up with a sort of winking tone. “10 Male Makeup Artists Who Do A Smokey Eye Better Than You!” … Shut up.
I was originally going to write an article all about tips for boys getting into beauty, but I realized, I’ve never approached my beauty routine as a men’s beauty routine. It’s just mine — for my face. I don’t build my routine around being a man, I build it around the shape of my face, my skin type, color preferences, and all of those other things that make me me.
There are very little resources for men getting into makeup because beauty is still gendered so female, and a lot of the men’s makeup tips that do exist center around the makeup being “natural” or imperceptible, which isn’t always what we want. I certainly don’t. So I decided to reach out to four of my favorite male makeup artists, editors, and influencers to get their top tips for boys in makeup so we can learn from dudes with all different types of routines.
Nick Nieves, @nicknievesbeauty
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Nick is one of my favorite beauty boys ever. He’s insanely talented, incredibly smart, and his looks are innovative, memorable, and creative. His beauty jumpoff is about skin prep: “An issue many men in makeup can run into is skin texture — whether that derives from facial hair or just rougher skin in general. A great way to minimize that is by using a skin smoothing moisturizer or primer so that your foundation application is more seamless, flattering, and longer wearing.
“I’d 100 percent recommend the Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Primer — it’s the right combination of pore-smoothing, moisturizing, and mattifiying!”
Victor Ramos, @vicmram
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Whenever I want to see a full face of makeup that looks incredibly natural, I look to Victor Ramos. Whether he’s doing a soft, every day face, or full glam, his face is always seamless, blended, and stunning. He’s hitting us with a hack to fill patchy spots in your beard that every man should be aware of.
“Brow powder is your best friend when you have a beard! You can apply it to the beard area the same way you do to your brows to give it shape and make it appear more full. And if your beard is a cool color such as green, blue etc. you can go in and use an eyeshadow for the same effect.”
Troy Solomon, @abearnamedtroy
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Troy is part fashion influencer, part unicorn. I know “unicorn” is played out these days, but there are some who still deserve the title, and he basically invented it. Troy touches on the challenges that many men run into of blending makeup when you have a beard or a tight fade.
“It’s funny — I don’t really contour because my beard shape does that for me. Instead, I just bronze all over my face to give me that subtle warm glow, but I really have to make sure I blend along the beard line because often times the light shade bronzer will just sit on top of the hairs and stand out like a sore thumb.”
“I also highlight just above the beard line, and depending on how glittery the highlight is, sometimes I find glitter in my beard but I can’t say I mind that at all! Also, having the sides of my head shaved sometimes creates a super intense contrast with the rest of my face when I’m wearing makeup so I try my best to really blend out the sides of my head just beyond my ears — sounds weird but it helps eliminate that harsh color difference!”
Phillip Picardi, @pfpicardi
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You might recognize Phillip as the Chief Content Officer at THEM and Teen Vogue’s Digital Editorial Director. His knowledge of beauty and skin care is hard to rival, and here, he’s giving us expert tips on how to make your foundation look even more natural.
“I have a beard that I get trimmed (professionally) every week — I like to think of this as built-in contour. To perfect the rest of my face, though, I still love a thin veil of foundation. When shopping for products, men are often told to look for “matte” finishes, because of an arcane notion that all men over-produce oil because we’re greasy and don’t take care of our pores like women do. (This gendered skin tip stuff is such bullshit.)”
“Matte finish makeup is pretty much ALL wrong for most men. You know how some people have visible makeup lines, or you can tell when someone is wearing foundation? Chances are, it’s either a) a powder foundation or b) a matte-finish. Avoid these things completely, and go for something more like NARS Glow Tint, Hourglass Hyaluronic Skin Tint, or (for fuller coverage) YSL’s Touche Eclat Foundation.”
“I mix these products with one drop of liquid Illuminator (Koh Gen Do) and a half drop of my favorite facial oil (Lina Hanson Global Serum). This created a gorgeous, brilliant, dewy finish that when set with blotting papers provides translucent coverage that still looks like skin. Make sure you apply with a dual fiber foundation brush and then blend further with a damp sponge.”
And now, for me.
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My most helpful tip is the little step I sneak in after primer but before foundation: color correcting. Like a lot of people, I have dark circles and discoloration around my eyes. Instead of relying on foundation or concealer alone to camouflage the darkness under and around my eyes, hitting them with a color corrector first neutralizes the color so whatever product I put over it has less work to do, and I don’t end up caking up product under my eyes which is just begging for creasing and caking.
Before I started color correcting, you could still see my dark circles peeking through my foundation, which only drew more attention to them and almost made it look like I was using foundation to cover a black eye. With the right product, they disappear completely. I love the Urban Decay Color Correcting Fluid in Peach. It’s the same formula as their Naked concealers — thin, hydrating, pigmented, almost serum-y, and it just sinks into my skin without much effort on my part, never migrating or mixing in with the foundation I layer on top of it. Sephora has a comparable option with more shades for a wider variety of skin tones and half the price, which is fantastic, though I prefer the Urban Decay formula.
No matter what gender you are, beauty is all about customizing your routine to your face and lifestyle — and oh yeah, doing what makes you feel good. Everyone should feel welcome when stepping into a makeup store, applying foundation, or wearing a full face, and I look to these guys whenever I need some inspiration or a little jolt of confidence. We all have little workarounds when it comes to makeup, whether it’s dry skin, hooded lids, or a full beard, and gender obviously has nothing to do with your ability to learn and create.
More Makeup For Men:
- Makeup for Men Is Having a Moment
- 12 Beauty Mistakes That Turn Men Off
- You Need to Read This Man’s Story About His New Love for Makeup After His Wife Put It on Him
Dudes get pedicures too…