Women, do you ever catch your husband digging through your makeup bag to borrow your concealer? How about your eye shadow and mascara? Pay attention!
I stumbled upon this article yesterday in the New York Times:
Whether they admit it or not, more men are using cosmetics, judging from sales figures and the number of new products arriving on store shelves. But please don’t call it “makeup” — cosmetics marketers pointedly steer clear of the term, which men tend to find emasculating.
For some reason, articles about the growing popularity of makeup for men turn up every few years, primarily during the slow news season: I remember the last one I read being about some fancy men's concealer Yves Saint Laurent had launched, Touche Eclat.
Ever since the New York Times started its Style section and "T" fashion magazine, there have been more and more articles about men's fashion fads, no doubt to please Times advertisers. Remember the obsession with the term "metrosexual?" How about those men's girdles disguised as sports briefs?
But this makeup for men meme-spreading effort is particularly annoying.
Just to be clear: if guys choose to wear makeup, that's fine with me from an aesthetic point of view. It can be sexy on the right kind of guy -- or even the wrong kind.
What offends me is the old chestnut about men being too ashamed to shop at the Clinique counter at Bloomingdales, amid all the mascara and lipsticks, to buy a product like concealer.
Do we men really need our own product lines? Is masculinity that fragile that men can't be caught buying Physician's Formula mineral foundation?
This "bull market" in men's cosmetics is, pardon the pun, bull -- sales figures notwithstanding. It's all marketing and its all-too-predictable effects. The New York Times is willing to help spread the word: men want (and need) to look younger and prettier -- just like their female counterparts.
Now I'm no towering model of masculinity, but do you know what I use on my skin?
Not one thing.
I don't use soap; I rinse my face with water. If my skin feels dry during the winter, say, from wind or swimming in a chlorinated pool, I rub my face with -- remember, you heard it here first -- almond oil, and rinse off the excess. Oil is a great dirt remover, too, and it protects the skin. That really is it. A great way to exfoliate is to have a good sweat from some intense aerobic exercise like running; my skin always feels smoother afterwards.
Maybe not the best system for an acne-prone teenager, but it works for me.
But back to makeup.
Author Quentin Crisp generally wore powder and lipstick and it was considered quite shocking at the time.
But he was the type you might expect to wear make up (wink wink.)
The New York Times would have us believe that the time has come when even "a Customs and border-protection officer who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds — and whose uniform includes a 9-millimeter handgun" is wearing concealer.
Get it? (NOT a pansy!)
Readers, what do you think?
Do the landfills of the world need more empty plastic bottles of men's grooming products? Do guys need to slather our skin with more toxins to make ourselves more appealing? Do you prefer men with nicely groomed eyebrows and a clear complexion?
Ever caught hubby with his hands in the foundation jar?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!