man applying pink eyeshadow with brush

Should men wear makeup?

More and more men are wearing makeup today. You walk down the street and chances are that you will come across a man wearing makeup.

The first time I tried on makeup I was around five years old and I was playing Kalongolongo with my friends from the estate. I applied glittery lipstick from my mum’s closet because I always wanted to know what lipstick tastes like. Right now, I know what lipstick tastes like but it’s because I like kissing.

The stereotypical image of what a man should be is – thankfully – changing. Whereas we were once expected to remain almost cave-like in our approach to life, men are finally acknowledging that – as human beings – we too have feelings.

There is a growing cult of men who are applying makeup and even men who specialize as makeup artists. The ones that I know off the top of my head are Denis Karuri and Steve Koby.

Today, the male makeup industry is a multibillion industry. And it keeps growing.

Social media has helped turn men’s makeup and grooming from a ‘why?’ to a ‘why not?’. Even the manliest of men are constantly having our photos posted online.

While, for many people, men wearing makeup still feels taboo, this trend seems to be on the rise now, and we are seeing more and more men with beauty products on their faces, both at red carpet events and in everyday life. Just like some women choose not to wear makeup then it should be acceptable that other men prefer to wear makeup.

Neither choice should be seen as less or more ‘feminine’ because makeup knows no gender (nor sexual orientation).

This is not about men wanting to be feminine; it’s just about creating the best possible version of ourselves. You can often hear phrases like ‘man up, ‘get on with it, ‘jikaze’ dished around to men. We know sexism hurts women, but we don’t talk as much about how sexism hurts men. Somehow, and I don’t know-how, society just decided that only women are allowed to wear makeup and men shouldn’t. But our sex should be completely irrelevant. Why?

  • Breaking taboo: Today’s men refuse to live by society’s rule assigned to their gender
  • Good Company: Makeup by men has been worn for years. Ask the Egyptians.
  • Stand-out: Why fit in when you can stand out?
  • Defining masculinity: The old-fashioned ideas of what is and what is not masculine keeps changing. The changes occur slowly, but they have happened like men wearing pink, earrings, jewels, etc.

The bottom line:

Regardless of the decision, you make about your life, someone somewhere is always judging and feels entitled to have an opinion. You will never please everyone, and that is OK. As long as you are not harming anyone, you weren’t born to please everyone you meet. Be yourself. Besides, life is a matter of experiences.

So, get out that make-up brush if you want to. 

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