When thinking about cosmetics, 'men' is probably one of the last words that comes to mind, however, men are no stranger to the world of makeup. Since the creation of cosmetics, men have been right there to use them. It wasn't until far ahead in history when cosmetics and men started to split.
In nature, the male species is typically brighter and more colorful than the female. Animals and insects use color and patterns to attract, protect and camouflage themselves. The same is true with humans - we use cosmetics to attract attention to ourselves or certain areas of ourselves, to camouflage imperfections and diminish undesired traits and to protect against environmental factors.
In ancient Egypt, kohl was worn around the eyes by men and women alike. This decoration and also to protect the eyes from the sun's powerful glare, such as football and baseball players do today. Lips were stained with natural pigments derived from clay and henna. The Ancient Egyptians were the first known documented culture to use "beauty" products including makeup, perfumes and skin care. It is widely believed that the Egyptians paved the way for cosmetics - the use of kohl was later adopted by other cultures including the Ancient Romans.
Fast forward in history to 18th century Europe, men adorned themselves with powdered wigs, powdered white faces and rouged cheeks. Not only have cosmetics been present and worn by men since written history began(and most-likely before), but makeup and other cosmetic practices have also been a part of daily life in numerous cultures through out history. The idea that a man cannot be manly if he uses cosmetics is historically incorrect.
In today's society, many men use cosmetics. Cologne is widely used among men, cleansing and moisturizing products are prevalent and you may be surprised to know that makeup has again gained popularity amongst men. In fact, men worldwide spend over 2 billion dollars each year on skincare, with a growing percentage of those sales on makeup.
Although world views differ from region to region, men who wear cosmetics, specifically makeup, reveal that they feel more confident when they wear it. As a corrective and enhancing product, makeup has the ability to create a more polished, sophisticated look. In the world we live in, people are judged by their appearances.
I personally wear makeup. Being a makeup artist gives me an advantage, as I can execute techniques and utilize appropriate colors and products with confidence and ease, but I'm a man nevertheless. Most often when I wear makeup, one of my top goals is to apply the products in a way that nobody knows I am wearing it. There are certain things I do to give myself more confidence in my appearance, such as strengthening my eyebrows, reducing redness, and using darker shades around my hairline to diminish recession. Regardless of what people think when they see me, the fact is I feel more confident, more comfortable in my own skin.
Cosmetics have always been present in society and they will always have a place, no matter how it may shift. Men and women wear cosmetics, essentially, for the same reasons and both have the right to do so. As the saying goes, "History repeats itself" and fashion is certainly recycled. It may be very interesting to see the relationship between men and makeup in years to come.