Makeup is something we are conditioned to think of as generally reserved for females.
Whenever I have to put some on a man who is not used to putting on makeup, like corporate bosses or grooms, they immediately shrink away from me and get defensive. The moment they hear the word “makeup” they already get defensive. (Which is why I will mostly refer to putting makeup on men as grooming in this article.)
However, I think, everyone could benefit from a little makeup — women and men.
It’s still a matter of preference, but I’d like to think that someday we could arrive at a point wherein it no longer matters if someone uses it or not regardless of their gender.
I think what throws men off from makeup is how unnatural it can look at times.
This also happens to turn off several women (as well as people in general). Makeup is ideally used to enhance the way one looks, not necessarily to slap on an entirely different face altogether.
There is a way to groom yourself without making it look obvious—a way that retains the masculine, rugged vibe, which is my preference whenever I am grooming someone.
I am not a fan of making men look totally flawless and poreless, the way they usually are on TV or in the movies. The tendency to put makeup on that thick in those situations is to compensate for other factors: harsh lighting, the number of hours one has to shoot, continuity, post-processing, etc. None of which are concerns of the average male. Actually, even for shoots, I prefer to keep things light for the guys I groom — it’s just a matter of always checking up on them to make sure they still look fresh.
So, here are some basic steps on how to groom yourself, gentlemen.
1. Cleanser, Toner & Moisturizer
By cleansing, I don’t mean wash your face with your bath soap. I know a lot of men who do that. NO. Please, use a facial wash.
Cetaphil is a good option for those with sensitive and dry skin. There are also options from other brands formulated for men, which usually targets oily skin. If you have oily skin, go for one of those options to help keep your face shine-free throughout the day. The same goes for toners and moisturizers.
Toner helps remove the remaining dirt that cleansers were not able to. They also help adjust the pH level of your skin along with other benefits like pore-minimizing or whitening. It depends on what you want to achieve. If you aren’t sure, I would recommend witch hazel toners.
Use moisturizer to retain your skin’s elasticity. It isn’t just for dry skin. Believe it or not there are moisturizers for oily skin.
2. Sublock and Mattifier
Sunblock is essential to protect the skin from UV rays. Exposure to UV rays can also happen indoors so sunblock is a must for daily use if you want to keep those wrinkles at bay. Skin ages faster without sunblock. I like using Biore’s UV Perfect Face Milk sunblock because it’s lightweight and seeps into skin without the heaviness. It’s also great for keeping the skin matte. If your skin is dry, the Biore UV Aqua Rich is the better option.
Mattify is a special step I included. There are mattifying products one can apply to keep the skin from producing too much oil. This is a usual concern for men. I think the main goal if you’re male is just to keep your face from being oily. Nivea has a moisturizer that doubles as an oil control product, the Oil Control Moisture Gel. Another good option is the Quick FX No Shine Mattifier from Watson’s.
This step applies if you want to conceal things like dark undereyes or the occasional pimple. It isn’t necessary, but it is useful when you just want to look your best.
Our model who has two pimples on his face: one on the side of his nose and another in between his brows. His undereyes are also a bit dark, making him look tired.
I applied a little concealer on the pimple. Just enough to cover it. Blend with your ring finger until it evens out. Always put a little at a time so it blends out to a natural finish. The same goes for the undereyes. Just apply a little at a time just enough to brighten the undereyes, but not to fully cover it and retain the rugged look.
I know that the thought of using powder does not appeal to most men, but if you find yourself willing to try powder, it is a great way of helping to keep skin matte. In order to avoid making it look like you have actual makeup on, apply powder using a big fluffy brush.
This is optional. The mattifier should do its job with keeping your skin matte.
5. Brow Pomade
If you want to add a bit of natural density to your brows without making it look drawn in, there is a brow pomade that comes in a stick from Revlon. It’s the Colorstay Brow Crayon in Soft Black. I use this for work. It is also optional since most men have full brows and don’t need it.
You just run it a little over your brows and blend a bit with your finger or a cotton swab.
6. Lip Balm
Apply lip balm to prevent chapped lips. Aside from being painful, chapped lips are not pleasing to look at.
I know lip balm seems daunting to some men because of the typical glossy finish. There is a way to remove this.