Makeup for Men: DOs & DON’Ts for Beginners

It might come as a surprise, but men have been wearing makeup for most of recorded history. Although the practice may not be as common today, shifting views on gender norms have increased interest in men’s cosmetics, both as a form of personal expression and to look one’s best.

In fact, for the bushy-browed man, eyebrow gels are a grooming essential, whilst brow pencils and pens restore a youthful volume to sparse brows and patchy beards. Concealers and BB creams are also particularly popular for their ability to correct uneven skin tone, and camouflage redness, eye bags, and blemishes with varying levels of coverage. 

But even now, some individuals still think it’s improper for guys to use cosmetics, frequently considering it feminine or suggestive of homosexuality. But you shouldn’t let other people’s feelings dictate what you want to do.

And occasionally it can feel intimidating to do anything other people might perceive as improper or unmanly, but it’s crucial to remember that makeup is for any gentleman who wants to wear it, regardless of whether they identify as gay, straight, masculine, or feminine.

It also implies that it’s totally acceptable if you don’t want to wear makeup. However, if you’re considering giving cosmetics a go, I’ll walk you through the basics of men’s makeup and what you need to avoid:

  1. Moisturize your face and neck 

You always want to moisturize in order for your skin to look refreshed and healthy, and you most definitely don’t want to neglect two important areas: your face and your neck. There are many moisturizers for men that contain collagen, stem cells, and vitamins all in one. These ingredients can be especially hydrating and can help rejuvenate your face and the skin around it, including your neck.

  1. Establish a skincare routine

It doesn’t matter what type of skin you’ve got – normal, oily or combination – it’s absolutely vital that you cleanse and moisturize every morning and evening, as this will leave you with a clearer, calmer complexion – the perfect base for makeup.

If you’re not sure where to start, I got you covered. Here are some tips to establish a daily routine: 

  • Wash your face with an exfoliant. This is to ensure the removal of dead skin cells, which can improve the way makeup adheres to your face. After washing it off, use a towel to pat your face dry. Use the exfoliant two or three times each week, and always make sure your face is washed before applying makeup.
  • Apply toner to hydrate your skin. Every time you use a cleanser, use a toner to refresh your skin. Pick up a cotton ball or makeup pad and dab the toner across your face after dipping it in a small amount of toner. 
  • Protect your skin with an SPF moisturizer. When used in the morning, moisturizer protects your skin from the sun, but it can also be used at night to prevent the development of wrinkles and other blemishes that ruin makeup. Make sure you apply it over your face and neck. 
  • Clean off your makeup every night. Before going to bed, always remove your makeup. Make sure to wash your face at night to remove any leftover makeup, as well as cleanse the skin of dirt, oil, and other impurities that can clog pores.
  1. Prime your skin

Primers are an undercoat that prepares your skin for makeup, and they are generally colorless, can be worn alone, and are best used for smoothing fine lines, minimizing the appearance of pores, and helping cosmetics adhere to the face. Although it’s not an essential step, the right formulation can also have additional benefits, like controlling oiliness or hydrating dryness. A double skin win.

  1. Choose the right base

Less is definitely more when it comes to providing total coverage (think uneven skin tone and covering any blemishes). Especially when choosing between foundation or tinted moisturizer, since you really shouldn’t need both! As its name suggests, the foundation gives a very good base that works on its own or alongside other products, while tinted moisturizer is a thinner version, giving lighter coverage than foundation but with added hydration (win-win!)

  1. Find the right application method that works best for you

There are three main ways to apply makeup, which are using your fingers, sponges, or using brushes.

  • Fingers – Apply directly onto your face, using your ring finger, lightly tap the product into the desired area until blended. 

You always have them with you so they are, typically, the most convenient tool. They can be great for simple, large-area applications like under the eye or over a large spot of redness. The heat of your skin helps melt and disperse the product. But, they can be too big and clumsy for small blemishes.

  • Sponges –  Dot the product onto your face and blend with a damp sponge. Dab rather than swipe across with the sponge for best results. 

They also do a great job of dispersing makeup products. But, it’s hard to get them to thoroughly cover blemishes.

  • Brushes – Dot the product on the brush hairs and blend the product across the face. For best results, start with a small amount and build up to your desired coverage. 

There are many types of brushes and can be used for multiple products. Some brushes I would recommend would be a detail brush, flat brush, small fluffy brush, and/or a large powder brush if you decide to use powder. All four brushes will prepare you to cover almost anything. But, you can get away with having just one small detail brush and using your fingers to blend.

  1. Less is more

The number one goal for most men, when they start to wear makeup, is that they don’t look like they’re wearing makeup, and one of the most obvious ways to ensure this doesn’t happen is by favoring light coverage – no matter which products you use. Avoid, also, getting the product in your beard or sideburns, as this can be a huge tell-tale sign that you’re wearing makeup.

Some Don’ts Include: 

  1. Don’t use too much of anything.

I’ve probably mentioned this a few times already, but it’s true! A little goes a long way, and it’s always best to start small and build up slowly. 

  1. Don’t choose a shade that’s too light for your skin color. 

Concealers, tinted moisturizers, and foundation come in many shades. In order to find the perfect shade for yourself, swatching the product on your face is preferable, but if you can’t do that, check the undertone of your skin on the back of your wrists to see if it is chilly or warm. Veins that are blue or purple usually indicate a cool undertone, whereas veins that are green or olive indicate a warm undertone.

Based on that, you can choose a color range that you believe closely matches the skin tone of your face and either purchase the neutral, warm, or cool variation. There is also the simple option of testing the product out at home and returning any that don’t work, which some stores allow you to do.

  1. Don’t overdo the brows. Who doesn’t adore thick, voluminous brows? Everyone does, but the issue arises when you use the incorrect shade to fill in the sparse parts of your brows. Additionally, it appears strange if your brow color and the color of your beard don’t match.

Here are some tips for filling in your brows: 

  • Brush your eyebrows into shape. Start by moving toward your face’s middle. To lift the hairs, make light strokes. Up till the thin area of the brows, keep repeating this. As you near the end, brush to the side to create a point at the end of your brows.
  • Pluck your eyebrows with tweezers. Grab each hair and remove it one at a time. Work slowly to avoid thinning your brows more than you want. Consider taking a step back from the mirror to assess the appearance of your brows. Your face features should be complemented by well-groomed brows. If you’re not too comfortable with this step, you can consider getting your eyebrows done professionally or possibly asking a friend!
  • Fill in your eyebrows with a brow pencil. Against your brow, gently press the pencil. Look for the spot on your head where the hairs start to lean to the side. To add color, use brief strokes to the side. Start at the bottom of your brow and work your way up to fill in any vertical hairs until your eyebrows appear full. 
  • Hold the hairs in place with brow gel. The part of your hair that slopes towards the side of your face is where you should run the brush. Stroke upward from the bottom of your brow toward the vertical hair once again.
  1. Don’t ignore the neck area. 

The neck area is often overlooked after applying cosmetics to your face. But remember, your neck, after your face, is the area that is most exposed. The region behind your chin will appear isolated and unusual if you only pay attention to your face. So don’t forget to put makeup on the area around your neck. Use a brush or your fingertips to lightly apply foundation in a similar tone to the area around your neck.

  1. Don’t tolerate dry and chapped lips.

The secret to a smooth and full pout is lip balm. You can even find lip balms with SPF 15, that can help repair and hydrate chapped lips while protecting your lips against the damaging UV rays.


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