Following the demise of toxic masculinity and the rise of fluid identities, men’s beauty is finding its stride. Amidst a larger wave of self-care, men are embracing skincare, makeup and body care, and brands are taking note of the shift in masculine beauty and hygiene. “The same way that masculinity is evolving, men are being introduced to taking care of themselves,” Faculty cofounder Fenton Jagdeo told Hypebeast. “There’s no one way to be you, no one way to be masculine.”

Tapping into this space, professional athlete Alex Rodriguez launched his Blur Stick concealer in late May as part of his campaign for men’s wellness with Hims. The athlete is promoting the product as an ordinary part of his morning, speaking to the growing popularity of men’s care and makeup for men of any age, occupation, or orientation.

WEB Faculty Press Kit Editorial 8

Sam Kershaw, the buying director for the brand War Paint for Men, said the “rise in men’s makeup as a hack to grooming” is one of the company’s “biggest growing categories this year.” He went on to tell CNN Style that the “acceptance of the category has grown,” noting that makeup is becoming a part of men’s everyday routines.

In June, Harry Styles reportedly registered for a new trademark for “wholesale perfume and cosmetics,” sparking rumors that he, too, is starting a beauty brand of his own. Styles, an actor and singer, regularly flouts outdated gender tropes, sporting nail polish and donning a dress on the cover of Vogue. His history of embracing masculine and feminine fashion in unison has fans wondering what this rumored cosmetic line will include.

Rapper Lil Yachty feels that men should be able to wear nail polish without any stigma, so he launched his own brand in May of this year. He hopes that Crete, a unisex brand, allows anyone “to show [their] creative side,” and believes that “there will come a day when people won’t gender accessories or clothes or makeup.” He stated in the launch’s press release that “outside opinion shouldn’t have an effect on your aesthetic and whatever you decide to do, and this line is a reflection of that.”

WEB Shiseido Men 2
Shiseido Men
WEB Shiseido Men

Legacy brands are also embracing and investing in men’s beauty. Estée Lauder is funding men’s makeup startup Faculty. The brand describes itself as “modern grooming for the new masculinity.” Announced in early June, the product launch quickly sold out of their nail polish and nail stickers for men, and the waitlist is still growing. In March, Shiseido Men relaunched their skincare line and makeup line “specially developed to improve men’s confidence,” as stated in their press release.

Sam Cheow, a senior vice president at Estée Lauder Companies, told Vogue: “We’re seeing a shift in men’s appetite to purchase both skincare and makeup, accelerated by the pandemic which has led to a general increasing focus on self-care.”

The expression of masculinity is evolving, reframing the concept of beauty and blurring traditional gender lines. As this evolution continues, men’s makeup will find its way onto mainstream beauty counters.

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