Men with makeup? Would you accept that as a norm in the future? To what extent should a man feel comfortable wearing makeup? During a photo shoot, or perhaps on their wedding day? The Kpop craze in recent years have promoted makeup for men and also makes the idea that men can and should wear makeup a more acceptable idea.

Grooming vs Makeup

Increasingly, men are growing awareness that grooming is part and parcel of life. Facial wash, moisturisers, pore stripes and even hair removal products have become part of a man’s possession. Makeup is slowly but surely, ending up in a man’s cabinet too.

Grooming for men has reached its peak as more men concern themselves with how they look. Societal pressure has also forced men to face the growing number of women who prefer their men to look good and professional. Modern advertisements in magazines and on the Internet, tell men that they need to have smooth skins, a defined jawline and a muscular body. Without all these, the advertisements said, men are not worthy to look at. While the messages in these advertisements are subtle, men are getting it all across the globe. They accept the fact that women are not interested in a man who is negligent in his grooming.

Skincare and makeup companies have been courting men for decades without much success, but in recent years, things are changing. With a male Cover Girl spokesmodel, whole sections dedicated to men’s beauty in stores and articles in men’s magazines telling them why makeup is vital, it is evident that grooming has grown up into skin care and makeup for the men of the world.

Makeup and vloggers

If magazines and stores are encouraging men to think about makeup, vloggers are the ones who are teaching men how to use makeup. It is one of the most effective ways to get men all riled up about buying makeup and using them. Increasingly, men are providing makeup tutorials to other men (and women) on YouTube. Vlogs are especially popular with younger audiences between the ages of 16 to 24 years old according to a survey. As vloggers continue to get mainstream, it is possible that more viewers will be watching a vlog more often than reading news on CNA or BBC.

Vloggers love to provide makeup tutorials and reviews of cosmetics as it is popular among audiences. At the moment, various male vloggers are giving makeup tutorials to other men. Some of them are Patrick Starr, James Charles, and Jeffree Star. All three male vloggers have over 6mil subscribers between them. About 11% of these subscribers are male.

Is Singapore accepting men with makeup?

Male vloggers have made makeup into an acceptable way of life for men in some parts of the world. However, if we draw our attention back to Singapore, it may not be such a case here. Asian societies are in general, less accepting of norms that are different from what was established for millions of years. A man who wears a base and foundation is largely accepted as these are not visible and helps to define the jawline and smoothen rough or uneven skin. A man who wears outrageous eyeshadow, blusher and lipstick, on the other hand, is likely to be seen as crazy, gay or both.

Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to men wearing makeup. Men going for a photo shoot are expected to wear makeup so that they look “perfect” in the photos. Cosplay events where men dressed up as their favorite characters require heavy makeup. When a man gets married, the demand to wear makeup is also there as he must look his best on the wedding day.

To conclude, men with heavy makeup is largely a no in Asian/Singapore context except for special occasions or events where makeup is necessary. Nevertheless, base cream and foundation are acceptable as they enhance men’s looks without being visible. Heavy and visible makeup involving eyeshadow, blusher and lipstick will need more time to gain acceptance and popularity in Singapore.