Saturday 11 May 2019

Just make it up

There's a big fuss over a company that's promoting men's make-up with a video of a heavily tattooed and muscular man. The company, War Paint, has had over 2,500 Twitter comments, many critical.

Firstly, they ask, why do men need make-up anyway? Secondly, why do men and women need different make-up? And thirdly, why the tired old stereotype of a super-masculine, physically intimidating male?

Well, indeed, why do men need make-up at all? It's all part of the ongoing trend to get men as heavily addicted to beauty products as women, plastering on moisturisers, make-up, concealers, body lotions, skin cleansers and the rest.

I find all this rather baffling, and not only as an oldie who grew up in an age when men accepted the rugged natural look and saw no reason to try and change it. I've never had any problem with the way I look, and I certainly don't want to spend half an hour every morning hiding imaginary blemishes or creating some supposedly ideal, celebrity-inspired face. I've got better things to do.

Nor do I see the need for so many women to slather on make-up every day. Women minus make-up usually look just fine, yet there's this constant pressure to conceal their normal face as if it must be hideously ugly. So everywhere you go there are hundreds of artificial, heavily-disguised faces drifting past.

Of course make-up is useful to hide birthmarks, scars or bruises you would prefer not to be seen, but if all you're trying to do is hide pimples, freckles or wrinkles, why on earth bother? Not to mention the astronomical price of a tube of moisturiser or a pot of body lotion, whose ingredients probably cost about 20p.

At my age anyway the wrinkles and blemishes are so thick on the ground a lorry-load of make-up wouldn't provide much camouflage.

In any case, if I looked 20 years younger, my bus pass might arouse too much suspicion.


  1. Sorry to pipe up - I am sure you'll handle it like a man and won't fling my comment into the next bin.

    Have you ever thought about the use of make-up as ENHANCING features rather than a means of hiding blemishes?

    Re Make up and Men, what of Johnny Depp as Sparrow? He'd have been half the pirate he was without his eyeliner. Same for Keith Richards.And Louis XIV what with all his shirts' flounces - think Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen in his heyday, and/or the Three Musketeers.


  2. Isn't there an airline which has stopped demanding that female cabin crew wear make up? About time too...and why men would want to subject themselves to the expensive primping and preening routine is beyond me.

  3. Indian FMCG companies have been marketing make up and grooming material for males for the past couple of decades or so with great success. I don't see any great reason to either condemn it or approve of it. There is obviously a demand and any good marketeer will find ways to cater to that demand.

  4. I've reached the point of finding make-up rather grotesque and certainly not an improvement. It is a lot of work and a huge amount of energy, dying the hair, trowelling on heavy makeup to hide the wrinkles, fixing on the false eyelashes, colouring in brows, hiding the neck, bleaching the liver spots on the backs of hands and waxing anything that sprouts defiantly.

    But hey, in this troubled world if it makes one feel better and deludes them into "youthfulness" have at it would be my motto.

    Not me tho. I have a pot of local cream made from sea-stuff that fixes my uncomfortable dry skin and that's it for me.


  5. Helen: You're right. Virgin Atlantic now allows female cabin crew to go without make-up. They can also wear trousers rather than a skirt.

    Ramana: I'm not condemning people for wearing make-up, only saying I don't see the need. But if it gives you pleasure, fair enough, it's not doing any harm.

  6. www: Exactly, the time and effort required to apply all this stuff is absurd. And for what purpose? Simply to satisfy some arbitrary notion of what a woman (or man) should look like.

  7. I have used coconut oil now for years as my only moisturizer. I absolutely love it! the simplicity of it is so great. and it's such a light oil! heavenly really. I used to think it might make one smell like a candy bar. but nope! the faint coconut smell goes away.
    I also love that women might now feel they have a choice in makeup and clothes. once upon a time most jobs here REQUIRED make up and high heels and panty hose. now you can dress more comfortably and apparently not feel you have to look like Sex in the City!
    still... it's a multi trillion dollar industry. and not going away anytime soon. even as you say... now adding men to the marketing targets!

  8. For me it’s just laziness. I haven’t worn makeup in years and don’t even think about it.

  9. A friend once asked me why I have so few wrinkles at my age. I think it's because I never stretched out my skin by applying makeup. OK, I should not have said never; I did try makeup once upon a time but couldn't convince myself it was worth the time or money to buy more when that trial stuff ran out.

    I'm still amazed that the time I face planted and broke my nose the ENT specialist wanted to break it again so he could give me a "better" one. I told him my old one suited my face just fine so, since the break did not cause a dislocation, I would just wait for it to heal.

  10. I agree that it's all about making money. However, if a man feels better about himself with a little bronzer, fine by me. I've seen plenty who could use help taming their eyebrows!

  11. This is one of those "follow the money" issues. If there's a buck (or, I guess, a pound) to be made, someone is going to make it. That commercial is a little absurd.

    I have become increasingly unimpressed with make-up as I've gotten older. Seems like a lot of time and money get sunk into trying to alter your appearance to suit an unrealistic standard of beauty. I occasionally use a tinted lip balm or mascara, but that's it. Like Tammy, I use coconut oil as a moisturizer. Or olive oil.

  12. I've spent a life time sans make up, and that's fine with me.

  13. I love make-up! Admittedly, less is more when you're older as if you're not careful it'll emphasise lines. BUT, mascara is a must!
    I've had blokes nicking my foundation to cover their spots since the eighties, and to be honest I'm pleased they'll have to buy their own now!

  14. Tammy: Jenny has tried coconut oil but says she found it too greasy for her liking.

    There are still plenty of UK jobs that require the full female uniform of short skirt, high heels etc. Nicola Thorp has been campaigning since 2016 to make high heels optional in workplaces (just high heels!), but still she's meeting a brick wall of resistance.

  15. I hope men are smart enough to not buy into the makeup con so many women have bought into — expensive products made for mere cents they believe makes them beautiful and will keep them looking younger when inexpensive lotions for dry skin, select substance for lips, maybe eyebrow pencil to darken eyebrows if too light to be evident, sunscreen if going to be sun-exposed are the most natural and healthy.

    Most of the other makeup is designed to be worn under nighttime’s artificial lights which can wash facial features out, also stage performances with those lights doing the same so is needed for an audience. As you mention, for various blemishes and/or medical needs certain makeup can be beneficial.

    I think every thing else is simply mostly a money-making machine for makeup product inventors that some users are convinced they need to use and may or may not offer some actual benefits. If people want to squander their money on makeup then by all means do.

  16. Jean: Very sensible. Why waste any time on all that unnecessary palaver?

    Linda: I didn't realise make-up could actually create wrinkles! And yes, why are so many people obsessed with getting a "better" nose, whatever that might be?

  17. Bijoux: I do wonder why so many men are happy to have eyebrows like privet hedges. I always keep my eyebrows to a bare minimum.

    Agent: "An unrealistic standard of beauty" is exactly right. People slavishly imitate glamorous celebs and models, even though they know full well all the photos are doctored and photoshopped and the result of special make-up, hair-dos, wigs, ruthless diets etc. In other words, totally phoney.

  18. Joanne: Good for you!

    Ms Scarlet: Some blokes are dead cheeky. Get your own slap, mister! The only thing I borrow from Jenny is moisturiser, as my forehead wrinkles get inflamed from time to time.

  19. Joared: Yes, performers and presenters can need a bit of make-up to deal with the effects of studio/stage lighting etc. Unfortunately I think a lot of men can be as suggestible as women when it comes to following the latest trends, and once the number of men using make-up reaches a tipping point, all the other men will join in. And heaven forbid men in make-up becomes the workplace dress code!

  20. I think the boys we're raising today will have enough hang-ups without adding this to their load - as indeed will the girls.

  21. Liz: If boys and girls could dress any way they wanted without the rigid rules for each sex, perhaps they might have a few less hang-ups?

  22. It's all about the Benjmins Nick.I grew up in the same age as you and with much the same attitude as yu. As a 6'2" 300lb plus man, not looking intimidating was nearly impossible for me. That is fine as I am ssentially a peaceful guy, although I can more than defend myself quite well. Ther hve been a few occasions in my life when while simply having a beer or two in a bar resulted in some young punk military huy, having had a f ew too many, would try to pick a fight with the biggest guy in the bar. That was often enough me LOL. Perhaps if I'd been properly made up that would not have happened, we will never know. In always did better in bars in college towns as I love to argue/debate.

  23. Chuck: I'm totally the opposite in terms of physique - tall, thin, pigeon-chested, unmuscular, not in the least intimidating, in fact rather weedy looking. I wouldn't dare pick a fight with anyone, I'd be the loser for sure. I've never spent much time in bars, which greatly reduces the chance of someone picking a fight with me!