Boys and Make Up

Boy who is wearing make-up
Q: Is it ok for boys to wear make up?
A: I’m going to assume that you aren’t asking about a gender identity situation. Unfortunately, the answer ties in to all those types of issues (as least from the viewpoint of those around the boy wearing the make-up).
Historically, men have worn make-up in the past, such as in the 16th century when men and women powdered both their wigs and faces to give an even alabaster appearance to the skin. Even today, many men wear bronzers and get “artificial spray-on tans” which amount to make-up imitating the sun-drenched look. Many young men wear tinted acne creams to hide blemishes.
So I suppose the answer lies somewhere in the attitudes of the community in which the boy lives. I wouldn’t expect a 15 year old Boy Scout who teaches Sunday school to wear foundation to church, but then again, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash (pun intended) at a boy hanging out with his Goth and Emo kid buddies for wearing eyeliner. In these instances, the cosmetics are an affectation that goes along with the image and attitude that these young people want to present.
Perhaps there’s something that the boy is looking to conceal or correct in his appearance, such as strong acne, scars or birthmarks, and he sees make-up as a way to cover them up. In these cases, as long as the makeup is used sparingly and is not made too obvious in its application, then the boy should feel free to give it a try.
Some tips for men using cosmetics:
• Keep it neutral. Carefully match your skin tone for foundations and tinted moisturizers, and if you need to use any contouring make-up (blushes, concealer, eyeliner) use strictly neutral tones – browns and beiges – and not blacks, or colors (even such as pinks or peachy tones).
• LESS is DEFINITELY MORE. Use only the minimum coverage to give you the results you seek. If you are looking to balance splotchy skin, try using a tinted moisturizer as opposed to a full-fledged foundation.
• Keep your expectations reasonable. Those of us who have seen the special effects make-up created for such shows as “Black and White” or the Eddie Murphy “White Guy” bit know that very realistic looks can be created using cosmetics. But you as an average person will not have the expertise nor the budget needed to create dramatically realistic effects. Making a scar less obvious is reasonable. Trying to cover a port wine stain birthmark that covers a large portion of your face is not something you can accomplish without the results being an obvious make-up job.
Obviously, this only applies to those who are using cosmetics for the purpose of concealing and correcting perceived flaws. If the use of cosmetics stems from the desire to create a certain look or image (such as among the Goth and Emo communities) then the rules differ. For those who fit the “concealing and correcting” category, your skill in applying the cosmetics will play a large part in how the wearing of such is received. Remember, low-key is best.
Photo: Cookie Studio/Shutterstock
See also:
Make-up tips and advice
Men's fashion