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We know that throughout history men have always been wearing makeup - starting as early as 3000 BC in China and Japan, to Elizabethan England during which men wore powder all over their faces to whiten their skin as a sign of wealth. 

However, at some point humankind started associating makeup with femininity, and it was frowned upon to wear makeup as a man. Thankfully, with the male color cosmetics market expected to expand at a CAGR of ~11% between 2019 and 2029, we can expect makeup for men to be normalized again. High-profile celebrities as well as influencers and TikTokers are contributing to this too, by challenging stereotypical gender norms. Makeup is no longer "just for women" - which, frankly, history shows it has never been anyway. 


Different men, different wants

Brands should realize that creating beauty products for men comes with several matters to consider. Not just in terms of application (nobody wants foundation to clump up in their beards!); we should also bear in mind that some men want a look that is traditionally associated with masculinity, while others might want to accentuate their feminine features. In the former, genderfluid makeup might not always hit the spot. There is opportunity here to expand the rather basic repertoire that is men's makeup today and meet everyone's wishes.

Marketing makeup to the wide scope of men

Being mindful of any marketing element - from packaging to social media campaigns - when it comes to marketing makeup to men can determine the success of your brand. Using packaging and fragrance can already have a direct impact - we're seeing makeup brands target men with dark colors and musky scents. Brands are continuing to find success in shifting their advertising strategies to accommodate the things that certain men are interested in.

Existing brands like Chanel and Tom Ford already jumped on the bandwagon with Boy de Chanel and Tom Ford for Men, respectively. Cosmetics brand Stryx tries making cosmetics less intimidating for men by literally positioning itself in a place that men generally visit anyway - in the shaving section aisle. Combined with its discrete black-and-white packaging it allows men to carry these products without "losing face" - although we hope that this new trend will get rid of any stigmas surrounding men wearing makeup!

It's not just existing brands that are targeting men now. New brands are popping up, only selling products targeted to those who identify as men. 

These brands are probably right in thinking that certain men might respond better to what is considered more masculine branding. War Paint is a makeup brand that is taking on this more masculine approach - its name alone likens a man's everyday life to battle. The brand relies on a specific kind of "masculine" iconography, like skulls and tattoos, and states that their objective is to break down the barriers that prevent men from wearing makeup, thus making makeup gender neutral. There is, however, a fine line between masculinity and toxic masculinity, which this brand has in the past been called out for. Their response: "If females can have products just for women, why can't men? Our aim is to allow makeup to be gender neutral and to do that we must have male specific brands also".

Another brand targeting men - albeit less bold than War Paint - is MMUK MAN, which distinguishes itself with punny product names like "Guyliner", the "Men Pen Concealer", and "Manscara". MMUK MAN is said to have launched the world's first lipstick for men, although we'd like to argue that they rather reinvented lipstick for men, given that lipstick was already worn by men in ancient Egypt!

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Formulation inspiration

If you're new to formulating makeup for men but would like to get started, here are some formulations available on Covalo that can help you on your way:



Even though various brands have different approaches when it comes to marketing makeup to men, we see an overall trend of using neutral and dark colors rather than pink hues and pastels, and symbols used on packaging also differ from those associated with more feminine products, from antlers to skulls.

Makeup can help men feel more appealing and confident - just like it does for everyone! We are convinced that makeup should be for everyone, no matter your identity.

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