Once upon a time, wearing makeup was said to be only for women but as our society grows and evolves, we are doing away with gender norms and allowing everyone to join in the fun.
Before, beauty brands had a very specific idea about who their customers were and that customer was always a she. To grab her attention, beauty brands tailored their marketing towards women only. All the women in their adverts weer women and their product names were always gendered and their slogans were geared towards empowering that woman through her looks.It used gendered slogans. They targeted women and women alone and for the moment, that was good enough for them.
Up until a year of so ago, that was the status quo but now, as the world becomes more inclusive and the mainstream idea of gender becomes more fluid, makeup and beauty brands are thinking more widely about their customer base. Brands like Cover Girl and Anastasia Beverly Hills have been releasing campaigns that feature men since 2016 and brands are waking up to the reality that makeup exists for everyone and does not have to be limited to one demographic.
According to Teen Vogue:
Men have been wearing makeup for centuries, but in a beauty industry dominated by women, it's difficult to remember that storied legacy. There is a burgeoning movement though of male Youtube and Instagram stars who are putting their stamp on the beauty industry in a major way for Generation Z and millennials.
In an interview with Glamour Magazine, Jessica Blackler, MUA and founder of gender neutral makeup brand Jecca Makeup said, “For a long time, gender fluid beauty has been underrepresented by mainstream companies, however, outdated perceptions of beauty are finally shifting. Consumers are becoming more open minded and socially conscious which in turn means that brands are looking at this consumer demand and expanding into a whole new and untapped market.
I began working with the LGBT community a couple of years ago, way before the whole gender boom and there was practically nothing that catered for them – they were totally overlooked which is why I created my own brand, so it’s really interesting and refreshing to see how this is now becoming more mainstream.”
During this time, we have also noticed the rise of the male beauty influencer. Young men who are exploring their love of makeup and beauty in front of the lens and making a career from it.
1. Kenneth Senegal
Kenneth Senegal, a Houston, Texas native, is the man behind the YouTube channel HeFlawless. Kenneth's channel is full pf product reviews, makeup tutorials and the lively personality is a welcome bundle of positive energy.
Describing himself as “part-beauty guru and part-entertainer with a lil’ bit extra added to the mix”, Kenneth has amassed an impressive following on Youtube with over 300,000 subscribers and over 25 million views since he launched his channel in 2015.
Speaking to Paper magazine about how his passion for makeup began, Kenneth said:
I first became interested in everything beauty at a very young age. My mother was a showgirl who was often gone performing. I always watched her while she got ready. I also took inspiration from Beyoncé and her simple approach to beauty. And, to balance it all out, I found even more interest in makeup one night when I was sneaking to watch RuPaul's Drag Race. I admired the queens on the show and their skills with makeup artistry so somewhere in between my mother getting ready for her shows, admiring Beyoncé, sneaking to watch RuPaul's Drag Race... I started to play with makeup and the passion grew from there.
2. Kameron Lester
Kameron Lester is a beauty and lifestyle vlogger who is infamous for his HIV positive video in which he admitted to having the disease and told the story about he contracted it from his best friend.
Despite his health issues, Kam has gone on to be a one of the most popular male influencers in the beauty space and is best known for his lively and hilarious product reviews.
We can rely on Lester to review the hot new product launches from brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills and Fenty Beauty, which makes him a great person to follow if you want to be in the know for the latest beauty buys.
Speaking on why he feels his presence in the beauty space matters, Kam said, "My goal is to be on the top and be that representation for young kids so they can see themselves.”
3. Manny Gutierrez
Manuel Gutierrez, popularly known as Manny MUA, is a self-taught make-up artist, YouTuber, and beauty influencer. He also made beauty history by being the first male brand ambassador for the make-up giant, Maybelline.
As well as being a brand ambassador, Manny is also a CEO; he is the founder of cosmetics brand Lunar Beauty. Manny, who has a whopping Instagram following of 4.6m and over 4 million subscribers on Youtube, has a staggering 425 million views on his Youtube channel making him one of the most successful influencers ever.
Manny became interested in makeup at a very young age after watching his mother do her make-up. Although he was on the med school track, Manny, much to the initial disappointment of his family, decided to go down the makeup route. He began his Youtube channel in 2014 and his content consists of make-up tutorials, make-up first impressions, and beauty tips.
In an interview with Glamour magazine, Manny revealed, ''I'm a member of the LGBTQ community, and I feel like we need more representation. In the make-up world, especially, it has always been really, really hard for men in beauty to kind of be seen in a way beyond being a "fad. I think that's a big thing we're headed toward now. [Men in make-up] is much more normalized now.''
4. James Charles
James Charles is an American beauty influencer, makeup artist, model and brand ambassador. In 2016 he made history by becoming the first ever male ambassador for iconic brand, Cover Girl.
Charles went viral overnight and built a career off of his yearbook picture. His picture was all over the internet after he insisted on retaking his high school yearbook photo in order to properly highlight his cheekbones. Using his impressive makeup skills, James made his highlighter pop and from that moment, his career took off and now he has a staggering 15.2m Instagram followers.
Starting his own channel and winning over fans with his outgoing personality, Charles was the toast of the beauty industry. Soon afterwards, his contract with Cover Girl came and catapulted James to star status, making him one of the most popular young beauty vloggers in the industry.
Speaking to the New York Times about being chosen as the first Cover Boy James said, "As more and more guys come to light, the way the internet is, there will be people who don't agree. Those negative comments probably make people not want to do it, because lots of people take that stuff very seriously. The fact that I am the first boy is so cool. It shows that this industry is actually becoming genderless, and we're really making the push toward equal opportunities for everybody, regardless of race, sexuality, gender."
5. Patrick Starrr
Patrick Starrr, real name Patrick Simondac, is a Filipino-American YouTube beauty expert, who works as a professional freelance makeup artist.
Patrick began on YouTube in 2013 and has been on the rise ever since. He's known for his impressive and creative makeup looks and has done makeup for some high profile celebrities including Kim Kardashian.
Life came full circle for Patrick in 2017 when he launched a collection with cosmetics giant MAC after working for them as an artist when he was in high school.
Speaking to People magazine about why makeup is so much more than a hobby, it's a calling, Patrick said, ''I had to work hard to prove that makeup wasn’t just an outlet to be gay. I wanted to show that I’m an educator. I’m talented. I’m an artist. I really wanted to prove to my parents – both immigrants from the Phillipines – that I, as the oldest child, could go to school and pursue something greater than what they’ve ever dreamed for me.''