Grooming Doctor: Can Real Men Wear Make Up?

Esquire writers tackle the final frontier of male grooming

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Time was, the thought of dabbing on a dot of ‘spot-fighting’ concealer to obscure a rogue blemish would have sent most men into a cold sweat. The world of make-up was one populated solely by women and blokes who went by different names at the weekend. No longer.

Earlier this week Marc Jacobs, one of the most influential designers in the world, announced the launch of his first range of make up for men. Including a bronzer, eye shadow palette and a concealer, the collection is aimed squarely at grooming savvy men with money to burn. You lot, in short.

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But are even the most cosmopolitan members of the male species ready to start wearing make-up? Will we soon see businessmen applying fat strokes of mascara on the tube, or yuppie estate agents slapping on viscous licks of nail varnish on the number 42? The short answer is no. Not any time soon, at least.

What is more likely, however, is that we, as a group, will begin to embrace subtler products – approachably packaged concealers which cover up the bags beneath our eyes, bb creams which moisturise, conceal and tint the skin all at once and simple bronzers, for instance.

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But what are these male-friendly products and where do you find them? To help you decide if you’re ready to take the plunge we’ve selected three of the best on the market and asked three Esquire staffers to test them out. Here are the results.

 

1 | The Tinted Moisturiser 

BB tinted moisturiser SPF35, by Lab Series

Tested by William Hersey, Editor, Esquire Daily

"It reminded me of the stuff I used to nick from my sister's bedroom when I needed spot cover up when I was 16. It went on easy enough and seemed to blend in well so definitely didn't require much effort.

"My initial feeling was that it made me paler rather than added a tint but it definitely evened out various patches and blemishes. A bit like a second coat of paint. Only issue was I had to smear it all over my neck as well to avoid a decidedly dodgy two-tone look.

"The result? Fresh-faced might be pushing it but let's say fresher. And so I left for work wearing make-up. What would my Grandad say. 

"In my first morning meeting, the woman opposite kept looking at me funny but that could have been because I kept checking emails on my phone. I still left paranoid I might have smudged a bit on my nose.

"That's the big worry with doing this. I'd actually have no issue using this every day if it made me look 1% better. Just as long as I never got rumbled."

 

2 | The Concealer

Fonteint Hydrating Concealer by Myego, £16.50

Tested by Dan Davies,  Editor, Esquire Weekly

"I have not been on first name terms with my duvet (or seen much of my wife and toddler) since returning to Esquire Towers as Editor of the new Esquire Weekly edition for iPad.

"The relentless demands of a weekly have resulted in a series of very late nights, cheap food taken at inadvisable times and occasional bouts of solace via the medium of newsagent red wine imbibed at my desk.

"The upshot? Bags under my eyes that Vince Vaughn or WH Auden, a man whose face resembled wet crepe paper (on a good day), would have been proud of.

"Thanks to my colleagues in the grooming department, however, I have been endevouring to conceal the physical manifestations of deep fatigue through liberal application of Myego’s Fontheint Hydrating Enhancer.

"Some kind people have commented that I look younger; whole hours younger in some cases. Nobody seems to have noticed I’ve been wearing make-up, other than for the time I plastered my eyelashes in it, resulting in a bad drag queen approximation of Tilda Swinton.

"I can see myself persisting, though. If nothing else, I can use it as cosmetic Polyfilla to fill the cracks."

 

3 | The Fake Tan

Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skin Care by Sisley, £81

Tested by Teo van den Broeke, Associate Editor

"Until recently my only run-ins with fake tan had been a series of soggy biscuit scent assaults as I walked past my housemate’s room of a morning. The sad, Cuprinol-stained mitt she used to apply the stuff, discarded on her bedroom floor once she’d finished slapping it on, was enough to deter me for good.

"Thing is, I’m quite vain. And, to be honest, I think I look nice with a tan. Which, with winter on its way, has led me to think that it wouldn’t hurt to fake it once in a while. Enter French grooming brand Sisley’s self tanner.

"The primary benefit of this product is the lack of scent. A pale cream, which looks and feels as innocent as your regular moisturiser, it applied with ease, was surprisingly subtle (the effects were near imperceptible, but I definitely looked healthier) and most importantly left no streaks.

"The only down side? I accidentally got a bit of the cream caught in the black hairs of my moustache and it’s gone ginger."