Guys have a funny relationship with makeup.
And before I go further, I should state that I absolutely hate blog posts that make gross over-generalizations about the opposite sex. I mean it. It’s like, my very least favorite. Because no, nice guys don’t always finish last, and yes, there are actually some women out there who don’t obsess over chocolate and babies. And ladies, believe it or not, sometimes you are the dense one. And so, just let me say this: I write the following based only on my experiences with guys and their understanding of makeup. These conclusions are based solely on what I’ve learned during my short time in my own teensy slice of the universe, and if I were to meet someone who defied the following conclusions, I would fail to be surprised. So anyhow …
I’ve been a careful observer of how guys respond to makeup for years, and not necessarily for the sake of seeing what attracts the most positive attention. Some makeup features seem to go completely unnoticed, like bronzer. Other things, however, can garner every kind of strong opinion (as one guy I know feels like red lipstick makes you look like “a clown”, and another I know feels it makes a girl look all kinds of 1940s awesome). There’s one thing through this that I’ve found to be certain, though: it is difficult to find a makeup item that’s universally praised and appreciated by guys. In fact, it’s difficult to determine if makeup is universally praised or appreciated at all by the dudes. Shiny, healthy-looking hair is universally appreciated by malefolk. Skin that appears well cared for is, too. Makeup, however, seems to be different. It somehow doesn’t attract the same amount of attention from guys as something like glowing skin or pretty hair, and yet ironically, I’ve found that it attracts criticism much faster than the topics of skincare or hair. The opinions, overall, are fewer, but the ones that exist are quite deep-seated.
I’ve known too many guys who’ve felt that the application of makeup is equivocated with a desperate desire to change yourself. Coloring your hair is coloring your hair, but creating a different look for your face means you are having a crisis of insecurity and identity. It means you want to cover yourself up. It means you hate your features. And now, I’m beginning to feel that I’m exaggerating. Again, this hasn’t been the case for all guys I’ve known, but it’s honestly been the case for a great many. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I want a girl who doesn’t wear makeup”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t think she needs to cover herself up”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t spend so much time on herself”. Let me ask you this, gents: Do you even know when a girl is wearing makeup half the time? I mean, I have a feeling you may have something more like this in mind when you think of the word ‘makeup’. But tell me, when you think of the subject, do you ever think of this? Or this? Or this? No? All of the three aforementioned looks involve a great deal of makeup and an even greater deal of time and effort in order to make the look a natural one. It’s quite ironic, you see- most wouldn’t be able to keep their jaws from hitting the floor if they realized the amount of product application, blending, and highlighting it takes to produce a truly high-quality “natural” makeup look. Next time you suspect a girl of wearing no makeup simply because she looks “natural”, leave room for the possibility that she may, in fact, have put in a little bit of effort to look that “effortless”. There’s a science to it. Trust me. And the millions of other girls that are “natural” makeup scientists like me.
Now, I suppose we can all agree that there can come a point where one reaches “TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!!!!”. Where exactly that line is, however, is tough to pinpoint. If you knew just how much makeup Natalie Portman was wearing at, say, the 2012 Academy Awards, you would certainly scream TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!! However, because it doesn’t necessarily look like “too much makeup” from our point of view, we don’t slam her for it. My guess as to where the line between “too much” and “acceptable” is lies somewhere within the judgment of whether or not the makeup begins to obstruct or alter one’s natural features. But it’s even hard for everyone to agree when exactly ones comes to this point. It unfortunately seems to be a subjective case of “I know it when I see it”.
There are those gentlemen, however, that don’t abide makeup in any quantity at all. Long ago, I knew a guy that, upon accidentally coming into possession of my makeup, literally refused to give me my makeup back. There was no negotiating; it was his now and he did not want me to have it any longer. It was the strangest, most alarming thing- he just hated it when I wore makeup, almost as a rule. I realize that such an attitude is probably fairly uncommon among guys, but I have to say that my husband’s first comment on the subject of makeup put to ease any fears of male makeup hatred- “Hey, you know, if the barn looks good red, then why not paint it red?” Now there’s a cheerful spirit!
I guess that’s the one thing I’d want to pass on to any malefolk that are feeling extra suspicious of makeup- to perhaps see it not as a means of changing oneself, but rather a means of enhancing. We like the canvas, and now we just want to have fun with it. I like lining the inner rims of my eyes because of how it makes my eyes look. I like filling in my eyebrows a little bit because of how it frames my face. No, I don’t want to change my face or cover my face; I want to enhance and make the best use of my face. Of course there are always exceptions to this, but I’d say that for the most part, makeup really is just a means of having fun with another artistic media. Trust us, it’s safe in our hands.
However, it is not always safe in the hands of a dude when he’s curious about trying his own hand at a set of brushes.
And furthermore, it’s even less safe when you allow him to attempt his version of a “smokey eye” on you as his first go-round with said brushes.
He expressed a desire to line my lower lids with shadow, but I think his precision was a bit off. Maybe just a little bit? Oh well. If you can’t achieve a Keira Knightley-level smokey eye, at least you know you’ll end up with a female version of Heath Ledger’s Joker. I’m not sure if I’ve ever looked better. Matt, you’ve made me proud.
And I must say you don’t look too shabby, either.
I’m pretty sure he’s wearing MAC’s Ruby Woo, if you’re interested. xo, MR