DARE TO ASK: Cover story: Men wear makeup
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
What do people think of men who wear makeup?
J., male, Clay County
I once dated a man who wore makeup to cover blemishes and accentuate
features. I didn't think he was less masculine or homosexual or anything.
Nan, 25, Albuquerque, N.M.
Men who regularly wear makeup should see a psychiatrist. Perhaps certain men
can be excused for wearing it -- such as actors, rodeo clowns and bank robbers.
Ron S., 60, Stockton, Calif.
I think it's kind of sexy. A girl can relate to wanting to look as beautiful
as you can, and it's nice to know some guys care about their appearance.
Wyn, female, Augusta, Ga.
I confess I used to wear eyeliner when I went clubbing in L.A. (the '80s were
a wacky time). Now I'm just a soap-and-water and off I go kinda guy. I don't
know why any man would wear makeup nowadays. We aren't under the same societal
pressures to hide flaws as women are. As I type this, I have a zit on my cheek
for all to see. That's life!
Matt, 38, Irvine, Calif.
I kind of like a man in eyeliner. It's hot if worn right.
Rachael, 17, Fond du Lac, Wis.
This just in: The chap in the cubicle next to you may be powdering his nose.
And the guy pouring the concrete slab for your new home may be laying a little
foundation elsewhere as well.
U.S. sales of men's skincare products rose 13 percent in 2004, to $59 million
-- more than twice as fast as women's skincare sales, according to NPD Beauty, a
division of market information company The NPD Group. Retail gains in men's
grooming products nationwide topped 37 percent between 1998 and 2003, as men
caught on to the importance of looking good, according to research company
It's not just pimple cream we're talking about. Urged on by marketers, men
are snapping up exfoliating facial scrub, eye gel, facial moisturizers, lip
gloss (OK, lip agent), lash-styling glaze, eyeliners and nail pens, among other
"men's enhancement products."
"I used to think my market was baby boomers or gay men, but it's every guy.
The adolescent with acne, the college student with a presentation, the guy on
his first interview," said industry pioneer Michele Probst, founder of Menaji
cosmetics -- er, skincare products -- for men. "I even have brigadier generals
who are clients; we've shipped stuff to them in Afghanistan."
Probst's Web site at menskincare.com lists clients such as Tom Brokaw,
Evander Holyfield, Eddie George and Al Gore.
Women, she said, want their men to look good. And men like the results.
"I can't tell you how many wives buy our products for their men. One lady in
New Jersey, her husband is a cop and he'd been stealing her makeup, so she
bought him all our stuff and put it in her drawer for him . . . now he orders it
on his own."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.