It’s hard to ignore that the cosmetic world is expanding at an incredible rate. And with that expansion comes the growth of the makeup community.
Gone are the days of makeup being marketed to one demographic. The new norm is people from all cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life enjoying the magic of beauty products, including men and nonbinary folks.
Whether you’re looking to transform your face entirely, or just trying to enhance your natural features, there should never be a feeling of shame associated with wanting to look and feel good about yourself.
If there’s one truth in the makeup world, it’s that there are absolutely no rules. There are no limits, boundaries, or barriers that will keep you from being your best self.
So, what are the best masculine makeup tips? Well, it depends on what kind of look you’re going for. If you’re enhancing your natural features or creating more masculine ones, you’ll only need a couple of staple products for contouring. If you’re looking to express yourself in a more artistic manner, we recommend trying out eyeshadow and eyeliner.
Or, you could just be interested in covering up a blemish or two. Whatever it is you’re looking to do, know that the world is your oyster!
We know, it’s kind of a lot to take in at once. The makeup community can be like that upon first dip, but we promise that the water’s fine. If you’re still confused, read on; we’ll demystify all the techniques we mentioned above so that you’ll be able to try them out on your own with full confidence.
Makeup For Men – How To Use It
1. Got Zits?
Let’s be real, no one has truly perfect skin. Even people with baby soft faces have had their share of bad skin days – but why should we let a pimple with bad timing put a damper on our day?
If you’ve fallen victim to a breakout, the first thing you should reach for (after washing your face and hands) is a concealer.
Its job is in its name. A concealer’s purpose in your makeup arsenal is to cover up any unwanted blemishes. If you have dry skin, find a hydrating concealer (we love this one from Neutrogena). If you have any other skin type though, find a concealer that’s thicker and dries down quickly (like this one from Maybelline).
This will ensure it doesn’t budge throughout the day. The most important thing is ensuring that your concealer is the exact same color as your skin tone.
There are literally hundreds of concealers on the market, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to finding a good shade and formula. When it comes to a brand that achieves both, we can’t recommend E.l.f. enough. It’s affordable, and their Camo Concealer line would be a great place to start.
To apply, simply put some concealer on the back of your clean hand, and use a finger to lightly pick up some product to dab it onto your blemish until it disappears. Do not use a concealer wand directly on your skin, or you will contaminate the rest of your product. Do not rub the product into the skin like lotion or you won’t cover anything.
Take a look at this useful tutorial below from Brute Choi on YouTube.
Blushing is cute sometimes. But, if you’ve noticed that you suffer from constant redness throughout the day, it may be putting a damper on your self confidence.
If your goal is to look as natural as possible, then you’re probably going to be happiest with a color correcting BB or CC cream (our absolute favorite is this anti-redness BB cream from L’Oréal Paris). If even that seems like too much to start with, then you’re in luck! Tinted sunscreens are also an incredible choice (like this hydrating one from CeraVe).
When it comes to choosing a face shade, it differs from choosing a concealer shade. Match your product to your neck – this will keep your head and neck looking cohesive and more natural.
What’s great about these light base products is that they’re buildable and easy to use. Simply squeeze a bit of product on your fingertips and rub it into your skin like you would a moisturizer. Blend as much as you’d like; the more you blend, the more natural the finish will be on your skin.
You don’t need to apply it onto your whole face if you don’t want to either. You can just rub it into the areas that are reddest.
Here’s a useful tutorial on how to hide redness with tinted products from Carl Cunard on YouTube.
Men tend to have greasier faces, so it’s no surprise if you’re concerned about greasy skin. Thankfully, it’s an easy fix.
Pick up a translucent powder – it’s important that you choose one that’s translucent as it will give you the most natural result. If you’re interested, we have a whole article about the Best Face Powders for Men for you to check out.
One with color can provide coverage as well, if you’re looking to cover blemishes, but use it sparingly if you go for this option because it can make your face look flat, cakey, or dry.
A lot of powders these days come with a powder puff for application, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to pick up a good powder brush to apply it with. It’s easy to find a great one online, like this one, and they are extremely inexpensive – your local drugstore should carry an array to choose from.
Pick up some product with your brush and gently press it into the greasy areas of your face. This is typically the chin and the “T-Zone” (a horizontal line on the forehead and down the nose). Applying powder here will prevent grease from breaking through, leaving you oil free throughout the day.
If you’re worried about the potential mess a powder can make, you could also find oil blotting sheets like these super effective ones on Amazon. These aren’t necessarily a makeup product as much as a cosmetic tool.
They’re basically little sheets of paper that soak up excess oil on the surface of your skin. It won’t leave behind a tint or powdery finish, and you can use it as many times as you’d like throughout the day. These are a great, effective, and extremely inexpensive option.
4. Bushy Brows
Tweezing hurts, and that’s a truth all of us can admit. Men tend to have thicker brow hairs than women, so tweezing can be an extra painful process. But, if you’re worried about your brows looking too unruly, or want them to frame your face a little better, you may want to consider picking up a brow gel (try this one from NYX)!
Brow gels are there to lock your hairs into place, and you have the option of buying one with a tint (if you want fuller looking brows) or buying one that’s clear simply to keep your hairs under control.
This is a great makeup item to have if you notice your brows sitting on your face unevenly, or that their natural droop has you looking sleepy or uninterested throughout the day!
Simply unscrew your brow gel to find a spoolie (like the kind you see on mascara), and brush the gel onto your brows using upwards motions. If you have super long hairs, you may want to consider trimming them down just a bit before starting, or else you’ll have long vertical lines for eyebrows instead of a groomed finish.
You can also simply trim and tweeze your eyebrows, but sometimes that’s better said than done, and you really don’t want to end up over-plucking.
Here’s a great tutorial from JairWoo on YouTube for trimming your brows to perfection.
5. Dark Spots or Under Eyes
If you’re a student, or working a job that keeps you up late, you’ve probably noticed your inner tiredness reflecting in a very outward manner.
Hyperpigmentation and the look of dark circles tend to become more obvious with lack of sleep, because your body isn’t getting the rest it needs to repair the delicate skin on your face.
While you work out a better sleeping schedule, consider picking up a brightening concealer (this one from Neutrogena includes antioxidants) for your skin! These are different than regular concealers, as they’re built to cover those deep gray and brown tones you see on under eyes and acne scarring.
Before you apply concealer though, try and take down any puffiness or inflammation by cooling down the delicate under eye area. You can do this by using an eye cream like our favorite one from CeraVe or by sticking a pair of spoons in the freezer the day before and gently holding the bowls onto your eyes. This will cool them down and reduce the look of your dark circles so the concealer can show up even better.
And if you’re covering dark spots, you’ll need to do some prep as well! Make sure you wash your face before applying any product. This is a trick you should do whenever you apply makeup. You don’t want to lock in any oil or bacteria; it’ll only make you break out more.
Afterwards, use a clean finger to gently apply the brightening concealer onto the areas you want to correct. If it’s your undereyes, never use a swiping motion – you could cause premature wrinkling and compromise the opacity of your concealer. Always buff it in using light dabbing motions. Start with a small amount to begin, and you can build up coverage as you see fit.
If it’s dark spots you’re worried about, just bounce your finger on the surface of the spot until it disappears from your skin.
Because these are brightening concealers we’re using, we want to use them sparingly. These concealers reflect light off of them, so using a light hand is a must for a natural finish.
Here’s a great tutorial from the Terribly Handsome channel on YouTube.
6. Pale Lips
Some people lack natural pigmentation in their lips, or the pigmentation tends to fade out on the outer edges of your mouth, leaving you with a less defined lip line.
To bring a little more life back into your mouth, we think that picking up a lip color is the way to go. This doesn’t need to be expensive, it could be as simple as choosing a tinted chapstick next time you’re at the grocery store.
But, if you’re looking for something you can put on and not have to worry about reapplying, or the color smudging throughout the day, investing in a lip stain is a great choice.
Lip stains will truly stain your lips. It’s a color that won’t budge, whether you’re talking, eating, or kissing. There are a multitude of different formulas out there, so do your research to find your best fit. The most common form comes in a tube, the product inside being very thin and watery.
To use, simply dot some product onto your mouth and quickly rub it in with a clean finger. Work fast, as this product dries down quickly – this will ensure you don’t leave the fine lines of your mouth too deeply saturated with color.
This product can be a bit drying, so you can either put chapstick on before application (make sure to let it dry down for at least 5 minutes before putting your lip tint on top), or you can apply chapstick afterwards.
Masculine Contouring – For All Genders
For those looking to give their face more masculine definition, or to enhance their already razor-sharp features, look no further than contouring.
Contouring is basically adding imaginary shadows to your face; when done well, it’ll give you the look of more naturally defined features. Popular places to add shadow are in the hollows of your cheekbones, right underneath your jaw line, and the sides of your nose to highlight your nose bridge.
Of course, there are a ton of options to choose from when it comes to contouring.
You can use a powder contour, which likely comes in a compact. For this, you’re going to need a contour brush (which is different than the powder brush we talked about earlier). A contour brush has bristles that are angular, so it’s build for making sharper lines.
Powder contours are a great pick for someone who needs their definition to last all day, folks who tend to have oilier skin, and those who aren’t worried with looking like they have makeup on, as it tends to sit a bit heavier on the skin.
For those who just need a little extra help with their defined features, or want a more subtle, natural finish overall, you may want to think about getting a cream contour. Cream contours can come in palettes, tubes, or even bullets like lipsticks.
These formulas melt into the skin, giving a very skin-like finish. However, it’s easy to go overboard with these, and any mistakes are a bit harder to correct, so only choose this option if you can promise to yourself to use a light hand!
How To Do It
Once you’ve got your product picked out, you’re gonna want to do a quick study of your face. You’re first going to want to map out the places you want to contour on your skin. It’s better to go in with a game plan so that you don’t overdo it with product! Finding the correct places to contour isn’t as simple as you may think.
For cheekbones, suck in the hollows of your cheeks. From here, you’ll be able to see where you should place the product. You don’t want to go in as deep as the hollows, but rather from your ear to just underneath your cheek bone.
Try and avoid going down in a vertical line or you’ll look sallow, and not too horizontal, as that would look unnatural. Just follow the lines of your face.
For the jawline, you’ll want to feel your skin to find the bone underneath your jaw. This is where you’ll be putting contour. It may seem strange at first, but the shadow gives such a crisp definition. You can also add it on the angle of your jawline nearest your ear, a very masculine area that would look great with added shadow.
The main trick of contour is that it makes things look smaller, so use it if you want to bring less attention to certain areas. If you want to reduce the size of your nose, for example, you can brush some contour on either side of your nose bridge. If you have a wider forehead, some contour on either side of your forehead can bring in the area a bit.
Using Powdered Contour
If you’ve chosen a powder form, use a light hand with your angle brush to pick up some product. You don’t need to dig into the pan to get a ton of product – even just lightly dabbing the brush onto the pan can be enough.
We suggest starting with the lightest amount of powder possible, especially for beginners. From here, brush the powder into your cheekbone using upwards motion. Upwards motion is important as it will have a lifting effect on your face.
Using Cream Contour
If you’ve opted for a cream formula, we think the best way to apply this is by using a beauty sponge. You can get the disposable white triangles, which are inexpensive and come in large packs for regular use. But, if you’ll be doing this on a regular basis, we think that investing in a good quality beauty sponge is a great choice too. Plus, it blends much easier.
Go ahead and dampen your sponge a bit. We don’t want it wet, so make sure you squeeze any excess water out. After that, go ahead and dot along the contour points on your cheekbone with your product. Use a light hand. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s easy to go overboard with this, and it’s easier to add more product than it is to take product away.
Once you’re all dotted up, bounce your sponge onto the contour dots until they blend into your skin. Don’t use swiping motions as they could leave you streaky, simply work on the dots with your sponge until they melt into the natural line of your bone structure. This method needs a little more patience, so nly do it if you have time to be extra careful!
Another tip? Don’t dot out your entire face if it’s your first time. Once you have more practice and can get through the process faster, then you can map out your face, but we don’t want to risk the product drying down too much before you get to it. This will make it harder to blend and work with, leaving you looking blotchy which is definitely not natural.
If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a great tutorial from Carl Cunard on YouTube for accentuating already masculine features using contour.
If you’re working with more feminine features to start out with and are hoping to create a more masculine appearance through the magic of makeup, here’s another great tutorial from Marthe Woertman on YouTube.
For The Artsy
Maybe you’re looking to express your own personal style when it comes to your makeup, and if that’s the case, we think that starting off with eye makeup is a fantastic choice.
The eyes are typically the focal point of most artsy makeup looks, as people use their lid space like an artist’s palette for their work. With practice, you could do extremely intricate designs, but if you’re just starting out, then we’ll teach you the basics!
A pencil eyeliner is among one of the first makeup products people start out with on their cosmetic journey, and it’s probably because of how quick the learning curve is and how dramatically it can change your face! This is great of you want smoky, dark looking eyes ala Johnny Depp.
To do this, find a pencil eyeliner that’s long-wearing. This will prevent it from melting and smudging around your face throughout the day. After you’ve found your pick, make sure it’s a fine point so you have more control over where you’re placing the product.
Then, with a gentle hand, draw a line closest to your natural lash line. For a smoky look, line both your lower and upper lashes. This is different than lining your waterline, which is closer to the inside of your eye – we’re only placing product on your skin.
Use a light and gentle hand, and don’t be afraid of messing up. The great thinking about this smoky look is that it’s forgiving! When you’re all lined up, you can blend and smudge the liner out to give a less defined appearance to your liner.
You can do this with a clean, warm finger, or even with a q-tip! Just be gentle. You can even do this with more colors than just black for different looks!
Liquid and Gel Liner
There are some that come in a pen form, which are the easiest to work with, but there are also ones with brushes you have to dip into the product itself (this is a great option if you have steady hands, or are already familiar with using paintbrushes).
Instead of just lining your lash line, you can use liquid liners to draw designs on your face! It’s easier and longer lasting than using a pencil, and the color payoff is definitely worth it.
Stars and teardrops are popular in the editorial sense, but you can do some personal research to find what fits best for you! This is also a great option if you want to test out what some potential face tattoos would look like since you have more control over your design!
But if you’re someone looking for just a pop of color, or you don’t think you’re ready to tackle eyeliner just yet, you truly can’t go wrong with some eyeshadow.
Eyeshadow isn’t only as intricate of a technique as you make it. There are no ruled stating you have to use more than one shadow at a time either. So, you can sweep a single color over your entire lid and call it a day, or you could play with shadows and highlight to make more complex eye looks.
Brushing a neutral brown shade over your lid is a great way to give it more definition if you’re looking for a natural finish, but if you’re in the mood for something more fun, you could even sweep more rich colors like reds and blues to really give your look some life.
Don’t feel limited to your lids either! You could even pop the color onto the inner corners of your eyes or underneath your lower lash line depending on what the look your going for is.
This can look very editorial and high fashion, and it’s making strides in the masculine community due to celebrities like Harry Styles and the resurgence in popularity of old music stars like Billy Idol.
Up Next: Best Face Powders For Men