From ancient Egyptians who lined their eyes with cosmetic black kohl made of powdered stone to European kings who powdered their faces; historically men have always worn makeup. Dating back to 3,000 B.C, men colored their nails with egg and gelatin to assert their privilege and status in China and Japan.
Today, makeup brands are diversifying by choosing men as the face for their make-up advertisements. Men such as Manny Gutierrez for Maybelline and James Charles for Covergirl.
Still, men wearing makeup is not something people are used to seeing.
Andrew Rodriguez, journalism major, is motivated to use beauty products as a way to explore different sides of his personality.
Rodriguez plans out when he will be wearing his makeup, based what he is doing and where he is going. When going to places like Eureka, Rodriguez chooses to wear subtle makeup. On university campus grounds, Rodriguez gets complimented while wearing a full face of makeup. Because he is a man who wears makeup, Rodriguez sticks out and says that people go out of their way to compliment him.
“I know if a girl were next to me wearing makeup, they wouldn’t go out of their way to tell me I look good or ask me to do their makeup,” Rodriguez said. “The makeup helps me define my emotions.”
Rodriguez feels comfortable shopping at Ulta in Eureka in order to create a look with colors like cranberry and pink and a glowing bright face. He is empowered by men like Manny Gutierrez who keep their facial hair because it solidifies the idea that he can be masculine and still wear makeup.
“Makeup can be universal, you just have to look at it that way,” Rodriguez said.
The first time Rodriguez’s mom saw him wear makeup she was in shock.
“When she saw me with the dramatic eyes and full makeup, it was a new perspective for her,” Rodriguez said.
After never having seen him wear makeup in his 20 years of life, she told him it was going to take time to get used to.
Omar Mejia, an economics major who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but is a makeup enthusiast.
Mejia wears NYX’s shimmery iridescent cream highlighter stick.
“I was fascinated by the idea of a product that can make your face glow and light up,” Mejia said.
Since Mejia’s makeup is more neutral and simple, his straight friend at one point just thought that he took very good care of his face through a skin care routine, but was surprised to find out that he was actually wearing highlighter.
“I grew up with the prevalent concept of machismo,” Mejia said. “As I got older I wanted to sever that connection to machismo because it’s a very toxic concept and its gross.”
To many Latinx, machismo is the belief that a real man needs to strive to be the most manly he can possibly be.
The first time Mejia’s mom noticed him wearing highlighter. “Omar, are you in love? Because you’re glowing,” she asked.
“My mom is open minded and progressive, but she definitely has her criticisms just like a lot of Latinx moms,” Mejia said.
Erick Garcia, a freshman sociology major, was introduced to makeup through subcultures and the intersexual feminist movement.
“I grew up in subculture so when I apply makeup that’s my final act, that’s my true form,” Garcia said.
Garcia believes in loving your own skin. He avoids foundation, but wears everything else. He wears highlighter, eyeshadow, and lipstick and views each piece of makeup as an art concept.
“It’s part of my gender performance,” Garcia said. “I understand that I am a more masculine person but attaching things that are more feminine to me makes me feel better about myself.”
Garcia’s Salvadorian mom tells him not to wear makeup around her because she feels it is disrespectful.
“Society is changing, I view my existence as an act of deviance,” said Garcia.“Being queer and POC I make my own culture, because I can’t hold on to being both queer and Latinx, you have to make your own community.”
“I feel like my queerness stops my latinx identity, since there’s so much stigma in the Latinx community against queer identifying people,” Garcia said.