Male students use cosmetics for expression and concealment

Ria Parikh | Staff Writer

Modern day makeup users are shaking the foundation of gender roles.

In recent years, male representation has become more popular in the beauty industry. Many of the most subscribed makeup channels on YouTube are run by males and makeup companies have begun to advertise with males.

Sophomore Nick Rodriguez said one reason he enjoys wearing makeup is to try to show society that not everything needs to have a gender assignment.

“(I wear makeup) just to make myself look better than I usually do,” Rodriguez said. “Labeling is not a good thing, so (I’m) breaking that barrier of only girls wearing makeup. Not everything is set for specific things. Pink doesn’t relate to girls; blue doesn’t relate to boys.”

Rodriguez said that when he chooses to wear makeup, he uses mostly skin and face products.

“(I wear makeup) whenever I feel like it and whenever I have a clean plate to work with,” Rodriguez said. “(I usually wear) primer, color correcting, foundation, concealer, contour, and highlighter.”

Senior Oliver Voyten was born female but identifies as a male. Voyten said that he did not wear much makeup as a girl because he did not feel comfortable with the feminine connotations that were associated with it.

“I wore less makeup as a girl,” Voyten said. “Maybe it was part of the fact that I was thinking I was female and maybe that there was something wrong with it. In sixth grade, I wore a lot of makeup, but I phased out of wearing makeup. I didn’t feel comfortable wearing makeup because it was something girly I didn’t want to take part in.”

Voyten said he gave makeup another chance once he became more comfortable with his identity.

“When I started identifying as a boy, I definitely wasn’t wearing makeup,” Voyten said. “As I became more comfortable (with my identity), I realized that it was kind of silly–that it didn’t make me less of a boy to wear makeup. If I enjoy it, and I feel better with it, there’s not really a reason to stop, especially when I think it’s important to change people’s perceptions that makeup only has to be only a girl’s thing.”

Rodriguez said his family was supportive of his decision to wear makeup; although, he did receive some negativity from other people.

“My mom’s all for it,” Rodriguez said. “She goes and fights with (me). I’ve received a few negative (comments), but it’s just been really minor.”

Although Rodriguez said his family was supportive of his decision, Voyten said his family was against him wearing makeup, especially during his transition from female to male; nevertheless, he said boys should not be afraid to wear makeup.

“I’m transitioning to a boy, (so my family thinks I) shouldn’t still be wearing makeup, because it’s a ‘girl thing,’ but I am very much here (to say) it doesn’t have to be a girl’s thing; I don’t see why it’s a girl’s thing,” Voyten said. “You don’t have to do a full face every day as a guy, but if it can make you look better, and if you have something you want to cover up on your face, I would say ‘Here’s some concealer.’”

Sephora product consultant Sam Wells said within the past 18 months that she has been working at Sephora, she has noticed males have recently had an increased level of confidence when they buy makeup.

“When I first started working here, I noticed that it wasn’t as popular as it is now,” Wells said. “If they were (buying makeup), they weren’t as confident to ask me for help. They were just in their zone; they knew that didn’t want any help, and now, they come in with full faces and (are) much more confident than they used to be. They feel like they can come in and feel more accepted than they may have been a year or so ago.”

To encourage more males to wear makeup, Wells said that Sephora advertises with people of all ages and genders wearing makeup.

“For the holidays, we have all kinds of posters all around,” Wells said. “There were men in the posters, women in the posters, and people of all ages. There was a baby and a woman about 80 years old in the poster.”

In the future, Wells said she hopes that other makeup brands will have more options for men and include more males in their advertising.

“I really hope that more brands cater to both men and women,” Wells said. “(If) you look around here, there are women models everywhere. That’s something I want to see change. (I want to) see guys wearing makeup, girls wearing makeup, anybody.”

On October 11, 2016, CoverGirl cosmetics embraced this change when the company officially announced James Charles as their newest representative, making him the brand’s first male spokesperson. Rodriguez said seeing other guys wear makeup, such as Charles, has allowed him to gain the confidence to wear makeup and to be himself.

“He gives me so much confidence,” Rodriguez said. “He’s doing him (and) what makes him who he is. I like the whole LGBT community trying to fight for what we are trying to do and just make it better.”

Voyten said he hopes that CoverGirl’s choice encourages guys to become more comfortable with wearing makeup.

“It made me so happy when I found out,” Voyten said. “I like that it’s helping with that normalization. I get that it’s not a normal thing for boys to wear makeup, but it’s a cool step in getting people to feel more comfortable. Guys are usually so afraid, and that’s how I felt too before I started wearing it. Stuff like this makes people see that it’s okay, and they don’t have to worry about it so much.”