How to Look Masculine with Makeup for Men


We often associate masculinity with deep voices, hairy chests, and big biceps. Men: it’s time to drop the dumbbells and pick up a makeup brush. Makeup for men can actually make you look as macho as a lumberjack, as long as you’re using the right techniques.

Many men avoid using cosmetics because of the preconceived notion that makeup is a strictly feminine product. The reality is, masculine makeup actually existed before the ancient Egyptians built the Pyramids of Giza back in 2630 BC. Ever notice King Tut’s kohl eyeliner or George Washington’s rosy complexion? Only the most powerful men could afford such luxuries at times when food and water were priority over getting your brows on fleek. Lucky for you – male makeup is making a huge comeback today in both luxury and affordable variations.

While Mr. Washington’s powdered nose was every colonial man’s dream complexion, makeup trends are constantly changing as fast as men’s fashion. Today, the “model” masculine look is much more natural, muted, and rugged. You can even purchase makeup for men online on Differio, the go-to mens makeup site with an eye-popping collection. Moreover, men have slightly different face structures than women, so it’s not always recommended to follow the same makeup tips as women.

Here are some general guidelines for the do’s and don’ts of male makeup, so you know what features to highlight and what tips to ditch.

  • Do: moisturize your skin before applying makeup.

When was the last time you thought dry, patchy skin was sexy? Face moisturizers are one of those universal makeup rules where gender doesn’t matter. It’s crucial to apply a decent moisturizer before going ham on your face, even for oily skin. Not only will it create the smoothest base for makeup, but also includes long term benefits, like anti-aging, which vary by product ingredients. For the healthiest option, choose a moisturizer with at least SPF 15. If you’re really concerned about oily skin, try oil-free daily moisturizers for a less greasy feel.

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  • Don’t: stress over hiding every imperfection on your face.

One of the most popular trends in makeup for men right now is the “no-makeup makeup look”. This means looking your most natural without overdoing it with product. It’s OK if a little scar or blemish is peeking through your foundation because you want to avoid looking obviously fake and airbrushed. Try a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation, also known as BB cream for men. This is one of the best options for an everyday makeup look. The coverage is softer and more lightweight than foundation for men, so you don’t have to worry about leaving the house with cake face.

  • Do: accentuate your lips with a nude tinted lip moisturizer.  

Pouty lips are a stereotypically feminine facial feature, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate life with dull, lifeless lips. There are plenty of super subtle lip moisturizers for men with only the slightest hint of berry and nude undertones. Choose tinted lip balms with a matte finish, and avoid lip products with high-shine or packed with glitter. You’ll achieve soft, kissable lips with a “just bitten” glow.

  • Don’t: contour and highlight on the same areas as women.

Although the differences are very subtle, a woman’s face contouring map focuses more heavily on the cheekbones and less on the jawline. If you’re after a masculine contour, you’ll want to focus on highlighting the edge of your jawline rather than bringing out your cheekbones. For that Matt Bomer definition, apply more contouring powder right above the jawline and go easy on the cheekbone highlight. Contouring makeup is a little more advanced than applying concealer for men, but the results definitely outweigh the time it takes to get the hang of it. This is also great for men with rounder faces that want the illusion of a slimmer face.

  • Do: widen your eyes with an eyelash curler and manscara.

There’s a reason your eyes are referred to as the “windows to your soul”. This is one of the first features people notice about you, so tread carefully when applying eye makeup for men. Less is more when creating classically masculine eyes. You can try clear manscara (aka: mascara for men) or choose a tinted manscara that matches with your facial hair for the subtlest lash effect. For the best results, use an eyelash curler to lift lashes and apply mascara immediately after curling lashes. If you’re going for an edgy, punk look, smudge a pencil guyliner on the lash line before applying mascara.

  • Don’t: shape your eyebrows with a fine, sharp arch.

If women never groomed their eyebrows, the majority would have bushy caveman eyebrows, like the majority of men. Unless you’re brows are naturally curved high, avoid over plucking and shaping them with a thin, sharp arch. Typical masculine brows lay much flatter and thicker on the brow bone than women. Rather than focusing on the shape of your brows, concentrate on filling in any sparse or uneven areas. Try a dual-purpose brow and beard filler to get the most bang for your buck for men’s makeup you can use on more than just one area of the face.

  • Do: what makes you feel your most masculine.

At the end of the day, no one can tell you what to do with your makeup. These are mere guidelines for what is generally respected as “masculine”. However, if you feel like your most testosterone self in some neon eye shadow and ruby lipstick, don’t hesitate to experiment with different looks. Makeup for men shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Play with looks and practice with different products to find out what works best on your own face shape.