Makeup for Men

Jack messaged me asking for recommendations on long-lasting, natural-looking face products (both qualifications essential for guys).

First off, let me say that I am so proud to finally have some other guys partake in this blog and makeup in general.  Bonus points for not submitting this anonymously.  Thanks, Jack!

Okay, before we move onto specific product recommendations, why don’t y’all check out the post I did previously about men and makeup.

Now that you’ve glanced over that, here are my specifics:

  1. Cleanse: The basis of any good face look is proper skincare.  Makeup just won’t look good if the skin below it isn’t in at least relatively good condition.  Men’s skin is often much more oily than women’s, and while the epidermis layer is slightly thicker, men’s skin tends to react more severely to irritants.  The aim then is to simply cleanse skin mildly without stripping it, and unless you’re specifically trying to target a problem (excessive oilyness/dryness, etc.), a mild face wash is going to be your best bet.  Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($38 for 5.1oz) is absolutely fantastic, and is what I use every day.  While it’s gentle enough for my easily reddened skin, it (along with my Clarisonic) removes all traces of makeup (and… take note, ladies and gents… even the waterproof stuff!) and leaves my skin soft and moveable (not dry and tight).  However, if this is outside your budget, check out Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($13.59 for 12oz).  It’s even milder than the beloved Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.  It works a treat on all skintypes and removes all but the most stay-put makeup.
  2. Moisturise: It’s relatively easy to find a cheap, OK moisturiser that won’t cause your skin too much woe.  But by making this the only step in your routine before you head on over to makeup means that you’re missing out on something that most good face lotions lack: SPF.  No one, no matter how old, what gender, or whatever else he/she may use on his/her face, should ever skip out on sunscreen.  Picking a broad-spectrum one that blocks out both UVA (which causes burning and wrinkles) and UVB (which are behind the development of skin cancer) is super important.  The one I use daily is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45 ($9.99 for 3oz).  It’s thick and emollient, but dries down to a soft, non-greasy finish in seconds and absorbs completely without leaving any film or sticky layer behind.  Normally, for my extremely oily skin, this acts as both my sunscreen and moisturiser, but on occasion, when my skin is rather parched, I do feel like I need a bit more.  By far, the best moisturiser I’ve found is Elizabeth Arden Velva Moisture Film ($43 for 6.7oz).  This runny, spicey-smelling fluid adjusts to your skintype to hydrate just enough, leaving both oily and dry faces feeling supple, sealing in moisture without ever overdoing it.  A drop the size of a dime can cover the entire face, and it absorbs in less than thirty seconds.
  3. Conceal: I’ve said before that I tend to turn to full-coverage foundations to do my concealing work for me, but if you are so inclined, the only concealer I ever recommend for men is the MUFE Full Cover ($30 for .5oz).  This stuff is absolutely amazing.  A drop the size of a pinprick of this thick cream is enough to do both undereyes, and another is often perfect for concealing a mild-moderate amount of blemishes.  It dries down to a demi-matte finish that looks like real skin, and is virtually waterproof.
  4. Correct:  Before I dive into recs, let me just put it out there that 99% of the time, I advise against men using full-coverage foundations.  Unless they are willing to put a good deal of effort into perfecting application and learning to work with different formulations and conditions, it is going to appear as if they are wearing makeup (something I certainly don’t like being recognized on myself).  Having said that, although I tend never to use them on a professional level, powder foundations are often my go-to when getting men into makeup.  They’re fast, easy, and much harder to mess up that liquids or creams.  Foundation is definitely one of those things where what you spend translates to quality, so I’m not going to even give a drugstore alternative to my favorite MUFE Duo Mat ($32 for .35oz).  Used sparingly, this compact pressed powder evens out skintone remarkably, leaving a demi-matte finish that isn’t flat or shiny.  Plus, it absorbs oil for a good 6 hours, leaving skin mostly shine free for the average school/work day.  If, however, you’re willing to put a bit more time and effort into application and technique, OCC Skin ($19.99 for 1oz) is an amazing base, especially for men.  While it’s meant for an airbrush, these highly pigmented, buildable coverage foundations are certainly capable of being applied with a brush or sponge (I recommend a brush).  They’re completely oil and silicone free (meaning that there’s very little chance that these will irritate even the most sensitive skin), water resistant, and leave skin with a natural matte finish that’s neither dry nor flat.  Oh, and did I mention that they’re vegan?
  5. Color: If you’re going to be using a foundation all over, it’s important to bring a bit of color back to your face to avoid looking sickly.  If using a powder foundation, check out TARTE Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush ($25 for .20z) in Blissful, a warm peach color that suits most pale to medium complexions, and leaves cheeks looking flushed rather than blushed.  If using a liquid foundation, however, turn to my favorite blush of all time, TARTE Cheek Stain ($30 for 1oz) in Blissful.  This amazing cream melts into skin, leaving a soft, youthful glow that blends seamlessly into any pale to medium skintone, and can be applied sheerly for a little hint of color, or layered for a bit of a pop.  During the summer months, you may want to slap on a bit of sun (don’t skip out on the blush though.)  If this suits you, pick up Smashbox Bronze Lights ($28 for .3oz), an amazingly natural bronzer with absolutely no orange or red undertones.  This fantastic powder formula lasts for 12+ hours, never oxidizes, and leaves skin looking sunkissed, not baked or fried.
  6. Set: Every good look needs to be set to ensure it lasts throughout the day.  Without a doubt, the best setting powder I’ve come across is RCMA loose powder ($9.99 for 3oz) in “No Color”.  This powder comes out of the shaker white, but melts into skin upon application, ensuring that the color of your foundation stays the same as you see in the bottle (many powders that claim to be translucent actually contain a fair amount of pigment, altering the shade of your foundation, causing it to become muddy).  It sops up oil like a champ, and contains a mild antiperspirant to deter sweating and make sure that your face stays bright and fresh all day-and night-long.
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