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Cosmetics for Men?

| Apr 23, 2007
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MSNBC.com had an article on cosmetics for men—and I don’t mean women’sDina Amberle cosmetics for transgendered men—in the April 19, 2007 edition. The article was written by Lauren Sherman. Her lead sentence began thusly: “Hey, men: Don’t be surprised if very soon your toiletry kit contains not only shaving cream, deodorant and toothpaste, but concealer, oil-absorbing face powder and brow gel. That’s because guys are relying on an increasing number of made-for-men products like these to put their best face forward.”

This article didn’t surprise me because I’ve read similar pieces going back twenty years about how men are coming around to the idea of using cosmetics to enhance their natural masculine selves. Who knows, maybe this article on MSNBC.com will be the one that hits the nail on the head. But don’t bet on it.

It is true that certain hitherto femme-only cosmetic techniques have gained a fooththold in male society, namely “fake” tanning and facelifts. But even those are confined to a very select group of appearance-queens. And if you’ve seen photos of Kenny Rogers recently, you know how that can turn out for guys.

Still, the cosmetics industry believes it is reaching only half of its potential audience by appealing to women exclusively, so every decade, some enterprising cosmetics visionary decides to appeal to male vanity. Now, crossdressing aside, as men, we know that we have no vanity. Ahem. But wearing cosmetics in public … yeah, I don’t know, darling.

“I think men are much more receptive to the whole grooming concept from start to finish. Makeup is sort of the final frontier,” says Wendy Lewis, a beauty consultant and author of The Beauty Battle: An Insider’s Guide to Wrinkle Rescue and Cosmetic Perfection from Head to Toe. “They’re certainly concerned about camouflaging imperfections. The idea of a little light dusting of powder is no longer an extreme measure.”

Wendy, I don’t know what neighborhood you’re working in but a light dusting of powder on a man’s face in most workplaces—even in upscale, cosmopolitan workplaces—would probably create problems once the office rumor mill got going full steam.

Ah, but Wendy and the rest of the cosmetics industry is here to sell… cosmetics. So the rationalizations are flying fast and furious. According to the article’s own statistics, $4.8 million was spent last year on male “grooming products”. That is a mere drop in the bucket to a multi-billion dollar industry and probably less than they paid just one or two female, celebrity cosmetics endorsers. One independent cosmetics entreprenuer said her male line jumped 30% last year. That could mean selling one extra bottle of $30 male concealer to some unlucky sot but who’s really keeping track?

No, as I said at the beginning, I’ve been reading these articles about how male cosmetics are finally ready to break into public acceptance for a very long time–only to find that nothing has changed very much. Think of it: do you know any man who would go to the bother of applying makeup just to look better?

OK, present company excluded. Case closed.


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Category: All TGForum Posts, Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion

dina

About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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  1. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    It could be a generational thing. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago it wasn’t considered kosher for men to have pierced ears. Before that, men didn’t have hair that touched their collars. Before that, they did have hair that touched their collars, but it was a white, powdered wig. 😉

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