When I was asked to put some slap on to test out my masculinity as part of HuffPost's Building Modern Men month, I'll admit I thought twice.
Why? I'm not sure. Something about wearing makeup made me think "NO" in extra-bold capital letters.
An odd reaction, I now accept, after finding that more men than ever are using creams and potions which include at least a tiny bit of tinted foundation.
Not something I ever saw myself doing, yet here I am...
So I decided to try some out. Here's 18 thoughts I had after applying mens' makeup for the first time...
1. The cost made me die a little inside
The expense of the stuff took me by surprise. The Mënaji Camo Camoflage Stick weighs in at 7g but costs £18, and the HD Powder costs around £23. Meanwhile the Recipe For Men concealers were £17 each, and the 'anti-blemish stick' was another £18.
2. It takes forever to apply
Quite how people have the time to apply makeup properly I'm not sure. It took me 45 minutes of fumbling around, balancing a mirror and awkwardly stabbing my face with a sponge and my fingers to put the stuff on - and the final result leaves a lot to be desired.
3. This suddenly makes sense
4. Why don't makeup sponges dry?
It's been on the radiator for days after I washed it and I don't know what else to do.
5. So *this* is what facial wipes are for
I'd previously just not understood their purpose and obviously didn't buy any before applying coloured liquids to my face.
6. Soap and water isn't that effective
It doesn't remove the makeup without the sort of intense scrubbing which leaves everything bright red and sore.
7. But maybe that's exfoliation?
Come to think of it, the whole process of taking makeup off might be the exfoliating thing every YouTube makeup tutorial I've seen talks about.
The makeup and my stubble just didn't get along
8. It didn't mix with my stubble
I've spent ages curating a designer stubble only for the makeup to cling on to the mini hairs and make my skin look like it's flaking off. The exact opposite of its purpose.
9. 'Caking' is a thing
Apparently 'caking' has nothing to do with sweet treats, and instead describes foundation makeup mixing awkwardly with your skin and flaking off and looking terrible.
10. Things were unexpectedly uneven
So the Mënaji HDPV Anti-shine powder is made for men working in front of high-definition television cameras, but even this didn't stop it from making me look like I had an uneven tan - and it certainly 'caked' on my chin.
The Mënaji HDPV Anti-shine powder comes with an undryable sponge
11. I had no idea what I was doing
By the time I cracked open the anti-blemish concealer, the whole experiment had taken a turn for the worse. Resigned to the fact I couldn't remove the other makeup with a mansize Kleenex tissue, I just applied it on top. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this didn't work.
12. YouTubers want to help you hide the makeup
So despite spending an inordinate amount on mens' makeup, YouTube tutorials almost exclusively try to tell you how to hide the fact you're wearing it.
"Bro, it's totally cool to wear makeup. I promise," writes Alex Fraction, before spending two minutes, 47 seconds explaining how to cover it up.
13. But some YouTube tutorials are actually helpful
Like this guy's.
14. I looked less tired and blotchy
I suppose the whole point of under-eye concealer is to make people look less tired, and for men this appears to be aimed towards the covering-up-the-night-before market.
Before (left) and after (right)
It certainly did the trick for me, but the time and effort of carving out a triangle and smudging it in to perfection is probably not the best way to cure a hangover.
I also looked considerably less blotchy.
15. I avoided the orange glow
One of my main fears about wearing mens' makeup was the 'Geordie Shore' orange glow effect, but unlike proper fake tan, I was left looking slightly less orange and perhaps even a bit yellow.
16. It's just too much effort
I now have renewed appreciation for the sheer effort that goes into crafting the perfect look. I saw a woman applying makeup on the tube the other day, pocket mirror in hand. Only now do I realise just what a feat that is to pull off.
17. Why didn't I do more preparation?
It seems to me that makeup success is all in the preparation. Rocking up and immediately dabbing sponges and fingers on my face left me looking ridiculous - but had I known some of the swish techniques extolled by YouTube tutors and Tumblr bloggers, I might have been able to save the situation.
Before (left) and after (right): I avoided the 'permatan orange'
18. Maybe this is the way forward after all
For all my doubts and skepticism, turning up to work after a long, long night with a brighter face and less dark under eyes is certainly appealing.
The cost is prohibitive, but beyond that, the advantages are clear. But with my stubble clearly a stumbling block, mens' makeup might not quite be the solution I'm ready for.
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