While some thought he looked dashing and celebrity-like, others felt that he had crossed the gender line and asked him to “man up” and “act like a man.” A man’s face should not be caked in so much lipstick, concealer and foundation, the critics argued.
“We do it for work,” Edu defended himself. Looking awesome on stage or the red carpet is part of his job and makeup makes this possible, so it comes with the territory, he reasons.
Former Tusker Project Fame contestant Hemedi Suleiman also says that much as some people can’t wrap their heads around men dolling themselves up, for him and other men in showbiz, makeup is inevitable
“I am a star and I am supposed to live like a star,” he said, noting that he wears makeup to distinguish his appearances while at home and at work. He “Beauty products are not meant for women only,” he said.
While men in entertainment and other show businesses use moisturisers, concealers and lipstick to clean out flaws and get ready for the big stage, men outside showbiz are also increasingly tapping into makeup’s enhancing powers.
As gender norms change, men’s attitudes towards beauty are evolving considerably, with more men routinely going to spas and having beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures and facial scrubs.
The social stigma associated with men paying too much attention to their looks is ebbing away.
Social media has made everyone image-conscious. In this narcissistic world, we are seeing more men gawking at their phones from behind layers of makeup, thus blurring traditional gender boundaries.
More men want to put their best faces forward; hence the dull looks are giving way to radiant visages. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter timelines are teeming with polished male faces and it is not just fuelled by Photoshop.
The days when men would just roll out of bed, hop into the shower, and be out the door in no time are gone or going, depending on where or who you are. More men are giving the average female a run for her money in the makeup world.
The makeup placebo effect, wherein you feel more confident just for having taken time to take care of yourself, is spreading like wildfire in the male world.
Besides buying their regular cologne and shaving cream, more men are also stocking their bathroom cabinets with hair gels, foundation for men, anti-ageing creams, dark spot correctors, lip balms and face scrubs.
These trend-obsessed and freethinking men who are moisturising, shading, penciling and wearing other forms of makeup. This breaking of gender rules is a challenge to gender stereotypes and promotes the fluidity of beauty ideals.
In this emerging gender-neutral world, male-centric beauty products addressing concerns such as acne, wrinkles, and dry skin are burgeoning alongside androgynous and unisex products.
But Kenyan men are only playing catch-up. Globally, men’s grooming is a multi-billion dollar industry. For men all over the world, makeup is all about boosting self-confidence and feeding the desire to feel more attractive, more successful, and, increasingly, more youthful.
In the coming years, women will no longer control the four-fifths share of global cosmetics sales for which they currently account.