Life
Life beyond style

We may spend most of our time talking about designer garms and fresh kicks, but we know there’s a whole lot more to looking good than what you’re packing in your closet. Groom Service is your no-BS guide in how to look, smell, and feel better. This week, we’re talking makeup for men (no, really).

You’ve read the headline, you’ve seen the words “makeup for men,” and now you’re probably thinking this is an article about getting yourself done up in full lip gloss, eyeliner, and blush. You do know what those three things are, right? Of course you do.

While I wish we were going to write an article about how to get you boys into full makeup, that’s not what this is. But if you’re looking for a few subtle tips on the ways certain kinds of makeup can benefit you, while remaining practically invisible to the naked eye (if you’re really concerned about stuff like that), then this is the article for you.

First things first: drop the hackneyed idea that makeup is just for women. And while you’re at it, drop the idea that women need makeup at all. Everything should be a choice for everyone. But let’s embrace that we have the option of makeup and that it often has a clear function, not just for fabulosity. And that’s what we’re covering today: functional makeup.

Concealer

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

The main product you need to know about and keep on hand is concealer. It comes as a liquid or in a roll-on tube, and I recommend the latter to avoid spills and leakage. Just dab a tiny bit on your fingertip and pat it into place on your face. Do this on an unsightly pimple or the dark spots under your eyes when you’re hungover or after a sleepless night.

I once had a bad acne mark on my head for six months, long after the pimple had healed, and got into the daily routine of covering it up — concealing it — because I became self-conscious that people’s attention would be drawn to this giant blemish rather than my eyes.

Concealers come in different shades, so you’ll need to match yours to your skin tone. Bear in mind that you might get a tan in the summer, so you might need different concealers for different seasons. Typically, if you’re just spot-checking blemishes, one that strikes a balance between your winter and summer skin tones will suffice. But if you’re covering up dark under-eye circles, it’ll look a little weird if you have some obviously off-tone swatches of skin, defeating the concealer’s purpose of not calling attention to skin issues.

Concealer rinses away easily and is almost always engineered not to clog your pores. It would be pretty self-defeating if it caused breakouts of pimples, after all. Just don’t wipe your face with your sleeve and you’ll be fine.

Mënaji’s CAMO Concealer sticks for men come in six different shades and are easy to tote wherever you go, sans spillage. Just dab it on, pat it in, and you’re set. Nobody will know the difference.

Tinted moisturizer

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

In the same vein, you might notice that your overall complexion is slightly uneven. You might have a few sun spots, some acne blemishes that are still healing, some discoloration around the eyes. Here you’re going to need a more universal cover-up rather than a spot check.

Your most subtle option is a tinted moisturizer. It’s mostly a moisturizer, partially a concealer, and it typically mattifies your complexion so your skin doesn’t become overly greasy and shiny.

This isn’t a glob of messy concealer or anything. It’s merely tinted, as the name implies, and subtly balances your overall complexion, making it look like you’re wearing nothing at all. Best of all, you can touch your face and nothing will transfer back — it absorbs into your skin exactly like a moisturizer. (We wouldn’t recommend wiping your face with your sleeve, though, to be safe.)

The best tinted moisturizers even come with SPF, doubling as a sunscreen, which should remain a priority daily and year round. When you shop this category, you might also want to look for a “CC cream,” which stands for “color-correcting cream.”

Aveeno’s Positively Radiant CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a good one to start with, coming in two tones: fair-to-light and medium.

Anti-shine powder and cream

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

The last essential is an anti-shine product. This is like the powder you see being applied to newscasters, models, and actors before the cameras start rolling.

If your brow, temples, nose, and cheeks tend to get shiny, this category of anti-shine shield will absorb oils and prevent you looking like a bike reflector. The creams are usually powder-based and can be patted on after applying moisturizer. Although they all absorb excess oils, the best ones simultaneously preserve the skin’s moisture levels, so things don’t go too far in the other direction and you end up with skin that looks like an oatmeal cookie (a really gross one at that).

Lab Series’ Power Pore Anti-Shine & Pore Treatment soaks up grease and mattifies skin while minimizing pore oxidation, visibly shrinking pore size, and preventing blockages (and by extension minimizing breakouts). We also recommend Neutrogena’s Shine Control Powder, which should be the final item you apply. Powders and powder creams always come last.

Next up, find out how to smell great all the time.

Words by Adam Hurly

Grooming and travel writer from the US, based in Berlin.

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