Men are catch­ing on that a lit­tle make-up can make a big dif­fer­ence – but for blokes, sub­tlety beats state­ments. Michael Hen­negan gets out the bronzer

Friday - - Living -

When Johnny Depp turned up at the pre­miere of his lat­est film, The Lone Ranger, re­cently, he looked a lit­tle, well, pol­ished. The sig­na­ture tinted glasses were there, so was the pin­stripe suit (Ralph Lau­ren) and dodgy jewellery. What was also ap­par­ent, though, was the full face of maquillage.

“Any­one who works in TV or film knows the im­por­tance of pow­der in front of the cam­era,” says Terry Bar­ber, a di­rec­tor of make-up artistry at Mac, but Depp had taken it a step fur­ther, seem­ingly wear­ing con­cealer, matt pow­der and bronzer con­toured around the cheeks. And who can blame him: he’s not bad look­ing for a fella of 50, but wear­ing a bit of make-up is like hav­ing your own per­sonal In­sta­gram fil­ter.

He’s not the only one get­ting in on the act. Septem­ber will see the launch of Tom­Ford’s groom­ing range for men. “I don’t think it’s ever been done prop­erly,” Ford says. “You need a good base, a cleanser, a moisturiser, some­thing to deep-cleanse your face, and there is a bronzer and a cover stick. A lot of men I know steal a lit­tle bit of their wife’s foun­da­tion if they have a blem­ish, or even if they were out late. It’s time men stopped be­ing em­bar­rassed about it.”

But men have to be care­ful, says Bar­ber, “It’s fine if you look like Bowie, but most of us don’t.”

It seems that, with men and make-up, you ei­ther do or you don’t. “I don’t wear make-up,” says the model Oliver Cheshire. “I use a L’Oréal Men Ex­pert eye roller and moisturiser and that’s it. I think, to be a mod­ern-day man, you want to be groomed. You have to look af­ter your­self, but don’t be over-groomed. It’s not a good look.”

Even those who do use, don’t like to say the words. “I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily call it make-up,” says Ford. “Yes, to­day I have on bronzer and some con­cealer around the sides of my nose, be­cause as you get older you have bro­ken cap­il­lar­ies there. So why not cover that up? It’s easy.”

It’s not all about van­ity, how­ever. It can also help you in the work­place. “Statis­tics show that men’s chances of pro­mo­tion drop con­sid­er­ably when signs of age­ing show and when ap­pear­ance is poor,” says Richard Hawkins, the di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion and de­vel­op­ment at Guerlain (whose Ter­ra­cotta pour Homme was one of the first men’s cos­metic prod­ucts).

“It’s about look­ing your best,” says the bag de­signer Jack French. “I’m for­ever see­ing men in the gym with make-up in their wash­bags. No mat­ter what in­dus­try you work in, it makes such a dif­fer­ence to look well rested, and some­times you need a lit­tle help.” Or, as the Bri­tish re­al­ity TV star Ol­lie Locke says, “I worked in night­clubs for years, and when you’re do­ing six nights out in a row, you have to have some­thing to make you look bet­ter. Ev­ery­one wants to look the best they can. It’s just com­mon sense.”

So let’s stop pre­tend­ing you’re not in­ter­ested, be­cause you are. The global mar­ket for men’s groom­ing prod­ucts is worth $26 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Euromon­i­tor. The mood in men’s make-up is all about the no make-up look. In the flesh, Ford looks glow­ing and fresh, but not made up. “Men are still men and are re­ally only at­tracted to prod­ucts that can’t be seen, but im­prove dis­creetly: healthy glow mois­turis­ers, con­ceal­ers, bronz­ers,” says Hawkins.

I tried Dr Hauschka Pure Care Cover Stick in 03 on a re­cent night out (purely for jour­nal­is­tic pur­poses) and got sev­eral com­pli­ments as to how “fresh” I looked.

It takes a strong man to march into the beauty hall and ask for ad­vice, so if that’s too much, you could opt for a tan in­stead. “I’ve seen a 50 per cent in­crease in male cus­tomers – bride­grooms, ac­tors, male mod­els,” says the celebrity tan­ner James Read. “Their sched­ules are backto-back, so they re­ally need some­thing to help them look fresh.” And we’re not talk­ing fake-look­ing tan­ger­ine ei­ther. “Guys like a light layer for the face, it can just give you a great glow.” Be care­ful, though, fake tan can be tricky with stub­ble (Read rec­om­mends us­ing a fine spray that gets be­tween your whiskers and giv­ing your beard a care­ful wipe af­ter ap­pli­ca­tion).

At­ti­tudes to groom­ing are def­i­nitely chang­ing, and some­times for the most prim­i­tive of rea­sons. As Locke says, “If you want to be a lad about it, if you look bet­ter, the girls will like you more. It’s that sim­ple.” Well, quite.

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