What Kind of Beauty Products Do Male Models Wear on the Runway?

I asked the Fashion Week experts, and even convinced my boyfriend to start using a product.
Publish date:
March 14, 2016
mac, models, men, runway beauty, American Crew, Male Models

Backstage at any fashion show is always a frenzy, and a men’s fashion show is no exception.

While models were hurriedly being done and undone, I was lucky enough to chat with two extremely talented hair and makeup professionals to find out what really goes down behind the scenes at Fashion Week.


At the helm of TOM*'s (Toronto Men's Fashion Week) makeup team is MAC senior artist Jane McKay. Having designed looks for countless fashion weeks and the 2010 Olympics closing ceremony, McKay is more than well-versed in the world of makeup artistry.

McKay tells me that men’s runway makeup doesn’t differ much from women’s.

“It’s exactly what they were doing in New York,” she explains, referring to NYFW. “It’s usually an 80/20 split, — 80% of shows wanting a natural, ‘no makeup’ makeup look, and 20 percent wanting something more theatrical.”

Backstage at TOM*, models are prepped with MAC Fast Response Eye Cream and Oil Control Lotion, Prep + Prime Natural Radiance or Studio Moisture Cream.

Sparse brows are filled in with Brows Are It! Big Brow Pencil and Studio Finish Concealer is used when necessary to conceal under-eye circles and acne. Male models: they’re just like us.

To get a dewy finish, skin is lightly misted with a spray of Prep + Prime Fix+.

The big emphasis is on “smooth, hydrated, great looking skin,” McKay says. “We want them to glow. There’s a difference between glowing and greasy,” she laughs, before complimenting me on my own skin — a comment which has now been logged into my top three compliments of all time. (Thank you, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light.)

McKay's makeup philosophy?

"If possible, apply makeup in front-filled, natural daylight. Exfoliate the skin twice per week, and use lots of moisturizer to plump up and smooth out texture. Use an SPF every day. In my opinion, most people wear too much foundation."


Over at hair, I receive a demonstration from hair genius and educator at American Crew, Matula Liounis. By "I," I mean my boyfriend and fellow journalist, Richard, who graciously obliged to a quickie hair makeover.

Liounis explains that curly hair is much drier than straight hair, which is why it has more of a tendency to frizz. This can be remedied using a cream or pomade.

Using the smallest amount of American Crew Forming Cream applied through the hair with a couple of quick scrunches, hair is defined and frizz is reduced. Richard, admittedly a hair product-phobe, says even he would give it a shot now that he knows how easy it is.

"Most of the designers were asking for simple, classic looks, some with high-gloss finishes. Some of them put hats or crowns on their models," says Liounis.

As for American Crew in general, "We are proud to pay homage to young Elvis, a style icon of the 20th century. His hair, his clothes, his music — all are still influential on men’s style today. Young men are doing their hair like Elvis (variations of it) without even knowing. Pompadour — the word I have used so much to describe my haircuts and styles during TOM*"

Pete Goupil, American Crew All-Star Educator, backstage at TOM* Fashion Week [Credit: TOM* FW and Rai Allen]

  • What are your favourite men's grooming products?
  • Will men's makeup ever be popular in the mainstream?