ME AGAINST THE MAKEUP: Adventures in Unisex Products

I don’t have to explain that it’s because makeup is marketed to women, the connotations it might have about his sexuality, gender roles, etc. etc. All topics for another article, one that would probably bore me to death.
Publish date:
September 17, 2012
makeup, gender

Girls, I’m going to let y’all in on a little secret. Guys wear makeup. And I’m not just talking about the gays. I know a TON of straight guys who try to cover up bad skin and dark circles, whether they own up to it or not. Sneaky bastards.

Chances are, if a guy is brave enough to wear anything more than ChapStick on his face, he’s going to remain tight-lipped about it. I don’t have to explain that it’s because makeup is marketed to women, the connotations it might have about his sexuality, gender roles, etc. etc. All topics for another article, one that would probably bore me to death.

Last week, I discovered a unisex makeup line called “Enter Pronoun.” Unisex makeup! How exciting!

“What a great concept,” I thought.

Let’s not talk about how my hair looks like a disheveled toupée here.

But then, I mounted my high horse. Isn’t all makeup unisex? Nothing’s stopping me from walking into MAC or Walgreens and grabbing a concealer or a bronzer that I think is right for me. Are those NOT unisex? I am just as free to apply those products to my face as a woman would be, so is the “unisex” label just a marketing ploy? Isn’t that a little manipulative? HMMM.

I was able to speak with the creator of Enter Pronoun, Natalia Ramirez, about her product, and she broke it all down for me. The thing that separates this makeup from all the rest begins with its formula. She explained that men’s skin is tougher than women’s, men sweat more and men of course have more facial hair to deal with than women. Regular makeup is designed for a woman’s more delicate skin, so it isn’t tough enough to withstand a lot of sweat and cover a five o’clock shadow when applied to a man. To get full coverage, you’d have to heavily apply the products, making them look cakey and unnatural.

Enter Pronoun set out to change all that. The Enter Pronoun concealer palette, “Switchbox” contains three shades, a light, medium and dark.These shades also range in texture and weight, the dark being the heaviest, and the light being, well, the lightest. Each shade is created using an orange pigment base, especially for covering up the black-blue pigments of facial hair. The facial hair coverage is reliant on the pigments of the concealer, not the weight of it, so you don’t need a lot of it for full coverage and it will not appear cakey or mask-like. The color of the makeup will cover the darkness of facial hair and dark circles while still being sheer enough for the skin beneath it to look natural.

It all sounds great in theory, but does it work?

Yes! It does. I played around with it a lot, trying heavy coverage by covering up my entire five o’clock shadow, blemishes and scars, to lighter coverage by just evening out skin tone and covering up any imperfections. From heavy to light, Enter Pronoun does what it set out to do, and beautifully so.

Being Sicilian, I’m a pretty scruffy guy with a pretty omnipotent shadow of stubble. This is the main reason I’ve stayed away from makeup in the past. Typical makeup just isn’t forgiving of any sort of facial hair, and in times when I’ve applied makeup to a clean-shaven face, it ends up irritating my skin making me break out. It’s pretty much a lose/lose. Even the slightest bit of facial hair can throw you under the bus and make it obvious you’re wearing makeup. And isn’t the point of wearing makeup to make people think you’re not wearing anything at all? I want to look barefaced, even if I’m not.

When going for full coverage, I applied the darkest, thickest, most orangey color first to conceal stubble and dark circles (this even works like a dream on tattoos, I tested it just because I was curious) and then used the two lighter shades to blend it up to my natural skin color. It’s worth a mention that the three colors and textures all blend together effortlessly, too.

Another product from Enter Pronoun that I was lucky enough to try was the “Blacknailed” eyeliner pen. This liner is an inky black, felt tip liner. It looks like an expensive fine-tip sharpie and applies much like one too. The long, tapered tip is extremely precise and responds to wonderfully to applied pressure, allowing you to create a clean, thin line or a thicker, more dramatic one without going over it a hundred times. The eyeliner goes on wet but dries in 10 seconds. If you’d like a smokey eye, simply layer the eyeliner and carefully smudge outward before it dries for that sultry look, baby.

Eyeliner is a staple for Natalia’s look, so she spent a lot of time making sure this eyeliner was exactly what she wanted, and it shows. If you love eyeliner, you’d be a fool not to have this in your arsenal. It’s a great tool for an eyeliner novice as well, seeing as it’s just like using a pen. No brushes to mess with, no liquid to wipe off or get clumpy, just an even line of black from the firm tip (hehehehehe “firm tip”). I was a little scared because eyeliner can be such a bitch to use, but it was almost laughably simple, even though my hands were shaky because I’m starving all the time. I lined the outer half of my lower lash line for a sort of Joan Jett meets Taylor Swift look, which is a sentence that I never want to type ever again.

The third item in the line is the Blowtorch bronzer. The powder is feather light and can be applied in ample amounts without making you look orange. “You won’t end up looking ‘Jersey Shore’ or ‘Mystic Tan,’” Natalia assured me, “unless that’s your thing.” I think bronzer is MAGIC and can work great all over the body to add just a touch of glow. Natalia told me that she even uses Blowtorch as a blush from time to time. A bronzer is the perfect addition to round out the line, and it seems they’re right on the mark.

To show just how well this stuff works, I snapped two photos of my scruffy self, as sort of a before and after. Yes I look busted because I had just woken up, but that was intentional because I wanted to be at my most haggard to show how the makeup covers my dark circles as well as facial hair. The left side of my face clearly has nothing on it:

I applied the concealer and a touch of eyeliner to my right side, and you can see the coverage for yourself:

I look like a barefaced boy! Yay! In truth, I was probably pushing it just a little with the facial hair. I was worried that it was a little too long to still be covered by the makeup, but I was wrong!

So, there you have it. I was majorly skeptical at first, but I have to admit that they sold me. I know I ranted a lot about my scruff, but trust that Enter Pronoun is just as good for the ladies as it is for the men. It’s three weights of concealer in one small case, how great is that? This is a product that I will, with confidence, recommend to all of my friends, girl or guy.

And believe me, I know a lot of dudes who wear makeup.

In fact, (I’m going to spill the tea a little bit here) one of the fraternities that I lived next to in college was FULL of guys who wore makeup on the regular. A girlfriend of mine let the cat out of the bag one night, and when I voiced my disbelief, she told me “No, really! All of the *** ** boys put on makeup before they have parties or go to class. Half of them wear more makeup than I do!” I wasn’t shocked, really, because trust me when I say that some of the GAYEST SHIT goes on in a frat house full of straight guys. Oh my god, I lost count of the times when I’d be talking to other frat guys about rituals that would happen within their houses and think to myself “Oh and I’M the one that sleeps with guys here? OKAY.”

Anyway, I was SOARING with this juicy bit of gossip about all my fratty friends and their faces full of makeup, but being the respectable guy I am, I never spoke a word of it.

Until I wrote all about it on xoJane.

How do you feel about unisex makeup? What questions can I answer about it? Will you buy this for your boyfriends? Are any guys reading this? OMG should I tell you guys which frat wore all that makeup? What do we think about Britney on X Factor? Let’s gossip in the comments section and tell me secrets @Tynanbuck