Although men and makeup haven’t mixed in the past, there’s a general feeling in today’s interconnected world that boundaries are starting to break down.
But feelings aren’t a substitute for facts, and it can be hard to know exactly how opinions on men using makeup are changing amongst themselves and women.
To find out the truth, we commissioned this survey to gather real results and trends in opinion surrounding men and the use of makeup.
Prim & Prep commissioned Pollfish to survey 600 men throughout the United States, aged 18+, for their habits and opinions about men using makeup.
Prim & Prep designed and paid for the survey and welcomes the re-use of this data under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original source is cited with attribution to “Prim & Prep.”
Relevant Results Overview
Overall, the Pollfish survey indicated that men as a demographic are becoming more accepting of makeup use among their peers and by themselves.
This trend is strongest among young men and weakest among older men.
Makeup popularity varies by type; the most popular makeup types are those which hide imperfections or add subtle enhancements to natural skin tone or facial features.
Below is an infographic summarizing the highlights of the survey:
Overall, Men Have Positive Views on Makeup
By far, the most interesting and valuable piece of information gained from the survey results is that a significant majority of men have positive views regarding makeup usage for themselves or other men.
This goes against the common wisdom that men inherently dislike the use of makeup (unless it’s on women).
The survey results indicated that three-fourths of U.S. men had a generally positive view on makeup usage. Specifically:
- 38.7% don’t use makeup themselves but see no issue with it in principle
- 33.2% currently use makeup or have in the past
- only 28.2% believe that men should not use makeup under any circumstances
Age Makes a Difference Regarding Men Using Makeup
Age is another critical factor that illustrates an interesting divide in makeup views.
The survey results clearly showed that younger men view makeup more positively while older men are more likely to hold the old-fashioned view that men shouldn’t use makeup at all.
The specific age ratios of men who currently use makeup or have in the past are as follows:
- 68% of men aged 18 to 24
- 61% aged 25 to 34
- 49% aged 35 to 44
- 39% aged 45 to 54
- 28% age 54 or above
Meanwhile, the ratios of men who see nothing wrong with males using makeup is as follows:
- 90% of men aged 18 to 24
- 82% of men aged 25 to 34
- 74% for men aged 35 to 44
- 64% for men aged 45 to 54
- 61% for men older than age 54
This outcome is not unexpected given the prevalence of conservative views concerning gender roles and other social and ethical issues in older population groups.
This general trend is true for both men and women and holds historical consistency across culture and ethnic background.
However, the fact that younger men are more likely to view makeup usage in a positive light is very encouraging.
Conservative views on makeup are not likely to regress so much as they are likely to remain stagnant.
Ergo, men who believe that makeup usage is fine when they are age 24 will still likely believe that when they are age 54.
However, they may not necessarily support whatever new gender dynamics might have arisen in the intervening years.
This means that makeup use for men is likely going to rise and stay at a higher level than it has been in the past regardless of social adaptation or mutation.
In addition, the age difference matters less than it would since a majority of men are fine with their peers using makeup when the population is taken as a whole.
Makeup for men is likely here to stay as an accepted path for masculine expression and grooming.
Makeup Popularity by Type
One final thing to note revealed by the survey is that certain types of makeup are more popular than others among men who use it. The detailed breakdown is as follows:
- lip balm/tint/stick is the most popular makeup type
- blemish concealer comes in a number two
- foundation is third
- eyeliner or eyeshadow takes fourth-place
- mascara is the fifth most popular type of makeup
- bronzer, tinted moisturizer, primer or finishing powder, color corrector and brow fillers are all behind the initial five most popular types
This can lead to several conclusions that may explain how men use makeup.
For starters, it doesn’t appear that men use makeup to add a lot of colors to their faces.
They do not typically seek to drastically change their face or how they appear to the same degree as many women do.
Instead, they tend to use makeup that covers imperfections, or which otherwise smoothens their skin tone.
They may also emphasize certain aspects of their face, such as their eyes or lips.
While women do this as well, feminine makeup routines are usually more involved both in the number of products, time spent, and money spent.
It can be concluded that the male makeup market is likely less flashy or colorful than the feminine makeup market.
This may change as gender roles further blend and change and new young men arrive to push boundaries even further.