Rapper Machine Gun Kelly, pop pin-up Harry Styles and a slew of makeup influencers like Natasha Denona, who frequently highlights men using her beauty products, have helped to normalize makeup for men – and we’re talking in the United States and Israel, not just South Korea.
“I think developing makeup aimed toward men is wonderful, and men feeling comfortable enough to look and dress however they feel is a massive step forward for society,” says Tel-Aviv-based celebrity aesthetician Mimi Luzon. “It’s important to remember how vital a good cleansing routine is, particularly when wearing makeup. Makeup needs to be properly removed with regular face masks to ensure pores aren’t clogged and skin is detoxified.” Luzon herself says she’s seen a sharp spike in men not only being curious about makeup, but being interested in taking care of their skin and investing in quality products. We all know that makeup can only look as good as your skin, the canvas, allows it to.
“I think there’s less taboo around men taking care of their personal appearance in recent years, which has affected this.” Her stunning Tel Aviv cosmetic center treats both men and women, both of whom come regularly for facial and laser treatments.
All of Luzon’s aestheticians are as well-trained to handle men’s thicker, oilier skin as they are the delicate skin of influencers like Neta Alchimister and Bar Refaeli, who regularly come to Luzon’s gold-tinged Tel Aviv space. While no one can deny the stress the ongoing pandemic has caused, in a silver lining, it has helped get many men to be more thoughtful about their skin.
“These are abnormal times which make the skin look worse,” explains New York-based celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. “It’s uplifting to look in the mirror and look healthy and refreshed, even if there’s a pandemic outside your door. Men are becoming more educated, and their skincare routines are expanding beyond just a cleanser and moisturizer. I am seeing more and more men investing in serums and eye creams with active ingredients. Skincare is becoming more and more aligned with health and wellness versus simply beauty. I think this is a huge part of why we’re seeing this trend. Even before COVID, there was a significant increase in men coming into my practice for treatments like Botox and filler.” Ben Smith, the founder of Disco skincare, a men’s focused skincare brand, echoes the sentiment.
“Men are waking up to the importance of taking care of their skin as the stigma around using skincare products is disappearing quickly. This societal shift is fueling a growth rate of 12-15% annually for the men’s skincare market in the US. It’s only a matter of time before makeup for men becomes more normalized as well. Just look to South Korea, which is about five years ahead of us on all skincare related trends. Men there are regularly using cover-up and concealer. I imagine cover-up will become socially acceptable within three-to-five years.” WE MIGHT not have to wait as long as Smith predicts. In fact, Chanel has just launched Boy de Chanel, a range of skincare and makeup specifically for men that includes concealers, eye pencils, nail polishes and gel moisturizer now available in both the Ramat Aviv Mall and the Gindi Mall. There are also a growing number of brands popping up in both Israel and the United States that focus exclusively on men, like Maapilim, which stocks face, body and haircare.
So how should men go about starting their beauty journey?
“My motto is ‘human skin is human skin,’ so both men and women should shop according to their skin type and the problems being targeted,” says Dr. Gross. “That being said, male skin does tend to differ from female skin in that men tend to have thicker skin. They also tend to be oilier because they have more receptors for androgens and they produce more testosterone than females. These hormones latch onto the androgen receptors and cause more sebum production. It can also cause more breakouts.” Luzon adds that men’s skin has a higher collagen density so women’s skin tends to show more signs of aging, which is why she suggests that men opt for face masks and products that inhibit sebum in addition to using a cleanser, toner, sunscreen and moisturizer tailored to their skin type. Luzon has her own range of products which she sells online as well as at her Tel Aviv cosmetic center where men can get expert help shopping the product line whether or not they also opt for a facial treatment.
In keeping with that, Majid Mousavi the managing director of Mudmasky, a beauty brand that specializes in beauty masks, many of which are made in Israel, notes that online sales have spiked more than 150% for male shoppers since the pandemic started due in large part to men ordering their clay-based Facial Detox Mask.
For a more hi-tech face mask, Dr. Gross’s DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is a mask you strap onto your face for three minutes a day and, with a touch of a button, your skin will be flooded with red LED light to stimulate collagen production and/or (depending on the setting you choose) blue LED light to destroy acne-causing bacteria. As soon as it came in the mail my husband – who can’t tell the difference between soap and shampoo – asked to use it to balance out the acneic effects of eating too much cheese. While he might not be using concealer to cover up his dark circles quite yet, not a day has gone by since it arrived that he hasn’t used the mask on his face and paired it with a three-minute meditation before work. In the end, we all deserve to look fresh-faced on Zoom!