From Stigma to Style: The Evolution of Men's Makeup


Time to read 3 min

Men wearing makeup isn't a novel concept; it has roots reaching back thousands of years. From ancient civilizations to modern times, the history of men's makeup is rich and varied. Today, as men confidently wear makeup in their daily lives, it's crucial to understand the journey that transformed this trend from stigma to style.

Ancient Beginnings

In ancient civilizations like Egypt and Rome, makeup was a sign of wealth and power. Egyptian men lined their eyes with kohl to protect against the sun and evil spirits while enhancing their features. Roman men used red ochre for their lips and cheeks to display vitality and health. Makeup served practical, spiritual, and aesthetic purposes during these early years.

Fast forward to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, European aristocrats and royals used makeup to assert their social status. Pale skin, achieved through lead-based face powders, indicated wealth and nobility. Men also wore wigs, false eyebrows, and lip color to signify refinement and fashion.

However, this cultural acceptance was disrupted as changing attitudes led to the perception of makeup as frivolous and effeminate, relegating its use predominantly to women.

The 20th Century: Oscillation and Change

Early 20th Century

In the early-to-mid-1900s, makeup for men became scarce in everyday use due to industrialization and the rise of conservative norms. Society emphasized traditional gender roles, where makeup was considered a woman's domain.

The Glam Rock Era

The tide shifted in the 1970s and 80s when glam rock artists like David Bowie and Boy George broke stereotypes with bold and vibrant makeup looks. Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, adorned with bright eyeshadow and striking lips, challenged conventional masculinity, as did Boy George's playful and androgynous style. This era was pivotal in reintroducing men’s makeup as a form of artistic expression and rebellion.

Stigma and Masculinity

Despite these groundbreaking influences, men’s makeup still carried a stigma in the late 20th century. Rigid gender norms dictated that masculinity was defined by traditional ideals of toughness and simplicity. Makeup was often dismissed as being feminine, making it difficult for everyday men to experiment with their appearance, despite the infamous role models.

However, as societal perceptions of masculinity evolved, the definition of ‘makeup’ became broader and more inclusive. Men started exploring personal grooming and fashion as expressions of individuality, breaking free from old stereotypes. The idea of masculinity began to encompass personal care and grooming, paving the way for makeup to be considered a normal and acceptable part of men's routines.

21st Century: A New Dawn for Men's Makeup

The Influence of Social Media

The 2000s marked a turning point for men’s makeup, largely due to the influence of social media. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram democratized makeup by providing a space where influencers could share tutorials, reviews, and makeup looks. Influencers like Jeffree Star, James Charles, and Manny MUA amassed millions of followers while redefining beauty standards and normalizing men wearing makeup.

Amid (and because of) this shift, NuNorm emerged to challenge conventions and provide men with high-quality makeup products tailored to their needs. Our mission is to empower men to embrace their individuality and express themselves freely through makeup. We believe makeup should be inclusive, offering a range of shades and formulations that cater to different skin types and tones.

From our Tinted Hydrator to our Quick Cover Stick, each product is designed to seamlessly blend into men's grooming routines, whether they're looking for subtle enhancements or bold expressions. NuNorm represents the new norm in men’s beauty—a celebration of style, individuality, and confidence!

The evolution of men's makeup has been a journey from stigma to style. What was once seen as taboo is now increasingly embraced and celebrated. From ancient rituals to modern influencers, men have worn makeup to express power, creativity, and personal style. As we continue to challenge and dismantle outdated stereotypes, the acceptance and celebration of men's makeup grow stronger. Embrace the new norm and explore the world of makeup with confidence and creativity.

Join the movement with NuNorm, and redefine what makeup means for you or someone you know. Explore our inclusive range of products and find your unique style today.