Subtle Men’s Make-up Tips By A Make-up Artist
Subtle Men’s Make-up Tips By A Make-up Artist

Subtle Men’s Make-up Tips By A Make-up Artist

5 minutes read

Ideally, the rules of applying make-up should remain the same, irrespective of gender or biological sex. However, men’s skin tends to be slightly different. It’s 25% thicker than a woman’s. Testosterone levels result in a denser epidermis, and there is often facial hair to work around. 

So, where do you start? We consulted three experts, and here’s what they revealed.

man with concealer 

How to apply men’s make-up 

Before choosing your make-up products, ensure you have a decent skincare routine. “If you can determine your skin type and any issues, it will help you understand your skin’s needs going forward,” says celebrity make-up artist Katrin Rees 

Read: Skincare for Men: A Routine for Every Age 

Don’t forget to start with a clean base. Clean your skin with a gentle cleanser. We like myBlend’s Enzyme Cleansing Water, £70, that does the job of both cleansing and exfoliating the skin in one easy step. Next, apply a moisturiser of your choice and an SPF (if it’s daytime).

myBlend enzyme cleanser

Then, apply your skincare knowledge to your choice of make-up too. For instance, if your skin is dry, choose foundations and tinted moisturisers that have hydrating properties. Similarly, if your skin is oily, choose products that mattify and keep oil at bay. 

“When working on models, I almost always use a gentle exfoliator to start,” says celebrity make-up artist Victoria Holdstock. “This makes sure we have a smooth base for make-up application.”  

Get your base make-up right 

“For men’s skin, my starting point is always a good primer,” says Rees. “This helps manage excess shine and blurs pores.” 

Next, choose a foundation. 

“I like to work with matte or satin finishes and lightweight formulas when it comes to male grooming to give a more natural skin-like finish,” says Holdstock. “Working with light layers of skincare and make-up will ensure that the overall look is natural and will hold better throughout the day with minimal maintenance needed.” 

Clarins Commercial Training Manager Jason Roberts recommends using lightweight, moisturising formulas when choosing your make-up products. “As men’s skin tends to be very dehydrated, look for formulas that will deliver hydration with a no-mask effect,” he says. 

Try: The Skin Illusion Foundation, £34, has a hydrating formula and a natural skin-like finish. It has the Clarins Antipollution Complex to protect the skin from harmful aggressions. You could also try the BB Skin Detox Fluid SPF 25, £35.50 – it has an oil-free formula with light to medium coverage. 

If you need more coverage after applying a thin layer of foundation, reach for a creamy concealer—dot and blend on any areas where you need it. 

What to do when facial hair gets in the way 

Facial hair can make base make-up application tricky. But there are ways to work around it. “Prepping the skin on and around facial hair is super important as you need a smooth base to work on,” says Rees. She recommends properly cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising the skin before make-up.  

She adds: “When applying foundation, I would start in the main areas of the face – the cheeks and forehead, and work outwards to any areas of facial hair. This is because you will only have residual product left on your tools (whether a brush, sponge or your fingers) and will allow you to blend the products into the hairline without pigment clinging to the hairs.”  

Then, use a smaller brush to add more product where you need it without touching any facial hair.  

Eye make-up for men to brighten up under the eyes 

Everything from genetics to tiredness can cause shadows under the eyes. While lifestyle changes may be what you need for long-term results, a hint of concealer can help temporarily banish your dark circles. 

Read: How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes: A Guide for Men 

“When it comes to concealing under the eyes for men, I find it best to work with well-moisturised skin and with the closest possible skin match,” says Holdstock. “Sometimes a little colour correcting may be needed to warm up any dark areas.” 

Beauty Daily tip: When using your finger to blend your concealer, try tapping to press the product in rather than a sweeping motion. 

Colour correcting 

If you need to diffuse a pesky inflamed blemish or cover up any darker areas, you can use a colour corrector to even out the skin tone. Opt for a green colour corrector to cancel out redness, a purple tone for any sallowness, and an orange hue to brighten up any darker areas.

Not sure where to start when it comes to applying it? Victoria Holdstock says: “Begin by looking in the mirror and observe where you need to even the skin out. For many men, this is around the inner corner of the eye, up and around the socket, and under the eye. Then, apply the smallest amount and blend out. A brush works great for this, but I love to use the warmth of my fingers to melt the product into the skin. When it comes to formulas, look for something moisturising and flexible, this type of texture gives a more hyper-real finish, and steer away from anything ‘brightening’ or ‘illuminating’; these formulas usually have a form of reflecting particles which can often look very ‘done’.” 

Try: Clarins SOS Primer, £30.50, which comes in a range of correcting shades.    

How to remove make-up from your facial hair 

Getting concealer stuck in your stubble can be a telltale sign that you’re trying to perfect your complexion with make-up. But, it’s easily done! If it happens, use a cotton pad coated in micellar water and blot away the product that’s caught in your facial hair until it disappears.

Lastly, remember that if you need help or advice finding the perfect complexion product shades and application advice, you can always book an express skin service at your local Clarins counter. 

Next read: Facial Treatments For Men: The DIY Guide 



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