How Men Should Wear Makeup

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Men may be reluctant to wear makeup, but it may be necessary for better photographs. Here's some basic makeup advice for men.

Mention the word 'makeup' to most men and immediately they will think mascara, eye liner, eye shadow or rouge. They will also say that makeup of any type is the exclusive domain of women. There is no possible way a man would voluntarily apply makeup, unless it were for a Halloween costume or a dare.

But many of these men would be surprised to learn how often other men wear some form of makeup. Actors and television journalists often have professional makeup artists apply foundation and powder in order to counteract the harsh effects of studio lighting. Musicians also use stage makeup for dramatic effect or to remain visible under the glare of a spotlight. Many makeup companies offer a special line of products especially for men. While men may not feel a need for eye shadow or rouge, they often benefit from a judicious use of concealer or foundation. If these products match the user's skin tone and are applied with some skill, most people would never detect the use of makeup.

This is the idea behind makeup for photography. Photographers often employ strong lighting and expensive lenses during shoots. The lights can easily drown out paler flesh tones, and the lenses will pick up many skin and hair imperfections. In order to create the best portrait possible, men may have to use some basic makeup such as foundation and powder. Skin oils create shiny spots, which can be picked up by sensitive film.

Most theatrical supply stores will carry makeup especially formulated for men. These products may have masculine names such as Leading Man or Man About Town. The most common makeup for men is foundation, which will even out a man's skin tone and conceal blemishes and shaving bumps. Foundation for men is usually sold in a tube and is cream-based. The shading is generally darker than the equivalent makeup for women. The effect is generally that of a natural suntan. The user applies a small amount of the foundation directly to clean, dry skin. The idea is to blend the makeup evenly over the entire face, hairline and neck. This should be done before putting on a dress shirt, because the makeup can rub off easily until it is set.

It is vitally important that a man shave very thoroughly and carefully before a photo session. Beards and mustache should be trimmed neatly, preferably by a professional stylist. Hair should be worn in a natural and flattering style- cutting it a few minutes before the shoot, however, may leave it looking raw. Men should use some sort of hair product designed to hold a style, such as hairspray or mousse. Photo shoots may involve a lot of adjustments and movements, which may cause hair to move completely out of place.

Once a man has shaved, styled his hair and applied foundation, he should then apply a final layer of powder in order to set the foundation. This can be a messy project, so if the photographer has an assistant, you may want to ask for some assistance. Use a powder that is very close to the tone of the foundation. Lightly press the applicator into the powder or use a makeup brush. Gently tap the powder into the foundation and reload sparingly. You're not looking for a Kabuki theater effect, but a natural dulling of any shiny points. The end result should be a smooth, non-shiny skin surface with minimal blemishes or shaving bumps. Once the powder and foundation have had some time to set, you may then put on the dress shirt and any other clothing and accessories.

Some men may find a need for some minimal eyelining in order to better define their eyes, but this should most likely be done by a professional makeup artist. Too much eyeliner on a male can feminize his appearance, so any adjustment to the eye area should be minimal.

Rouge should not be necessary for a male's portrait, but the photographer may ask for some coloring of the cheeks if the lighting washes out some of the skin's natural tones. Again, this should be a minimal application of a subtle red tone. Some makeup assistants may even apply lipstick or lip liner, but this should only be done if a man's natural lip color washes out completely under strong lighting.

Many men do not require makeup for standard photographs, so they should not be forced to wear something which makes them uncomfortable. This discomfort will show in the finished photographs. The decision to wear makeup should be a mutual one between the photographer and the male subject.

Most men will not object to the use of powder for shine reduction, and some may be persuaded to wear basic foundation for reasons of personal image. Men may have a negative self- image because of their skin's overall condition. If a minimal amount of makeup can eliminate years of abuse and damage, they may feel more comfortable about using it.

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