Grooming for Grooms (Yes, Men Need Makeup Too!)

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It has always struck me as somewhat amusing that the word for male makeup and styling is “grooming” when so few grooms actually opt for it.

Wait… what? Am I really suggesting that masculine types get MAKEUP?!?

Natural looking makeup on a male executive

Photo: Matthew Lin

It may come as a surprise, but makeup isn’t inherently feminine or a “woman thing;” it’s merely a feature-enhancing, flaw-minimizing, photo-readying thing! I cannot tell you how many wedding photos I see where the bride looks immaculate, but her new husband looks like he’s still detoxing from the bachelor party. Red, blotchy skin and shine know no sex, no age, no sexual orientation, and no gender expression – looking disheveled is 100% equal opportunity. (Kind of heartwarming, isn’t it?)

Male actors, politicians, models, and high-powered executives all receive makeup for photo and video shoots, and there’s no reason grooms, groomsmen, and other non-girly types (yes, you sexy tomboy brides & butches, that means you!) can’t partake if they want to look their best. The trick is to make it undetectable. If a cakey face is a no-no on the bride, it’s a DEFINITE no on the macho members of the wedding party.

Before a photo-heavy day, grooms can get a MANicure (matte and unpolished – just enough sprucing to make their hands and cuticles look clean and smooth in those close-up photos of the rings), a brow grooming (usually just a trim and very, VERY subtle shaping only where needed)… they can exfoliate their skin to avoid dullness or flakiness, and groom their facial hair however they like to wear it.

Sometimes that’s enough. But if undereye circles, redness and pimples, pallor, uneven tone, or greying eyebrows/facial hair are concerns, a skilled makeup artist can correct these matters in minutes without changing a man’s appearance noticeably. (I’ve also been asked to disguise razor nicks, bruises, and bright red noses on grooms & dads.) A full face of makeup is rarely necessary – spot concealing, color correction, antishine, and a very light powder application will usually do the trick.

Not all makeup artists know how to do male makeup without having it look too noticeable or dramatic, so make sure the artist you hire can demonstrate this expertise before bringing them on board. With most grooms, less is more!

Dramatically lit portrait of a man wearing atural looking makeup

Photo: Tyler Shumway

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