Penned by Megan C Hills, CNN

Former baseball pro Alex Rodriguez is not your normal make-up client. Straight, Gen X and traditionally masculine, he is maybe one particular of the last superstars you would expect to launch a splendor solution.

And nevertheless, past week, he did just that.

In a new campaign for men’s wellness brand name Hims, ARod unveiled his new “Blur Stick” concealer, described in a press launch as a “skincare alternative formulated particularly for males.” Available in 8 distinct shades and packed into grey Chapstick-sized tubes, the product is also modeled by the star, who was an early investor in Hims.

In a series of muted advertising pictures, a plainly dressed ARod seems into a mirror as he applies concealer to his cheeks in a nondescript area. In distinction to the regular fanfare of celebrity magnificence launches, the campaign feels pretty much deliberately normal.

It presents the impression that making use of make-up is a uncomplicated, unremarkable element of the star’s every day program. And for a rising selection of adult men like ARod, it is.

All eight shades Hims and ARod’s “Blur Adhere.” Credit rating: Hims & Hers

Curiosity in men’s makeup seems to be growing in the West — particularly among the Gen Z buyers. A 2019 survey by exploration business Morning Check with identified that a third of American adult males under 30 would “think about” putting on it. Men’s life-style vendors like Mr Porter and Mankind now have committed makeup types on their sites, affording a stage of anonymity to customers experimenting with merchandise for the initial time.
Mr Porter introduced make-up to its web page in 2017, with Tom Ford Beauty’s brow gel, and has noted increasing need given that. This achievements led the retailer to start offering a dedicated men’s makeup line, War Paint for Gentlemen, previous 12 months. The web site now stocks over 39 makeup products from seven brand names. “It is really just one of our most significant escalating classes this calendar year,” stated shopping for director Sam Kershaw in an electronic mail interview.

Kershaw added that desire came from “across a wide age spectrum,” with Mr Porter’s male makeup gross sales developing a third around the past calendar year. This is, he claimed, partly because of to shifting attitudes in the direction of skincare and an greater recognition of anti-getting old solutions.

A bottle of War Paint For Men's tinted moisturizer.

A bottle of War Paint For Men’s tinted moisturizer. Credit rating: Mr Porter

“The most notable modify in the grooming house above the earlier handful of decades is the rise in men’s make-up as a hack to grooming,” Kershaw reported. “The common acceptance of the class has grown, and it really is no-lengthier involved with a deliberate function in the leisure market, where you always have to be digicam-prepared.”

Mr Porter’s finest-sellers include “concealers and tinted moisturizers” Kershaw reported, including: “Our clients are exhibiting a solid desire for items that protect up blemishes and pores and skin discoloration, most likely mostly due to Zoom fatigue during the pandemic.”

A minimal contact up

In the situation of adult males like ARod — and “Judas and the Black Messiah” star Daniel Kaluuya, who produced headlines in 2018 when he wore foundation by Rihanna’s Fenty Natural beauty on the Oscars red carpet — make-up may possibly be much less about colourful self-expression and additional about delicate self-enhancement.

There is now an abundance of “all-natural” make-up tutorials for males on YouTube. Australian musician Troye Sivan’s “Epic No Makeup-Make-up Plan” video, manufactured by Vogue, has been viewed in excess of 4.3 million times. Elsewhere, two “Make-up for Gentlemen” movies with Fenty Natural beauty makeup artist Hector Espinal have collectively drummed up over 1.5 million views.
Daniel Kaluuya wearing Fenty Beauty foundation at the 2018 Oscars.

Daniel Kaluuya wearing Fenty Beauty basis at the 2018 Oscars. Credit history: Christopher Polk/Getty Visuals

Kershaw suggested that Covid-19 lockdowns have offered gentlemen with an “chance to experiment more than typical with self-care” — all in the ease and comfort of their have house. “Alongside makeup, we have noticed LED deal with masks and equipment this kind of as experience scrubs surge in recognition in the course of this interval,” he included.

In Asia, the male makeup sector has been growing for some time. Chinese e-retailer TMall claimed in 2019 that income of male elegance merchandise experienced surged by a lot more than 50% for two consecutive yrs, with a enormous advancement of curiosity in eyebrow pencils and lipsticks, in accordance to condition media. In South Korea, boy bands these as BTS have fronted make-up campaigns, though the magnificence manufacturer AmorePacific believed that 70% of adult men in the army use cosmetics — main it to start a exclusive army line, that includes purely natural camouflage makeup and publish-coaching cooling and whitening masks.

In the West, pleasing to males customers’ machismo seems to be a significantly well-liked brand name method. War Paint For Males, for illustration, has tapped customarily masculine brand name ambassadors, like expert rugby and football teams in England, as well as James Bond make-up artist Donald Mowat.

Other male makeup brand names have adopted stark nominal packaging, these types of as Chanel’s “Boy de Chanel,” while US manufacturer Stryx markets its goods as “instruments.” ARod’s neutral grey packaging will take a identical method, with the phrase “makeup” completely absent from the Blur Adhere press release.

Another campaign shot for Hims x ARod's

Another marketing campaign shot for Hims x ARod’s “Blur Stick” featuring a unique model. Credit score: Hims & Hers

This may well all enable brand names differentiate their products from all those uncovered in the feminine-dominated make-up sector — or those made use of by the LGBTQ communities that have defined the male make-up space by means of drag tradition and natural beauty YouTubers like Bretman Rock.

But the long term of make-up could be increasingly unisex. Earlier this year, study company NPD Group reportedly found that nearly 40% of grown ups aged amongst 18 and 22 confirmed curiosity in gender-neutral attractiveness products.
A amount of genderless beauty makes, this kind of as We Are Fluide and Milk Makeup, have emerged in latest yrs. Rihanna has also declared that Fenty Attractiveness is “for my fellas much too,” owning appointed A$AP Rocky and Lil Nas X as model ambassadors.
Rapper Lil Yachty, meanwhile, has introduced the launch of a nail polish line (or “nail paint,” as he explained it) for “all genders.” The debut collection set will come with a few nail polish pens, a nail clipping and submitting instrument, and nail artwork stickers. It is staying marketed underneath the tagline, “For you, not them.”
“If you come across portray your nails is a way to show your resourceful aspect or it is really an aesthetic that matches you, you should not be judged for it,” Lil Yachty is quoted as indicating on the product or service web site. “Outside feeling shouldn’t have an result on your aesthetic and whatsoever you determine to do and this line is a reflection of that.”