Real Talk: How Do Men Feel About Makeup?

Every man I know has at least one strong preference when it comes to makeup. For the most part, I think those preferences are incredibly fair and sane (my first boyfriend despised girls in too much mascara, a friend of mine hates red lipstick because it always seems to be coming off on a woman’s teeth). Now, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think about your personal style and if you want to pile a pound of kohl on your face and run around screaming about how you’re rock’n roll Cleopatra reincarnated, you can do that and fuck anybody who tells you not to.

However, it’s interesting when ten different men from different backgrounds in wildly different fields come together and offer their opinions on things ladies do. Their responses should obviously never change our own habits and preferences but they’re almost always surprising. So here we go.

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    • Eileen

      One of my best friends (guy) used to date this really beautiful girl who I always thought wore too much makeup, but I never said anything. One time she was staying over, and so she came down in her PJs to say goodbye to him before he went to work (he and I were housemates). She, obviously, had just woken up and hadn’t put any makeup on, and she was stunning. I said to him later that day that “[girlfriend's name] looks really pretty without any makeup on.” He sighed and said, “I know. I love when she doesn’t wear makeup; it’s when she looks most beautiful. She only does it occasionally, when I beg her to.”

      I try to keep this in mind when getting ready to go out.

    • anonymous

      well, these men obvious do not know that some women can put on make up and look DRAMATICALLY different while looking very natural, like they have nothing on at all.

      head over Asialand and check out how some women there use BB cream to give them flawless skin (while looking super natural), how they use super thin strip of medical tape to give them eyes twice the size (while nobody can notice the 1 mm tape), and how they put falsies underneath their natural lashes to give full lashes.

      i am asian myself and of course i don’t mean all asian women do what i described above, but this is the current trend. and i bet none of you men can notice anything.

    • Futuralon

      ” If your makeup is obvious, you’re wearing too much. If your makeup is so subtle I can’t tell, then why are you wearing it to begin with?”
      Bit of a dilemma!! Along with if you’re naturally pretty you don’t need it so only ugly people should wear makeup but only if it subtly makes you look pretty… That’s what most of us are going for and, apparently, failing at. There’s no way to win with all men all the time.
      I like to wear heavy makeup only in the evenings, wear natural makeup shades during the day, but most days I’m too lazy to wear any makeup at all. And have my big zits and rough patchy colored skin viewable to all. Yay.

    • Ona

      I’m a makeup artist on the side. One of the main reasons I love makeup is because I love the artistic expression I can put into it. This sort of post bothers me because it puts my outrageous makeup into a false dichotomy. Either 1. I don’t know how to wear makeup properly. Or 2. I’m wearing too much makeup because I feel that I’m ugly (inside and outside).
      Actually, neither is the case. I know more about how to wear makeup than the average woman, and my choice to wear a lot of it is because its fun. And, for me, makeup is more expressive than clothes, hair, or shoes. As for inner/outer beauty, well, I’m a work in progress, thankyouverymuch, and that’s between me and, well… me.
      Thankfully, my husband loves me no matter whats on my face, and any person who judges me based on my hot pink eyeshadow doesn’t get a vote in my life.

      • Megan

        I can second this entire damn reply. The only real way that I’m artistic (and successful at it) is with makeup. Just because I enjoy teal eyeshadow doesn’t mean I don’t know how to put it on properly or that I don’t like how I look. It means I have great skin tone that looks awesome with teal, and I’m gonna rock that. I think there’s something to be said for the girl who does like to wear makeup in a not-so-subtle fashion, but does it well. If you’re wearing minimal makeup and still suck at applying it, well, guess what–you’re still gonna look badly done. It’s not how much makeup…it’s how well you do it.

      • Quin

        Exactly what Megan said. I can wear foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara and still look more “natural” than some girls do with only a bit of makeup. It’s really about how you apply it.
        I usually do a natural look, but I like wearing bright blue eyeshadow on occasion, and I don’t really care if guys think I’m wearing too much makeup. It’s my face, I’d rather look good for me than for you.
        I like what David said best. Also, picture of Bowie=win.

    • Jamie B

      LOL most of these guys don’t know anything about how makeup works. The first reply was gold, the last one can fuck directly off for all I care.

    • Tobi

      Wow. I bet Paul is a gem. If his reaction to makeup is THAT, then how does he react to important things? Ugh. Not a guy I’d date.

      • Lisa


    • aliclo

      It seems like to most of the guys that were polled, the only women they really like are the naturally beautiful ones. (i.e. a flawless face sans any product on it) I’m just going to own that fact that I don’t look good without at least concealer on. I’m hoping these guys, and men in general, just can’t tell the difference between natural looking makeup and no makeup and are speaking to a fact they are completely ignorant about.

    • Sara

      Here’s my thing: I don’t know how to do make up. When I go out with my friends, one of them typically does it for me. Otherwise, I just wear powder, mascara, and a color lip gloss (and sometimes blush, if I watch a vid on YouTube to figure out how to apply it haha) if I feel like doing something. A lot of the time, I don’t wear any because of lack of knowledge. I’m not saying my face is perfect/blemish free, because that is completely wrong. Really, I’m kinda apathetic to what people think of me most of the time.
      If I knew how to properly apply it without looking like I have, I so would wear more make up. I think it can be really sexy, and when I have mine done, I know I feel better than I normally do. But I just can’t stand to think of myself as looking like I’m wearing a pancake of make up.

    • Kat

      I wear it only for myself; it makes me feel more professional and confident if I wear a touch of makeup. However, I do feel fine without it, I just like it for work and school.

    • M

      The only one person has ever told me I should wear more makeup [meaning any at all] and do it more often is my mom, but she is OBSESSED with makeup. Not in the way that she looks painted-on, but she has this constant paranoid conviction that she is shiny and so she is always. Always. Always powdering her face. Always. Probably at least once an hour. And she always wears lipstick too. It used to be more obvious, but when I started experimenting with lipstick colors about ten years ago it taught her to use shades that go with her skin tone instead of being a lipsticky punch in the eyes. My eyes, not hers. She’s not THAT bad at applying makeup. I almost am though.

      On the other hand, many people have told me they like that I don’t wear makeup. Or rather, many people have told me they like that I don’t wear much makeup, but day-to-day I don’t wear any [except lipcolor when I work my delivery job because it makes me look more put together; once I'm off the clock I wipe it back off because I'm not used to makeup and it makes me feel self-conscious]. All of the people who have mentioned this were guys, and most of them were straight. I figure my face must be doing something right if they all think it’s a plus. I do use makeup for the rare special occasion: if I’m lazy it’s just lipcolor and subtle eye makeup [I'm Asian and don't have that eyelid-line so I can only use a little eyeshadow or else I don't know how to make it stop and then it goes all the way up to my eyebrows and that's just weird even if I only use neutral colors], and if I’m more motivated there might be some foundation/blush and maybe mascara. To be honest I don’t really know what I’m doing; most of what I have figured out is because I used to watch What Not to Wear while I exercised. I pretty much just try to use the things that seem to go with my existing features by putting them on top of my existing features so I come out still looking like me, only blurrier. Apparently it works because even when I wear makeup it takes my mom and boyfriend awhile to notice, and generally he says he only figures it out because my squinty Asian eyes look a little bigger. I figure as long as I don’t end up looking like a clown hooker I did okay.

      As the whole naked-face thing goes, I appreciate that it seems to work for me because I’m pretty damn lazy. A few guys have mentioned that a lot of what they find appealing about girls who don’t wear makeup is the confident, low-maintenance vibe it implies, which makes them seem more approachable and agreeable. I don’t know if they’re right, but ‘confident and low-maintenance’ definitely sounds better than ‘I wanted to sleep in the extra ten minutes’.

      • M

        Ack. Ignore the first sentence grammar trainwreck.

    • Magda

      Personally, I am a make up minimalist. The only thing I use daily is my chap stick. Or when I go out, Its just lip gloss (usually a clear) eyeliner and mascara. But I am an anomaly in my group of friends. they all wear full face make up, but they are rather skilled with its application, so you can’t really tell that they have all that stuff on.

      They are so talented that once a guy came over to my friends house, she let him into her room, where I was at, and she went to the kitchen. Upon entering the room, he looked down where she had left her giant make up case open and remarked, “She uses all that stuff?” when I confirmed he said, “Wow! Thats a lot of make up. I dont like girls that wear a lot of make up. You can’t even tell that she wears any.” “She’s just that talented” I said. He just kept staring at it and said, “huh.”

    • Crystal

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure there are people out there who hate my hair, or think I’m too fat, or hate my freckles or my voice or the way I dress or the way I do my makeup; but there are lots of people who like all those things (including me, obviously). So I honestly don’t give a fuck whether some guys don’t like makeup or think it should only be “natural” or whatever. I do my makeup however I feel like doing it on any given day, meaning that sometimes I wear hardly any, sometimes it’s kind of subtle, and sometimes (okay, often) I feel like slapping a ton of green eyeshadow on or doing really dark rock-chick eyes or what have you. It’s fun and awesome and one of the ways I express myself artistically! And believe me, I get plenty of compliments.
      I LOVE the fact that all of these photos are men wearing makeup by the way… personally I think it can be super hot on a guy.

    • jolievie

      yep they def not fans of blue eyeshadow and glitter.Keep it natural and sneeky.

    • Goldie

      gawd. I actually really hate William’s response.

      It irritates me to no end that talking about a woman’s makeup or clothing (usually ‘immodest’ clothing) preferences opens up the door to analyze her self esteem as though that’s the ONLY reason women wear makeup or try to look sexy.

      If a woman does a poor job of doing her makeup people always say that she “puts too much on” and assume that she’s trying to hide something or compensate for something. (She probably doesn’t actually have “more” make up on, she just made poor color choices)

      What if she just likes a certain look that she can’t pull off? or she just sucks at doing her makeup? Why the assumptions about her self-esteem? It’s not like makeup was invented yesterday and only the soulless and insecure are buying it. It’s a part of our culture. I just fucking LIKE makeup. It’s fun, creative, yadda yadda.

      Yes, I realize he’s just trying to say that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and YES I know that some women do use makeup as a crutch for their self esteem. But most people just assume these things and accept it as fact about women they don’t even know.

      People of earth: Women can make poor style decisions without having a goddamned complex about it.

      • sheherbano

        amen, sister.

    • kay

      I believe all women should take advantage of using make-up. Its fun, creative and enhances your personal style. Wether you where it natural looking as possible or rock it way out!, its unreconizably (?spell check?) entertaining to the eye. It draws attention either way you use it. Besides what would it be like if we all walked around with plain faces such as men do. Women bring character to the room. Rockin major with styin makeup or light and subtle to enhance a woman’s natural beauty!

    • Raela Kay

      Okay, so… everything else about this that’s making me angry aside…

      Isn’t it funny how some men assume this is for THEM? And by “funny” I mean “maddening.”

    • Alexx

      Do not ask me how I found my way here… it is a long story. I am a man though and my “strong preference” if you want to call it that is I honestly don’t care. Personally if I find a woman attractive no amount of crap you buy at drug store and put on your face can change that. Goes both ways if I find a woman to be ugly there is no way to cover that up either.

      Don’t do it for us. If you want to do it for yourself then by all means but don’t cater to men because it sounds bad but we do usually think with our… well let’s just say that makup is not a part of our fantasies.