Want to learn the differences between male and female makeup, the importance of communication with clients or performers, and essential techniques such as beard covering and grooming? Join me as I explore the art of creating a natural and realistic makeup look for men. And soak up some valuable tips and product recommendations along the way. Keep reading for a refreshing take on men’s grooming in the world of makeup.

men’s makeup untapped
man holding broken mirror

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • The different approaches men’s makeup requires in comparison to women’s makeup.
  • Exploring techniques for male makeup, understanding color theory and why choosing the right products is critical for achieving a natural and flattering result.
  • Appreciation for the subtle art of male makeup and how it can be a significant part of your makeup work.


click here to read the transcript!


Episode 42: Show notes

man holding broken mirror

Makeup application is an art form that requires skill and precision.
When it comes to male makeup, the techniques and approach differ significantly from traditional beauty makeup.

As a seasoned film and TV makeup artist, I have noticed a lack in sufficient education and guidance for aspiring artists. So here are some of the basics to get you started.

Mastering Men’s Makeup: Techniques and Tips from a Pro

The Art of Men’s Makeup

The distinct differences in male makeup demand specialized knowledge and expertise.

So, let’s delve deeper into the world of male makeup and explore the essential techniques and tips for creating a natural and polished look for men.

Understanding the Differences

Men’s makeup and women’s makeup are inherently distinct. While women’s makeup often involves multiple layers and a focus on enhancing features, male makeup is typically more subtle.

While this may be something of a generalization, men generally require less makeup. And overapplication can result in an unnatural appearance, which also can look too heavy on camera.

And I want to emphasize the importance of understanding the preferences of both the individual you’re making up, and the creative team behind a project.
Communicating with the client and gauging their comfort level with makeup is crucial in achieving a natural and desired look.

Techniques for Male Makeup

Spot Coverage: In one instance where I had made up an older gentleman with textured and heavily scarred skin, rather than applying a full face foundation, I spent a good deal of time spot covering blemishes, age spots, scars, and redness to provide a seamless natural finish.

Matching the foundation to the client’s natural skin tone and utilizing techniques like beard covering requires a deep understanding of color theory and product selection.

Beard Cover: Mastering the art of beard covering is essential for male makeup artists.

Using color theory and specialized products, such as orange or red-based beard cover products, is crucial to avoid an ashy or unnatural appearance.

Understanding the unique challenges of working with facial hair and skin tones is paramount when creating a flawless look for male clients.

Product Recommendations

Here are some of my most preferred makeup products for male clients.

From the MAC Pro Airbrush Makeup for a natural base to the MAC Corrector and Concealer palettes for spot coverage, it’s important to select the right products for men’s makeup application.

Additionally, I have delved into the world of the delicious Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for a more made-up look, while advising caution due to its strong fragrance.

Men’s Grooming

It’s important for makeup artists to also have a focus on male grooming, including shaving, shaping eyebrows, and tidying facial hair.
Understanding the balance between too much and not enough grooming is vital. And especially if you’re a newbie makeup artist, I suggest you get ample practice and develop your own eye for subtlety.

Moreover, effective communication with your client, actor or model, and asking the right questions about their comfort level and the amount of coverage they desire all play crucial roles in a successful men’s grooming and makeup application

The Art of Observation

Beyond technical skills, the art of being observant and perceptive is a crucial aspect of your work as a makeup artist.
Understanding and adapting to your client’s comfort level, preferences, and the overall environment is essential.
Developing a keen sense of observation helps in tailoring your makeup application to each individual’s needs and ensuring their confidence and comfort.

Mastering the art of men’s makeup requires a combination of technical expertise, product knowledge, and effective communication skills.
By understanding the differences between men’s and women’s makeup, honing specialized techniques, and utilizing the right products, makeup artists can create natural, polished looks for male clients.

Additionally, focusing on men’s grooming and cultivating a keen sense of observation are essential in delivering exceptional results.

Embracing the nuances of male makeup and grooming sets the stage for success in this often overlooked niche of the beauty, fashion, film and tv industry.

Click here to listen to this episode!


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: This is a topic I want to include more info on in the future for you because it seems like it’s something that there’s not a lot of tutorials, info and quite frankly, education online available for yet.

It’s one of the biggest aspects of our work as makeup artists, personal groomers and artists in general for tv and film, fashion, photographic work, so many aspects of makeup.

Often young artists today, I find, have a lot of experience with these photo-perfect images, these airbrush ready, airbrush perfect, very heavily made up concealing, correcting, you name it, just foundation layers, I guess.

And then a job falls in their lap to do male makeup for headshots or for press. And I see it time and time again that they have no reference point of how much or how little products that they actually need to use on a man’s face for him to photograph well.

[00:01:37]: It’s important to acknowledge that the male makeup is different to women’s makeup for so many reasons.
First of all, for the greater part, men wear less makeup than women. Now, while this is not always the case, it is more often than not. And when you apply corrective makeup on a man, if you go overboard, it can look unnatural. And this may not be the look that that person or the creatives behind the project you’re on are after.
So it’s important to know and understand what all parties are comfortable with. And for the average male client, this is likely to be a no-makeup look or a basic corrective makeup.
So that being said, there are times when I have put absolutely no makeup on a man’s face and that the work has centered around shaving and grooming, shaping eyebrows, tidying nose and ear hair, sometimes necklines and chest lines if they’re on the her suit side of things, which people can be.

[00:02:41]: Sometimes you may have to give a naturally paler complexion, man more of a tan or a richer shade, and simply by utilizing some anti-shine in hotspots, or simply using a quick swipe of pore filler on a textured nose.

So how do the techniques differ from beauty makeup?

Now, this is where your techniques truly do differ from a typical beauty makeup on the other hand, I have had rare moments where I’ve had to do a full corrective makeup once on an older gentleman who had heavy age spots, scars, acne scars, red spots, the whole deal and to even him out which can feel like a beauty makeup sometimes.

But the art is knowing the best approach, where if on a woman I might have applied a full face foundation first and then concealed and corrected the still visible marks after the fact, where on this gentleman I simply spot-covered for what felt like a really long time to match with his own natural skin tone.

Another common technique that you should be aware of and skilled at is beard covering. And no matter what skin tone you might have to do this on, be sure to know your color theory as you won’t want to use your foundation to do this, as the result will no doubt leave your person looking ashy or even blue in the beard area that you are covering.

So be sure to find your preferred orange or red-based beard cover products too. And now I touched on this earlier, but it’s important to know what to cover and what not to cover, and this can often come down to very simple communication.
By simply talking to your client, you can understand what they want, how they feel, and what they’re looking for within your input, whether they want no product at all or they are looking for coverage under the eyes or eyebrow definition, whatever they want.

[00:04:45]: Because ultimately, your job does involve making them feel comfortable and confident, so respecting their own feelings are of very high importance.

Now I have mentioned this before on the blog, but I love to use the MAC Pro Airbrush Makeup as foundation on men. I use it with a large powder brush and sometimes even with a toner or with the cleanser that it pairs well with to thin down.

And although you have to work quickly, it sits so naturally as a base and leaves no hint of product and it does not move. And if I need to come back in after for a heavier correcting or concealing under the eyes or on any spots, I can do so with my creams afterwards, but for a quick all over complexion shift or basing out, I love this product.
And speaking of creams, I do tend to use the Mac Corrector and Concealer Palettes as well, and I love all of the skin tone options with these palettes. And I promise you this isn’t necessarily a MAC dedicated episode, it’s just turning out that way. The Dermacolor Palettes I also love.

[00:05:54]: They’re great for a stronger coverage and of course, my favorite Colorescience Mineral Corrector Palette for light skin tones. And for a heavier, almost made up look, I have been known to use the odd Armani Luminous Silk Foundation on more than a man or two in my time.
Although it should be known if you haven’t used Luminous Silk, beware the strong fragrance that the makeup has.
Just be aware as it might be just too much for some. Male grooming is a massive part of our job. So if this is brand new to you, get as much practice as you can. You’ll soon develop an eye for what’s too much and what’s not enough, and you’ll learn even more by asking the right questions. That should always start with something like and what are you comfortable with? How much coverage do you like? That sort of thing? Learn to read the room, as I say.

[00:06:47]: And as always, remember that so much of our work as makeup artists isn’t actually doing makeup, but it’s by being observant and perceptive.
And once you’ve perfected your male makeup skills, then we can get talking about facial hair, grooming, beards and trimming, and so much other good stuff too.

But that’s for next time. Talk to you soon. Okay, bye.

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