Makeup Inclusivity is More Than Just Shade Range, it's About Gender too
It’s important for the beauty industry to become more inclusive as a whole, and that means that this conversation is not just about mainstream beauty brands expanding their shade ranges. For beauty to be truly inclusive, all genders need to be equally represented in the community. This exposure is the only way to normalize wearing makeup across the gender spectrum, thereby making it accessible and safe for anyone to express themselves in whatever way they are comfortable, whether it be a natural look or a dramatic style.
It’s true that in recent years, many male YouTube makeup artists like James Charles, Sal Cikikcioglu have gained millions of followers and ensuing fame, jumpstarting the normalization of cis-presenting men who wear makeup. However, it’s not enough to see men with their fabulous faces glamorously done up online. While some men might occasionally show off flamboyant looks for a night out in more accepting cities like New York City or San Francisco, society doesn’t accept everyday makeup on cis, heterosexual men and non-binary people in the same way as it does on women. Men wearing makeup in daily life needs to be normalized across the board, not just for gay men, drag queens and other performers.
Alternatively, brands should avoid leaning into toxic masculinity tropes to sell makeup to men. Recently, a new makeup brand marketed towards men called War Paint was widely mocked when it came out with hyper-masculine language in its advertisements for its debut makeup collection. It only serves to further enforce gender stereotypes when makeup needs to be made “manly” to compel men to use it. Makeup has no gender.. It is neutral and should be used by anyone who might want to. There is currently an incorrect link between men in makeup and sexual orientation and career choice, and if true inclusivity is ever to happen, that needs to change.
There are brands in the beauty sphere that are actively working towards societal change. Chanel has created makeup specifically marketed towards men under the Chanel Beauty umbrella; in anticipation of a global release, last year Boy de Chanel initially launched in South Korea, a male-makeup friendly country. Other companies like Fluide and Panacea have always considered their full product selections to be gender-neutral from the get-go. However, until a larger shift follows within the industry to normalize all kinds of makeup styles across the gender spectrum, it’ll be difficult to know if efforts such as these are paying off.
Shade range expansion is an example of the success of inclusivity, and it’s safe to say that casting a wider, more diverse net in every aspect of the beauty world will only lead to better sales for brands.The industry’s progress should emulate a less judgemental, more equal society. One beauty baby step at a time.