Can Harry Styles in makeup persuade men to put on the slap?

The One Direction heart-throb is proudly seen wearing lipstick, but will it be enough to convince other men that it's just the thing?

Keys, wallet, phone … concealer? Until this week, I was safe in the knowledge that my days as a New Romantic "dabbling" with my mum's eyeliner were over. Makeup for men, after all, is for emo teens, your light entertainment telly presenters and Steve Tyler. Then pop squeal-magnet Harry Styles arrived at the premiere of the One Direction film, This Is Us, with what looked suspiciously like a lipsticked pout (because "What Makes You Beautiful", it turns out, is a rose lippy). I'm not saying my pre-going-out pocket patdown has wobbled, but Styles is on GQ's list of most stylish men. Is wearing a bit of guyliner and manscara officially going to become A Thing? Are Disney poppet Zac Efron and X Factor's Rylan Clark pioneers?

Nah, reckons Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes. "Every few years there are claims it will be the next big thing, but it's broadly confined to celebrities and specific style tribes." Still, the UK male skincare market is worth more than £600m and, next month, Tom Ford launches a male cosmetic range including bronzer and eye treatment. Anecdotally, beauty counters see men happy to use skin-smoothing primers and tinted moisturisers.

Perish the thought that such products should be marketed as girly "makeup". Instead, they're sold as a scientific skincare/cosmetic hybrid that will enable a smooth shave (because you're butch and hairy) or stop you looking hungover (because you've been down the pub like a proper lad). As long as they're invisible and your mates won't take the mick, fine. For further acceptability, they'll invariably be called "Camouflage", "Xtreme Sport" or "Facial Fuel", and designed to look like Halford's engine oil.

So do real men wear makeup? Pre-teen sex pixie Styles is one thing. When that other Harry, the ginger prince, starts trowelling on the slap, we'll know it's time to reach for the powder puff.


Michael Hogan

The GuardianTramp

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