It started with Russell Brand and Johnny Depp, but Superdrug is hoping makeup on men could go mainstream this summer. The high-street chemist is stocking its shelves with a range of cosmetics aimed directly at its male customers.

Guyliner, a £6.50 kohl pencil, will be in stores this week, closely followed by Manscara, a clear gel for lashes and brows. If they sell well, a lip balm and cover-up will follow.

But are Britain's men ready to start the day by enhancing their eyes or concealing their bags? Not according to 17-year-old Damon Aston, a jeweller from Watford, who agreed to try Guyliner, but couldn't wait to get it off. "I would never wear it. It's not manly, it's just gimpy. I'm not that kind of boy. I don't think girls would like it. It depends on the girl, but not the ones who like proper boys," he insisted.

Barry, who runs a London market stall selling cosmetics, agreed. "I don't know anyone who would wear it. I heard Jean Paul Gaultier is selling lip balm, but it's not for me. I don't think I could sell it on my stall."

Bill Jones, who works as a French polisher, said that his partner might like him to wear it, but he refused to try it on. "It takes too much time to do when you are going out and when you get to my age the less you look in the mirror the better," he said. "She might like it and think it makes me look better, but I'd only try it in the bedroom."

However, financial assistant Iain Robertson disagreed. "It looks good. I think most men are a bit metrosexual these days. It's just makeup and women may traditionally buy it, but it's not set in stone. You could be in the office with a hangover and cover it up with concealer."

After struggling to apply it, drama students Andrew Bate and Tom Done were pleased with the way the Guyliner brought out their eyes. "I would wear it to some events," Tom said. "But I wouldn't wear it to work or to have a pint with my dad."

Tattooist Graham Carlton, 45, admitted he was no stranger to makeup: "I wore it many times when I was growing up in the 80s with the New Romantic scene. It was almost a uniform and the girls liked it. I don't think it would have the same effect now - I have gained 4st and 30 years so I'm guessing I would look like Danny La Rue."


Homa Khaleeli

The GuardianTramp

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