#TuesdaysWithLarry: Let’s Talk About Guyliner

And everything you need to know about men's makeup


Yes! This week is all about MAKEUP FOR MEN.

Gasp! There is makeup for men? Why not? By the way, camouflage used in the army is makeup, just that it’s limited to just three to four colours.

As men get increasingly conscious about their looks, the men’s grooming market has grown significantly with increased buying power. Reports suggest that men’s makeup take up around US$3.2 billion out of the US$21 billion beauty industry. #$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Men’s makeup is not new. With actors and newscasters sporting makeup to appear good on TV, it has become a must in order to look polished onscreen. Though we have seen some people on TV that apply more makeup than MAC can make, most are generally not noticeable.

Also, with the move from CRT to HD TV, everything onscreen is now clearer than our own vision. Most brands have now moved on to more complex formulas so their makeup will not be seen so obviously onscreen, unlike Timothy Go’s makeup. #ChillWithTheBronzer

Men’s makeup is not that unusual here in Asia, with the Japanese leading the trend by offering men’s grooming products since the late 90’s. Back then, I remember people and news talking about the Japanese men’s makeup range that fill in the brows, powder/foundation/concealer for the face, lip balm, eye liners and mascara. You know…. the basics. 

In 2008, Jean Paul Gaultier launched his men’s grooming range and YSL Beauty introduced the L’Homme packaging for Touche Eclat – offering the whole works to the Western world, where male-focused cosmetics was still really basic.

At this point, MAC, Make Up For Ever and other makeup professional focused brands have already offered products that cater to men. These products come in gender-neutral packaging and require skills and knowledge to use. 

With the recently growing base of younger men below 30s wanting to look better due to K-pop and K-drama influence, there’s been an increase in demand for men’s makeup in Asia. Asian men are usually not put off by product packaging, with many even buying products from the women’s line or using their partner’s stash. #MakeupIsMakeup 

I am a strong believer that men’s makeup should look natural, in the original skin tone (but a better version). Of course, you can go ahead with your guy-liner or smokey eye like BIGBANG or 2PM members, if you are feeling like a pop star. #YourFaceNotMine

For me, men’s makeup includes the following basics: 

Even skin tone 

Various products can be used to create an even skin tone: BB/CC/DD creams, sheer foundations, tinted moisturisers, CC cushions, colour correctors and concealers are all great for creating a polished canvas on the face.

When I say “polished canvas”, it means the skin colour should look consistent. It is not about creating a whole new skin texture on your face. If you need smoothed out Photoshopped skin, please keep use MeiTouXiuxiu / FaceTune / Snapchat. In real life, that porcelain-smooth skin can be freaky to people around you.

BB/CC/DD creams are foundations, just in different formulas. If the BB cream looks ridiculously pale on your face and separates it from your neck colour, IT IS TOO LIGHT. 

Korean actor Park Bo Gum, whose face colour is not matching his neck.

If you’re insistent on creating a “brighter” look, it will just seem like you are prepping for your ghastly appearance for the Hungry Ghost Festival next month.

Those who have a more sporty, bronzed complexion can go for MAC’s wide range of men-friendly products, like the Face & Body foundation and Prep+Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 gives you a natural finish provided you pick the right colour. 

For more coverage, Make Up For Ever has the amazing UltraHD Stick Foundation that can be used as a concealer, on top of looking natural on skin.  

Need to hide under-eye circles? Try the Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen, which takes away darkness under the eyes and smooths out the under-eye area. Great as a discreet touch-up product in your bag. 

Groomed brows 

Want full brows like Kim Soo Hyun or Song Joong Ki? Simply fill them in! Remember, your brows should be filled-in to look lustworthy, and not like #ArchesOfAnger.


For beginners, start with a brow gel like Eyeko Brow Gel to add shine and natural volume to your brows.

Those who need a boost to the brow volume, try the Sephora Collection Brow Thickener in 02 medium brown – a great neutral colour that works on most skin tone and hair colour. Just take the felt end and apply it over your brow, following its natural shape. 

For those who are more experienced and want something that can withstand sweat and sebum, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse is your calling. The best part? It comes with an angled brush and a spoolie for your brows.

Defined eyes

Sometimes, a touch of mascara and very thinly applied eyeliner can be useful for photoshoots/TV appearance/stage. Do make sure that it is placed solely on where your lash line is, in order to emphasise your eyes.


Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Mad Max Brown is a good brown liner to deepen the peepers. It has amazing staying power and doesn’t budge, so you will not end up looking like the crazed lemur King Julien from Madagascar.

Touch of bronzer 

Add a healthy glow by dabbing a bit of colour on the higher planes (like your forehead, T-zone and cheekbones) of your face. I love NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer because it appears on the skin very discretely, unless you are going for the fairer-skinned, glowing look. 

Balmed lips 

Besides keeping the skin tone even and the brows filled, one thing that most tend to forget while doing #MensGrooming is the lips. It’s simple, really: Keep the lips conditioned and less prone to cracking by using a basic lip balm like Mentholatum Lip Pure Lip Balm (Fragrance Free) daily. The other option is to use a coloured lip balm for a touch of rosy lips.

Lastly, if you’re going for a more mysterious, smokey-eye rock/K-pop look, MAC has collaborated with NYC socialites The Brant Brothers (sons of supermodel Stephanie Seymour) for a capsule collection that features an eyeshadow quad, lip stain marker, eyeliner, brow pomade and contour/highlighter powder. The collection will be available from 29 July at the MAC stores at Ngee Ann City and 313@Somerset. 

For more from Larry, check out #TuesdaysWithLarry: The Strangest Beauty Requests I've Received and #TuesdaysWithLarry: Horrors From The Gym Floor.

sign up for our newsletter

Sign up to receive a weekly round-up of the latest fashion, beauty and lifestyle news!

By signing up, I consent to Elle’s Terms & Conditions.


you will love this

we also recommend

you’ll love this