Male Makeup Mavericks

Millions of fans and celebrities are following male makeup influencers; cosmetic giants beg them for reviews because when they say ‘Yes’ their followers rush to buy the products

Move over gender stereotypes. Modern men’s makeup make-overs are here to stay. With changing times, avenues for men with diverse beauty tastes have witnessed a drastic change. Many cosmetic companies make a beeline outside the doors of ‘male makeup influences’ or ‘blokes in beauty business’ because a single ‘Yes’ or a ‘Like’ from them translates into BIG business for the companies. “Firstly, makeup is no longer gendered,” affirms Sunny Pandey, a renowned makeup artist and influencer. Sunny speaks of how it's all about self-expression. He believes that with changing times, men are now more comfortable exploring forms of self-expression through makeup. “Social media has played a huge role in breaking down stereotypes,” he says.


Today, vanity, beauty, and self-expression are for all. Irrespective if you are queer, straight, androgynous or metrosexual. The ‘grey area’ is getting blurred with inclusivity, and celebration of life. Many male makeup artists have managed to raise eyebrows , but also garner acceptance, and praise from followers and netizens.

FYI, their fan-followings (men, women, celebrities) are in epic proportions. Sunny goes on to share how big cities tend to be more progressive with millennials and Gen-Z being more accepting than older generations. With a spurt of excitement he says, “People are seeing the talent and creativity that male makeup artists bring. May-be that’s winning hearts (and faces).” The traditional mindsets do exist, but he thinks it is just a matter of time. With more men showcasing their makeup skills, Sunny believes the industry will only thrive. Through the mainstream and social media, one is exposed to aesthetics and people from all walks of life. “It’s a work in progress, but there is a definite shift towards a more inclusive and interesting beauty landscape in India,” he says.

Different Views

Social media is a double-edged sword. It paves the way for accolades as well as brickbats in the form of discrimination, malice, and hate. Amit Bittoo Dey, India's first androgynous model (non-binary) and Beauty creator surely seems to have put some in discomfort while others are in awe and wonder. Speaking on the many challenges one encounters in the industry, Amit says, “I think Male makeup artists in India face challenges in terms of societal stereotypes and gender bias, which can hinder acceptance and professional opportunities.” Amit shares how this could also lead to an increase in skepticism from clients and colleagues. This he believes results in limited representation along with a wave of online bullying experiences due to many of the sexual preferences of such artists.

Familial Support

While this space may come with mixed reactions. There could be times when support from family and near ones too, could witness a flux. Amit says, “Support from family and friends could vary.” He explains how some people would experience a heightened form of encouragement and pride, while others may be deprived of it and bombarded with a bucket of mixed reactions. He believes this is due to the existing notions of ‘traditional gender norms’. “But over time, as we prove our skill and passion, acceptance and support generally grow.”

Karan Sareen, a content creator and fashion designer on Instagram says, “It gets a little tricky since a portion of the audience wants to see you do and try more with extra looks and a full face of makeup as a man, while some are shocked seeing a guy doing a full face of makeup.” Karan believes that although male makeup artists have come a long way, some feel discomfort when they come across a man wearing makeup. Karan goes a step forward and shares how he has been fortunate enough to get a positive response from his family and close ones. He adds, “A couple of my acquaintances have questioned the need for me to engage in this but that hardly matters to me.”

Age & Acceptance

Many may think makeup is meant only for women, but the younger generation has embraced male makeup artists with open arms. Selina Nandi, a Marketing Executive says, “India has always had a receptive audience. Besides, Bollywood is the greatest example of male makeup artists in the industry.” Speaking on how male makeup artists have a promising future, Selina adds, “The industry is growing with time. A lot of work needs to be done in terms of fixing mentalities, having more conversations around gender roles and duties.” Sunny feels India requires more relatable role models. He says, “Seeing artists who look and dress like them and who come from similar backgrounds can be super inspiring for aspiring artists. It shows anyone can make it and make it big!” But being an artist isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Karan says, “This is just the start. Hopefully, we will have a whole new generation of men who embrace and excel in makeup. I see more and more brands ready to understand and accept that!”

Blokes In Beauty Biz

Some famous Indian male makeup artists and influencers include James Charles, Cory Walia, Aditya Madiraju, Sunny Pandey, Shantanu Dope, Karan Sareen, Deep Pathare, Siddharth Batra, Amit Bittoo Dey, and Jason Arland to name a few.

I think Male makeup artists in India face challenges in terms of societal stereotypes and gender bias.” — Amit Bittoo Dey, India's first androgynous model (non-binary) & Beauty creator, Creative Director

Firstly, makeup is no longer gendered.” — Sunny Pandey, Content Creator & Artist

This is just the start. Hopefully, we will have a whole new generation of men who embrace and excel in makeup.” — Karan Sareen, Content creator & Fashion Designer

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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