At this week’s Golden Globe Awards, actor Ansel Elgort hit the red carpet in a beauty look that stole the show, his eyes accentuated with a tasteful dusting of silver glitter. The look had the Internet buzzing, as is often the case with Hollywood men who dare to wear statement makeup (lately, that’s included Ezra Miller, Lil Nas X, and more). But the shock factor may be on its way out. Male stars are increasingly embracing makeup, nail art, and more on the step and repeat—and with awards season officially kicked off, it’s a movement that’s only bound to continue.
And why shouldn’t it? Male performers are often limited to discreet suiting for evening, meaning a strategic eye look or coordinated manicure is a fresh way to bring a red carpet look to the next level. An awards show should be a place to have fun, to escape the mundane reality of everyday life for a second—experimental beauty can be just as important as fashion in the pursuit of a stand-out presentation. A few stylish men are already leading the way: Harry Styles recently promoted his new album, Fine Line, with an rotating array of nail polishes; Lil Nas X and A$AP Rocky have made appearances in similarly bright varnishes, too. Others have gone more outré with the makeup choices. Ezra Miller showed up to the Saint Laurent show in September with the word “Slut” painted onto his cheek, done by makeup artist Lisa Houghton; actor Ryan Jamaal Swain attended last year’s Emmys wearing a cobalt blue eye shadow.
Amber Amos, the makeup artist responsible for Swain’s “guy shadow” moment, believes men will only be taking more beauty risks this coming awards season. While her male clients still enjoy focusing on “skincare prep and applying makeup to hide the flight or pre-party the night before,” Amos says she has noticed more of a willingness from them to push the boundaries—though don’t expect their makeup looks to look like those of their female counterparts. “To me, the difference in men’s and women’s makeup is men generally still want to make a subtle statement (as subtle as a man in eyeshadow or eyeliner can be),” she said. “The focus is typically still on glowing skin, but with a pop of color to play off the look.”
Makeup artist Zaheer Sukhnandan, who has worked with American Horror Story’s Cody Fern on a number of Euphoria-worthy makeup moments, agrees the men's beauty movement is growing. “I am very fortunate to work with a few clients, such as Cody, who are more creative and expressive with their looks,” he says. “Makeup is for everyone. It’s exciting and inspiring to see more men taking risks in beauty and fashion. My clients are more interested in fashion than ever, and many male celebrities are opting out of wearing a typical suit to events. Pairing these newer looks with bolder beauty and hair looks works really well—it’s newer and more exciting.”
Indeed, these stars may be looking to the fashion world for their beauty cues. According to makeup artist Peter Philips, the creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup, more men are increasingly seeking out beauty trends from the runways in general. “It’s a way of having fun with makeup and expressing yourself,” he told Vogue backstage at the label’s pre-fall 2020 menswear show in December. “It looks cool on the guys when you see them fully dressed—it’s like a full look. It gives them that extra something.” At Philips’ Dior show, models even had airbrushed neon “cyber-surfer” eye makeup; will it appear on a Best Actor nominee at the Oscars? Unlikely, though it may translate to a more subtle act: sparking a willingness to at least try something.
More than ever, there are makeup lines tailored for men to do so. While beauty products are certainly not limited by gender, last year saw some major launches aimed towards men. Chanel debuted its Boy de Chanel line, a small collection of makeup for men including foundation, an eyebrow pencil, and lip balm, while others have taken less specific approaches: Glossier, Fenty, and Milk Makeup (among many others) have simply begun incorporating male models into their cosmetics campaigns, showing that anything girls can do with a brush or Beauty Blender, boys can too. Here’s hoping the men on the red carpet provide more moodboard-worthy moments.
Originally Appeared on Vogue