Male grooming: Make-up tips for the natural look

The three words “make-up for men” can instil fear and loathing in some people so, like the late Kevyn Aucoin used to do, I’m going to call it male grooming.

The key thing to remember with male grooming is to keep it light. The goal is to look as if you’re not wearing make-up at all, and more like you’ve had a walk through the garden of youth.

Before you start, it’s crucial to prepare your skin. Read my previous article explaining how to prep the skin before applying make-up for details on how to do this. Once you’ve prepped, follow these steps.

Step #1

Using the fingertips, apply a thin amount of anti-oil gel all over the face to get rid of any shine on the skin. Failing to do this could mean that under strong lighting your skin looks shiny or greasy. The best anti-oil gel on the market is Oil-Control Moisturiser from Clinique for Men. If the skin feels greasy after this step, blot the face with a tissue to get rid of any excess product or shine.

Step #2

Apply concealer the same colour shade as your natural skin colour. Concentrate on the most needed areas of the skin and apply a very small amount on red spots, blemishes and dark circles under the eyes. I would use my finger to do this and then a sponge to blend it into the skin.

I own a very special palette of concealers for male grooming, Kryolan Dermacolor Light Concealer Palette. It has every single shade that you might need and is perfect if you’re unsure what concealer to get or if you want to play with different colours.

Step #3

After covering the imperfections, move to eyebrows. For men, natural brows are best; you don’t want to end up looking like a 1920’s Hollywood actress. Some guys like tweezing the stray hairs in between the brows, but I think men look better if they leave them unplucked.

Step #4

Next curl the eyelashes. This can seem scary but trust me, eyelash curlers are a beautiful thing! The first time I used them, I could not believe the difference they made. Place the curlers as close to the base of the lash as possible and squeeze up to three times, then take the curler out squeezing as you take them out.

Step #5

Now it’s time to add life to the skin. I don’t expect guys to own different type of blushers at home, so to give a bit of that healthy glow on the cheeks, I apply with my fingertips a few dots of a pinkie-rose shade of lipstick and blend it well on the cheeks. You can also apply a little bit of this on the temples and chin and blend. My favourite product to create this healthy glow is Kryolan Lip Glisser LC081.

Step #6

To finish, apply a thin coat of a lip balm using your fingertips. One of my favourites is Carmex lip balm. It has a tingling sensation making your lips feel fresh and glowing. Don’t overdo it as you don’t want to look like you are wearing lip gloss. We’re just looking for a healthy glow.

Images: Jorge Palombini. Model: Grant Thorne.


Jorge Armario Palombini’s 19-year career as a hair and make-up artist has taken him all over the world. He’s worked in the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain and Australia across many formats including film, television, print and advertising. Jorge has worked behind the scenes on countless catwalk shows, music videos, magazine shoots and TV adverts, and recently on the hit TV show Black Mirror. He has also worked for top hair salons including Lee Stafford and Richard John. About nine years ago, having run Richard John Academy, Jorge became interested in education, and this is now his main professional focus. He teaches at Brighton and Worthing Metropolitan College, where he shares his knowledge and experience with future hair and makeup artists.