Welcome to Mascara & Masculinity, an Exploration Into Men’s Relationships With Makeup

Welcome to Mascara & Masculinity, a new series exploring men's relationships with makeup. With a simple ampersand, Allure's joining two entities that society often forces to be separated: makeup and men. It stresses that mascara and masculinity aren't mutually exclusive. With each edition of Mascara & Masculinity, men and masculine-identifying people share their stories of living this truth to the fullest.

Makeup is a tool for self-expression. Wearing winged liner, high-shine lip gloss, and glittery eye makeup doesn't make you any more of a woman or less of a man. Makeup also doesn't have to play into society's views of masculinity or femininity — unless you want it to. As the boundaries are blurring, there is no longer such a restriction on who should or shouldn't use mascara, liner, or lipstick, nor the purpose for which they use it. They're for everyone. Mascara & Masculinity will display just that and all the bold, fierce, and colorful creations men and masculine-identifying people are coming up with lately.

Over the past two years, most of the men I've talked to about makeup (and beauty, in general) have been K-pop stars. To help illustrate their catchy tunes, they often dye their hair colorful hues, cover their lids in shimmery eye shadows, and coat their lips in the juiciest, brightest lip tint you'll ever see. Groups like Seventeen have told me all about how makeup helps them set the mood for their performances. NCT's Taeyong, on the other hand, shared with me on a 1:30 A.M. phone call how his ever-changing makeup helps boost his confidence and reflects his choreography and the songs he's rapping. Astro's Cha Eun Woo revealed while we were backstage before a show how proud he was after doing his own makeup for a TV show. But you don't have to know how to dance in synch with four to 12 other people or sing like an angel to be able to interact with makeup on a daily basis. You can be a business student like Zay Ali or a nurse's aide like Moses Alicea, too.

With Mascara & Masculinity, I want to share stories you might not have heard or people you may follow on Instagram and want to know more about. With Valentine's Day coming up, it seemed like the perfect time to kick off the series now. After all, one of the most important relationships in my life is the one I share with my graphic eyeliner. And I'm far from being alone in feeling such a strong connection to my makeup routine. Every day until the l love-themed holiday arrives, I'll be posting one Mascara & Masculinity story.

And while Valentine's Day feels like the perfect occasion to begin a series about people's relationships with beauty and themselves, there are always more stories to tell, so Mascara & Masculinity will continue after February 14. You'll always be able to find their stories right here.

Zay Ali

"You can lose yourself as well as find yourself many times over. But one thing I can say is makeup is so, so, so powerful."

James Whiteside

<cite class="credit">James Whiteside and Getty Images</cite>
James Whiteside and Getty Images

"What I’ve learned is makeup is fun. Get creative. Don’t be shy and have a damn good time with it!"

Moses Alicea

<cite class="credit">Moses Alicea</cite>
Moses Alicea

"I always held makeup to another standard because I don’t only do it for the beauty of it all. It’s a part of me and one of the main focuses I want to base my career on."

Wen Neale

<cite class="credit"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/sippystraw/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wen Neale;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Wen Neale</a>/Instagram and Getty Images</cite>
Wen Neale/Instagram and Getty Images

"Makeup is redefining what it means to be masculine."

Read more about people changing the definition of makeup:

Now, watch Drag Race's Eureka O'Hara's transformation process:

See the video.

Follow Devon Abelman on Twitter and Instagram.