The Make-Up Business

The GetFundedAfrica Poll Series: Men and Make-up: 30 Nigerian Men Speak Their Minds

For me, a woman without make-up is like a building that is unpainted. A painted building is attractive – Vic, 44, banker

Mirror, mirror, on the wall: men are here to say it all

Do men and make-up get along?

I ask this in relation to the goo that the women folk splash on their faces. Not about men lining their eyes, or wearing lip gloss or eyeshadow. Ewww.

So, are men compatible with make-up on women? Furthermore, do they have a say in the what, how, when, and how much make-up?

I polled a little fewer than 100 men on their thoughts about the make-up-wearing women of today, and particularly their significant others’ facial beauty routine or the lack thereof.

Surprise, surprise, they had a lot, and I mean a lot! to say about it.

Apparently, in today’s vain world, the Nigerian man, indeed men all over, has a bit to contend with when it concerns beauty items – fake lashes, fake brows, heavy transformational Clark-Kent-to-superman variety of make-over (oops, make-up), etc.

And these men let them all out; they held nothing back.

Interestingly, three things stood out in nearly all the responses: 1. The 21st-century Nigerian male notices and appreciates a certain kind of make-up; the well-put-together kind, properly applied, not over the top, and highlighting features. 2. They all loath fake beauty items and the sort of make-up process that renders the wearer unrecognizable. 3. They all have make-up pet peeves and preferences.   

Read their comments below:

Make-up is fine, depending on how the wearer’s feeling. If she feels like it, fine; if not, it’s also fine. It’s not a do-or-die thing because I see a lot of women overdoing it, caking and layering their faces, creating mismatched colours between the neck and face, total transformation. There should be a balance.
Make-up yea: when I can still recognize the wearer with make-up on
Make-up nay: drawn eyebrows, weirdly shaped too, overly long eyelashes
OC, 35, logistics manager

Basically, I’m indifferent when it comes to ladies wearing make-up. Sometimes it’s nice; sometimes it’s not the best, especially when the shades used do not match the skin colour. I also feel there should be a balance between making the face up and allowing it to breathe
Make-up yea: know when to be subtle and when to be heavy
Make-up nay: too much and shade mismatch
Patrick, 35, pilot

Make-up is an enhancement or can improve a woman’s appearance or can give her a different look. I find that part interesting. But it shouldn’t be too much. Being make-up free is also a look. Make-up should be moderate, on occasion, dramatic or subtle. I find it repulsive and unattractive when it’s outlandish or flamboyant. And I think too much or constantly wearing make-up is unclassy. I sense insecurity there.
Make-up yea: light
Make-up nay: no make-up at all
Ikenna, 42, entrepreneur

Make-up is good but the present makeup is way way too much. I love what our mothers did – light powder, eyeliner, etc. but today’s makeup in my opinion is deceptive changing the appearance completely. I like women natural with pimples and all. But if you must make-up, do it lightly and not layer and layer of make-up, taking years off the wearer or transforming a dark-skinned woman to a fair-skinned one, neck and face having different shades, etc
Make-up yea: light makeup
Make-up nay: loud make-up
Uwem, 51, doctor

I like women to wear make-up. For me, a woman without make-up is like a building that is unpainted. A painted building is attractive. A make-up-wearing woman is more attractive, makes her welcoming and more acceptable. I encourage it. For me, it’s a must. It’s not something to do away with.
Make-up yea: well-applied make-up
Make-up nay: no make-up
Vic, 44, banker

I like make-up when it’s done in moderation. You know, nice, and enhances the face of the wearer. Not bad. Wear some sort of make-up. While we all like it natural, natural is overrated. A fresh face is overrated too. Cover the pimples. Use lipstick.
Make-up yea: Done right, moderate application, enhances the wearer’s face, not too heavy, slightly noticeable
Make-up nay: strange colours interacting with excessive eyeliner, crazy long lashes, eyebrows that don’t exist, making up and looking like a masquerade, total transformation
Olu, 49, brand consultant

Make-up for me is self-care to look good. And should be done moderately. As long as make-up enhances instead of obliterating, then it’s okay. I certainly notice it when it is not well put together.
Make-up yea: classy make-up instead of attention-seeking
Make-up nay: off-colour lipstick-purple, pink; fake lashes, shaving eyebrows and drawing a line to the ear
Femi, 34, editor

I’m not keen on make-up when it is heavy. I prefer light make-up and find it attractive.
Make-up yea: enhances the beauty of the wearer
Make-up nay: heavy make-up, patches forming when sweaty; different colours of the neck and face; long fake eyelashes
Anu, 33, educator

I love seeing ladies, especially mine, natural. Because sometimes, make-up on women camouflages the real beauty of the African woman.
Make-up yea: no make-up
Make-up nay: too much
Oliver, 44, entrepreneur

I think in the old days make-up was easier, simpler. Lipstick, brown powder, and eyeliner. But today, the wearers become unrecognizable. Literally. I have a big issue with that. Dark becomes light. Old becomes younger. It’s baffling.
Make-up yea: when it is used to enhance, keep the wearer identifiable
Make-up nay: make-over kind of make-up
Osagie, 46, training manager

For me, I don’t take to make-up, especially when it is excessive. Total dependency on it is another thing I can’t stand. I understand, however, that it helps make one presentable.
Make-up yea: hardly any make-up
Make-up nay: excessive
Jason, 34, pilot

Make-up can be scary or overboard. While others are inviting. My kind of make-up is light, subtle. I also like the smoky-eyed look when done well.
Make-up yea: look good
Make-up nay: scary, overboard variety
Tosin, 42, entrepreneur

Make-up is good as long as it only subtly compliments the person’s looks and hides a few imperfections like spots, shine etc. However, when make-up changes the individual’s look to the point that she’s almost unrecognisable even to herself, then it’s an issue.
Make-up yea: complimentary
Make-up nay: transformational, of the Clark Kent-to-Superman variety
AJ, 46, engineer

I like women with makeup. I find them attractive. I like them more with make-up properly done.
Make-up yea: minimal make-up which blends with the skin
Make-up nay: facial features turn ugly due to over-the-top usage.
KWS, 60, doctor

I think make-up is nice when done in moderation and I think it defeats its purpose of enhancing beauty when it becomes too much.
Make-up yea: moderation
Make-up nay: beautiful becomes ugly
Bruno, 46, banker

Men are very visual beings. We are drawn to all things bright and beautiful, sometimes even dazzled and mesmerised and we love to just be in the presence of anything nice. A man once said, “Any woman devoid of beauty is unworthy of our time, money and poetry.”Tayo, 59, hr director

It’s personal expression. Make-up empowers some women; some apply it to safeguard themselves while others use it to attract. . . I appreciate women who attempt to look good and subtle applications of make-up are good.
Make-up yea: the closer to natural the better
Make-up nay: colour mismatch foundations, smudges, loud make-up to a sombre event
Lawal, 44, doctor

I believe every lady should be comfortable to express herself despite conventions. However, I prefer being with those who are not LOUD with their expressions.
Make-up yea: accentuates what is already beautiful
Make-up nay: heavy blushes, too long lashes, huge difference between facial colour tone and neck.
Victor, 47, banker

Make-up should imitate nature and not abstract art. It should make a woman still look like a woman after it has been applied but probably hide skin blemishes and imperfections in a subtle way while gently highlighting the eyes, cheekbones, and lips. When make-up makes a woman unrecognisable, even by her friends, it has failed.
Make-up yea: enhances and matches the attributes of the woman or compliments her.
Make-up nay: waaaay too long eyelashes or hair extensions reaching below the belt.
Tayo, 59, hr director

I don’t have anything for or against makeup generally.
Make-up yea: less is more
Make-up nay: over-done & garish that bothers on the gaudy, which unfortunately is fast becoming the norm is a NO, NO!!
Dupsy, 58, entrepreneur

I think a woman choosing to wear make-up or not is totally within the agency of the woman. It should depend solely on her confidence or mood and I don’t think, I as a man, have any particular right to criticize her choices.
Make-up yea: very light application that highlights particularly strong features or slightly addresses areas of concern without having to hide every single spot or blemish.
Make-up nay: heavy and garish and is then prone to sweat-induced collapse… um…NO!
Phil, 48, tech specialist

I am a fan of (natural looks) without make-up. But I have nothing against make-up. Just that I will naturally gravitate towards the no make-up look.
Make-up yea: light or no make-up
Make-up nay: false lashes, heavy make-up
Otali, 49, entrepreneur

Ok, so…make-up on women. Hmmm, this a topic that a man is almost always going to get the wrong no matter what he says. Kind of like the “do these pants make me look fat?” question. I would say a little can do no harm. Like everything else in life moderation is the key. Makeup can enhance a woman’s beauty, even if only temporarily.
Make-up yea: light make-up
Make-up nay: too much of it
Ogaga, 53, civil engineer

I definitely find make-up attractive. There is a certain mystic about a woman who knows how to use her make-up. A heavy dose of it, however, repulses me.
Make-up yea: moderation in application
Make-up nay: too much of it
Femi, 47, doctor

Make-up is okay generally if it’s not excessive. If it’s put on sparingly, then that’s not bad. Finding it attractive or repulsive depends on the way it’s put on. And sometimes, women without make-up present a beautiful, natural look.
Make-up yea: mildly done and accentuating
Make-up nay: over the top and garish
Ejiro, 41, lawyer

My belief is that women should be comfortable in their own skin and should be free to apply make-up where need be without pressure. I notice make-up on a lady when it is both heavily and lightly applied.
Make-up yea: light touches to enhance facial features
Make-up nay: heavy make-up
Egwulor, 43, engineer

Make-up has its time and place; in excess, it can be very unflattering. Excessive make-up can be scary.
Make-up yea: fresh perfume & a lovely smile
Make-up win: bleaching
Theo, 68, architect

. . . I subscribe to make-up wearing for events and I’m used to seeing even less at the workplace.
Make-up yea: minimal application – powder & lip gloss
Make-up nay: shaving off eyebrows and pencilling them in, artificial eyelashes and skin bleaching.
Akan, 48, hr consultant

I think make-up can be a wonderful thing if done correctly. The problem is that many ladies do not know or find their own exact foundation (powder) skin tone match. So, what happens is that when the make-up is done, it does not accentuate the beauty of the lady. The same goes for lipstick and eyeliners or eye shadow. When applied properly, the outcome is usually very pleasant to the eyes.
Make-up yea: a face that’s not significantly different in skin tone when made up. (That means using a foundation shade that’s an exact face-skin match).
Make-up nay: overly powdered faces, heavy eye shadow, poorly sculpted lipstick, eyebrows drawn to shockingly unreal lengths, shaved-off brows.
Chris, 50, project manager

I think every woman should make an effort in presenting themselves beautifully as they perceive.
Make-up yea: keep it simple
Make-up nay: loud, here-I-am make-up look
Osawe, 49, IT specialist

Make-up changes the looks of a woman; she’s either beautiful or appreciated upon application. And I appreciate a woman’s features more when make-up is applied in the right proportion.
Make-up yea: changes the woman’s look and is striking
Make-up nay: too much and when it doesn’t fit the picture being portrayed.
Bayo, 45, comms specialist

In the end, it was refreshing to know that men and make-up do get along. . . to an extent.

The poll revealed a mindset far removed from the natural beauty/no make-up look which men favoured about two decades ago. There has been a significant upgrade in their outlook.

But hold on, are women bothered about men’s thoughts on their make-up use or lack thereof? Do they wear make-up for men’s benefit?

We’ll find out in a follow-up article: Why we wear make-up: Nigerian Women Speak

Read also: Make-up Artistry: The Business of Facial Beauty

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