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Boys In Lipstick, Just Because

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    This story was originally published on Feb. 14, 2015.

    When I dreamed up the concept of this shoot, inspired partially by all the men-wearing-makeup think pieces and that genius Tom Ford Lips & Boys collection, I was repeatedly met with one question by women all over R29 HQ: "Why?"

    My answer: Why the hell not? I am a man who has worn makeup every single day since I can remember, and I know how much joy it gives me. I also know, though, that a lot of women don't see makeup as a joy — rather, they see it as an obligation or a chore. That's probably because society has told us that women need to wear makeup, and that's a damn shame. Nobody needs to wear anything they don't want to. (Except maybe underwear. Please wear underwear.)

    I've had boyfriends who have come to me in times of dire need, begging for makeup, even though they began our relationship insisting it wasn't necessary. I have brothers who have needed concealer before big events. There's a lot of delight in introducing someone to makeup for the first time, and showing them what they can do with their face — something they see in the mirror every day and think they know so well. That delight, or, rather, awe, is contagious, almost palpable.

    So, when thinking about how to best showcase some of the season's most exciting new lip shades, I was envisioning plenty of things: kisses on cocktail napkins, close-ups of pouts, animated GIFs of mouths moving, talking, kissing, eating, etc. But, then I thought, Why not let boys show us the lipsticks? Women constantly appear in beauty editorials — why would it be weird to let boys do the same?

    Men wearing lipstick is not a novelty for me: In my world, as a beauty editor and a gay man, it's a regular occurrence. But, I appreciate the men here taking time out from their jobs to sit down, pick out lipsticks that spoke to them, and try something new for the day. The lipsticks ended up enhancing their looks; making them cooler.

    Ahead, 15 stunning new shades we think you should consider for spring — plus, a little more about the men who tried them on.


    29Rooms — Refinery29’s magical art and fashion funhouse – is back for its second year, kicking off during NYFW, from September 9 to 11. We’re bringing our commitment to women claiming their power to life, through the event’s theme, “Powered by People.” To celebrate this sense of possibility, we’ve curated content that embodies our theme and pushes you to do more — start the conversations you want to hear, make change. We built our dream world and want to inspire you to power your own. For more information on the 29Rooms event and our initiative, click here.




    Photographed by ; Makeup by ; Styled by

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    Keenan, commercial real estate sales, wearing Tatcha Lipstick in Kyoto Red

    Do you wear makeup, or have you ever worn makeup before?
    "No, never."

    What did you think about the color you chose?
    "I think it matched my skin tone well and brought out my beauty. I trusted the expert, which is how I decided on this color."

    How did wearing lipstick feel?
    "It felt interesting because physically it felt restrictive, but emotionally it felt expressive and really garnered a sense of childish freedom. It was almost like — it took me back to a place where you had a carefree attitude about life and nothing mattered. So, that probably felt empowering in a way. It made me feel I were being made stage-ready, as if I were about to perform. It made me feel special because of the attention and the time it took, but most importantly, it made me feel energetic, and I relate that to running a marathon, being tired, and someone giving you a high five, and it giving you a crazy boost."

    How did it feel looking at your photo for the first time?
    "Surprisingly amazing! One, it forced me to look at myself through a different lens. Two, through that lens, I saw an expressive side of myself that I rarely see. I think, also, it was so uncomfortable that it forced me to be comfortable."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly beautiful?
    "When I put on my favorite tailored suit — that’s when I feel it. I have my dress shoes shined to the nines and, most importantly, I have on my favorite pair of crazy socks."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly self-conscious about your appearance?
    "Anytime I walk into a room full of people...any casual environment where I see people I don’t know. When it’s business, I’m on because I’m wearing my suit, but when it’s casual, I don’t have as diverse of a casual closet."

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    Glenn, hairstylist, wearing Maybelline ColorSensational Rebel Bloom Lipstick in Orchid Ecstasy

    Do you wear makeup, or have you ever worn makeup before?
    "I don’t wear makeup daily, but I’ve worn it before for Halloween or going out to house parties in downtown L.A. when I was 17. I used to wear checkered lipstick, actually, just to do something fun."

    What did you think about the color you chose?
    "I like the color I chose — I definitely think it will define someone’s personal style. It’s a good added extra touch. Purple is also my favorite color."

    How did wearing lipstick feel?
    "The lipstick felt just like ChapStick, to be honest. It felt good!"

    How did it feel looking at your photo for the first time?
    "I actually was surprised at how good I looked! I thought it was interesting to look at — to see myself in a way I’ve never seen myself before... I normally don’t range myself outside of doing something very feminine, because I never felt comfortable doing that…but I felt comfortable wearing lipstick."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly beautiful?
    "I wouldn’t say beautiful — I’d say particularly handsome. I’m a hairstylist and I’m behind the scenes, and I’ve never gotten my photo taken before, so it was interesting to be on the other side and be the model. I felt really good about seeing my photo. I felt really confident and good in myself."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly self-conscious about your appearance?
    "At the White Party in Palm Springs! There are so many hot men there, and I felt like I needed to hit up the gym more."

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    Matt, designer, wearing Chanel Rouge Coco in Insoumise

    Do you wear makeup, or have you ever worn makeup before?
    "I don’t wear makeup every day, but I’ve worn it for photo shoots."

    What did you think about the color you chose?
    "The people on set drew me towards it. I was not at all intimidated by it."

    How did wearing lipstick feel?
    "It felt just like ChapStick — I didn’t really notice it, to be honest."

    How did it feel looking at your photo for the first time?
    "I look like my mom. I thought it looked good, but there was…a lot of mom."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly beautiful?
    "There were times when I felt more confident, but I don’t really pay too much attention to beauty. I don’t wash my hair and I don’t wash my face, but I guess...it’s just when I feel super-confident."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly self-conscious about your appearance?
    "Yeah, just when I notice when it’s like cold, dark, or gloomy, and I haven’t worked out in a while. Or, I haven’t gone for a run or been active."

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    Darien, student, wearing Make Lipstick in Magma

    Do you wear makeup, or have you ever worn makeup before?
    "No, never ever."

    What did you think about the color you chose?
    "I thought it was fun! I thought it would brighten anyone’s gloomy day."

    How did wearing lipstick feel?
    "My lips have never felt so moisturized — they felt like butter. Now that I’ve taken it off, they feel dry."

    How did it feel looking at your photo for the first time?
    "Uncomfortable. It’s hard to look at the photos because, for me as a person with large lips, I feel like highlighting them is slightly terrifying. I think that naturally, the color of my lips doesn’t make them so obvious, but when they’re highlighted, you can see how large they are."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly beautiful?
    "At the beginning of every day, because I think that the feeling of a fresh shower and the start of a new day wakes me up. By 4 p.m., I feel the worst."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly self-conscious about your appearance?
    "I spent a large part of my life being overweight, so for me, that was a big deal up until the 10th grade... I think it was part biological — growing — and part increasing activity in changing myself."

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    Kevin, model, wearing Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in the color Scandal 226

    Do you wear makeup, or have you ever worn makeup before?
    "I do not currently wear makeup, but I have in the past."

    What did you think about the color you chose?
    "I really liked the color I chose; I think it works well with tanner complexions and dark clothes."

    How did wearing lipstick feel?
    "I was surprised how beautiful I thought the lipstick looked."

    How did it feel looking at your photo for the first time?
    "I was confused. I didn't know if I was sexy or handsome, but it felt cool!"

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly beautiful?
    "I feel beautiful when I'm being myself — or getting a massage, for some reason."

    Can you remember a time you felt particularly self-conscious about your appearance?
    "I feel self-conscious a lot! Pick a day, I probably felt self-conscious then."