The Internet Is Accusing This Makeup Brand Of Promoting 'Toxic Masculinity'

Men wearing makeup is a growing beauty trend. A report by The Future Laboratory found that 15 percent of British men under 45 purchased makeup in 2016. Male beauty influencer James Charles is such a big deal that he caused severe traffic congestion in central Birmingham when he visited the Bull Ring this year. And in January, British Vogue posed the question: "Is 2019 the year men's make-up goes mainstream?"
But one men's makeup brand is being widely criticised online for sharing messaging that seemingly taps into fragile and toxic masculinity. War Paint, a UK-based brand which bills itself as "Makeup For Men, Designed By Men, For Men", shared a video advert earlier this week showing a muscular, heavily tattooed man taking a shower before putting on makeup... and a skull ring.
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The advert – which has since disappeared– seemed to be trying to say that wearing makeup doesn't make a person any less "manly" (eugh). People on Twitter immediately called it out for failing even to show the male model properly applying the makeup.
The brand is also being criticised for another video advert promoting its concealer – which doesn't use the word "concealer" anywhere in its messaging.
Meanwhile, others have suggested that the brand name "War Paint" is itself an embodiment of toxic masculinity. One person drew comparison to Liquid Death, the somewhat bizarre US bottled water brand which has also been accused of perpetuating toxic masculinity.
And some have taken issue with the very idea of "men's makeup", arguing that there's no reason why men can't use the same cosmetics products as everyone else. "Grow up and go to Sephora," one man tweeted pointedly.
After another tweeted that "there's no biological difference between men's skin and women's skin," War Paint responded by saying "male skin is actually very different to female skin".
The brand also shared text from its website which claims that "men need to be more cautious about what they use on their skin, as 'regular' skincare and cosmetics could worsen their skin over time".
However, the accuracy of the science behind War Paint's "makeup for men" has been called into question on Twitter, too.
Whatever the brand does next, it's hard not to feel that its very existence makes a future of genderless makeup look just a little bit further away.
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