Best make-up for men 2020: a beginner's guide to brands

From Chanel to War Paint, we've collected everything you need to know about the best make-up brands for men

Best make-up brands for men
(Image credit: Getty)

How's your face looking these days? Be honest. A little red? That'll be the beer. Dark circles? Get some sleep, mate. How about spots? It happens. The question, of course, is what can you do about it all?

There was a time when the answer was, nothing. If it's not something that can be fixed with a 5-in-1 face wash/shampoo/shower gel/beard cleanser/mouthwash, it's simply tough luck, buddy.?

Fortunately, as the world of grooming has moved on, the idea of men's make-up has become increasingly common too.? And why shouldn't it? Men experience the exact same skin blemishes as women, so it only makes sense to use the same products proven to cover up those problem areas.

"Men have worn make-up on the red carpet, on TV and in films for decades, but it's now becoming an everyday way of helping guys feel confident in themselves," says make-up artist Shauna Taggart, who has prepped the faces of male models like Oliver Cheshire for magazine covers. "For men who feel self-conscious about a spot or have pigmentation, make-up can be used to subtly improve their appearance without being obvious."

Unsurprisingly, cosmetic companies have been quick to jump on the growing trend, and there are now as many brands for men to choose from as there are shows to binge-watch on Netflix. Trouble is, that can make finding one worth shelling out for tricky.

To help you separate the new foundations of your grooming routine to the crap concealed as something better, T3 got hands-on with seven make-up brands for men worth considering.?

The best make-up for men:

(Image credit: Chanel)

1. Chanel

Boy de Chanel is a luxury make-up brand for men

Reasons to buy
+Foundation with SPF+Eyebrow pencil can be used as facial hair filler
Reasons to avoid
-No concealer product

For skin so good it practically offends people, you'll need more than a bit of moisturiser. But that doesn't have to mean piling on a trowel of slap every morning. Recognising that men are more likely to want to camouflage something they don't like, such as dry lips or a patchy beard, Chanel launched Boy de Chanel. The three-part line-up includes a matte foundation, nourishing lip balm and an eyebrow pencil that can also be used on facial hair. Hydrated lips, spot-free skin and a full beard – what's not to like?

(Image credit: War Paint)

2. War Paint

Macho-named make-up brand designed for men

Reasons to buy
+Cruelty-free and vegan+Donates 50p of concealer sales to CALM
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades-Contains coconut oil which can cause spots

From Dwayne' The Rock' Johnson to Jean-Claude-MF-Van-Damme, Hollywood's hardest men have long used women's beauty products without denting their hormones. So do blokes really need their own make-up? In a word, no. But for guys just starting out, or those shy about heading to a make-up counter, there's War Paint. Designed exclusively for men, the complete range includes a foundation, tinted moisturiser, bronzer, concealer, primer and make-up remover, all in uber-masculine black packaging.?

(Image credit: Clinique)

3. Clinique for Men

Simple, smart, and straightforward make-up from experts at Clinique

Reasons to buy
+Allergy-tested+Fragrance-free
Reasons to avoid
-Broad range could be confusing-Female-focused branding

Ask any professional groomer worth their pressed powder, and they'll tell you the secret to undetectable make-up is good skincare. It's no surprise, then, that the cosmetic bods at Clinique have come up with several near-invisible ways to hide your imperfections. The brand's collection of liquid, cream, powder and stick foundations, for example, may seem intimidating, but a quick online test makes it easy to get recommendations. Men's skin generally produces more oil than women's, making the Stay Matte formula a smart choice.

(Image credit: The Ordinary)

4. The Ordinary

The go-to brand for those 'in-the-know'

Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Light coverage
Reasons to avoid
-Requires primer for best results-No other products

For years, science-flexing skincare brand The Ordinary has been a go-to for those in-the-know. Which probably explains why it racked up a wait-list of over 25,000 people when it made a move into make-up. Named 'Colours', the collection features two products: a lightweight serum foundation and a high coverage foundation. Both available in 21 shades and with various 'undertones', this is one best bought in-store with the help of an expert and applied after a primer for optimum results.

(Image credit: Clinique)

5. Givenchy Mister

Make-up for men that's close to perfect

Reasons to buy
+Male-specific solutions+Easy to apply
Reasons to avoid
-High price point-No skin coverage product

There may be no such thing as Mr Perfect, but Givenchy Mister might just get you close. Comprising four easy to apply products designed to make skin look clean and smooth, there's a complexion-correcting pen, healthy glow gel and clear brow gel. The hero product, though, is the brand's mattifying stick, which can be rolled over the T-zone (that's the forehead, nose, and chin, in case you didn't know) to absorb excess shine and reduce the appearance of pores.

6. Fenty

Gentleman's Fenty offers a huge number of shades

Reasons to buy
+Inclusive shades+Online tutorials for men
Reasons to avoid
-Only full coverage-Concealer needs to be blended for best results

It's time to let you in on a secret, not all celebrities are born handsome. Take Daniel Kaluuya, the Black Panther star set the internet alight with his Insta-ready skin at the 90th Academy Awards. His secret? Rihanna's Fenty Beauty brand. As well as being one of the most inclusive make-up labels (offering 50 different shades), it sells a 'Gentlemen's Fenty Face' set that pulls together five complexion-focused items from its regular line and has a series of online tutorials specifically for men.?

(Image credit: Shakeup Cosmetics)

7. Shakeup Cosmetics

Easy-to-use with unique formulas designed for men's skin

Reasons to buy
+Cruelty-free and vegan+Skin-first approach
Reasons to avoid
-Limited stockists-No concealer

Taking a Ronseal approach to men's grooming, Shakeup Cosmetics is hoping to, well, shake up the skincare industry with its line of male beauty goods. The brainchild of twins Shane Carnell-Xu and Jake Xu, the Beijing natives are banking on Europe being just behind Asia, where products like its carefully formulated BB Tinted Moisturiser, Under Eye Concealer and Volumising Lip Gel are already best-sellers. Fix up, look sharp. Or rather, wake-up, shake-up.

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