Groom For Improvement: Matt Farquharson on men wearing make-up

Our grooming columnist, author, podcaster and Insta-star, Matt Farquharson (@matt.farquharson), on the powers of make-up for men

I have been on telly twice. Both times, when they fixed me up for the cameras, the make-up artists looked at me, sighed and smeared on concealer like wet cement.

The first experience was just before going on BBC Breakfast for about 14 seconds. The war paint made me itch so much, I scratched my cheeks straight after, which gave the impression of claw marks.

The second time, before a slot to flog a book on Sky News, I resisted scratching. When I later saw the footage, I realised I’d been in the hands of a make-up artist who was a Picasso of the powder, a Kahlo of cosmetics, a Cézanne of slap. She’d taken my sallow fizzog, with its blotches and saggy bags, and covered it all up, like she worked in a real-life version of Photoshop. She’d made me look like someone who hydrated properly, got enough sleep and had been a bit more militant with sunscreen.

A make-up brush can’t delete spare chins, but there was a moment when I thought: maybe I could look like this all the time. And I’m not alone. A study found that 65% of men would wear make-up if they didn’t think they’d be negatively judged for it, while another revealed that one in 20 men already does.

This is a far cry from the world I grew up in, with an Aberdonian dad who proudly kept his skin a shade of pasty granite, and in which ‘styling’ your hair with anything more than water and a comb was considered one step short of running off to join the circus. I’m not sure which is better, but I’m glad to be in a time where there’s a bit more choice.

The basics of make-up

Scrubs and exfoliators
Like fine-grade sandpaper for getting off the face flakes. Much like doing up a weathered garden bench, it’s important to prep before you paint.

A solid undercoat gives a better top layer, covering up time’s blemishes and cracks like a good wood filler.

The final dot and dab, hiding all those bits a topcoat won’t fix.

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Make-up must-haves

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (32ml) blends easily into stubble.

Ole Henriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub is a gentle but effective exfoliator.

L’Oréal Paris True Match The One Concealer conceals without feeling cakey.