Makeup for Men: Four affordable bases for enhancing skin

(The third Friday of August is celebrated as Men's Grooming Day, to encourage men to be more proactive about managing their appearance and taking better care of themselves. - Ed.)

Here's the thing: it's not fair that only us girls get to use makeup to make ourselves feel good. I believe anyone should be able to use makeup to uplift their spirits and help them feel more confident! If a guy has blemishes or dark circles that are deducting from his pogi points or making him look haggard, why makeup-shame him for using concealers?

I understand that maybe our culture isn’t ready to embrace men wearing makeup yet, but we here in Project Vanity would like to offer the same empowerment to men as we do for women and makeup! Apart from using concealers to hide skin flaws, makeup bases are a great option for men looking to up their daily grooming routine as it can even out their skin tone and help to keep their faces matte. Since most men are unaccustomed to wearing makeup, it's important to use a base that offers a bit of coverage while still looking and feeling like skin.  

I enlisted the help of my officemate Ro to try out four face bases and wear them for a full day! Some quick specs: Ro's skin is quite sensitive and super dry. He doesn't have a lot of blemishes and mostly just has redness on the sides of his nose. I used the Flormar Illuminating Primer Make-Up Base to help the makeup sit better on his skin. I did not use a setting powder to better test the bases’ longevity.  

This is Ro's bare face!

This is Ro's bare face!

Face Base #1: Flormar Wet & Dry Compact Powder, P499 at SM Beauty  

If you're looking for medium buildable powder foundation with a really matte finish, this is one to try! This would suit those with oily-combination skin best, as this made Ro’s skin look super dry. The primer did help to bring some illumination and hydration back into his skin, but it still looked super matte without the primer. It’s great for evening out redness and doesn’t look cakey when applied. You can also use this wet to build up the coverage. 

This powder foundation wore out faster around his eye area because he wears glasses. It also faded around the sides of his nose from scratching. Ro used the shade W05 Medium Caramel, which quite perfectly matched his skin color.  

Wearing Flormar Wet & Dry Compact Powder

Wearing Flormar Wet & Dry Compact Powder

Face Base #2: Quick FX Tinted Moisturizer, P59 at Watsons

Because he has dry skin, a tinted moisturizer is actually the perfect solution for Ro. The hint of color doesn't offer much coverage; his skin looked more even but didn’t cover the redness. It's great for moisturizing, though! Setting with a powder is also necessary if you want more longevity.

At the end of the day, this wore down the fastest of all the bases, with only around 3 to 4 hours of wear time before fading. Admittedly, you really don’t notice the fading much because it looks very skin-like. This would go best with those who have really dry skin and want a single step moisturizing and skin-evening product.

Wearing Quick FX Tinted Moisturizer

Wearing Quick FX Tinted Moisturizer

Face Base #3: iWhite BBholic Everyday BB Cream, P25 at drugstores and convenience stores

We've previously raved about this BB Cream and how it makes for a great everyday base. It's actually one that I myself use and love! It has a dewy finish and would call for some powder to make it last longer. The formula is also easily blendable using clean fingers or a sponge

The coverage is light and thus couldn't cover the redness on Ro's nose completely. He reports that it felt easy and lightweight on his skin. It does tend to sit on Ro's dry patches and emphasizes them though, so make sure to moisturize and exfoliate properly before using this! 

Wearing iWhite BBholic Everyday BB Cream

Wearing iWhite BBholic Everyday BB Cream

Face Base #4: Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation, P449 at Watsons

This is what I'd recommend for a medium to full coverage yet natural-looking finish without the feel of foundation! Despite the "matte" description, the mousse-like formula applied well to Ro's dry skin and seemed to give it a bit of hydration.

It may look heavy but it definitely doesn't feel that way! The shade 70 initially looked a bit pink on Ro but it was able to adjust to his skin tone a bit better as it wore throughout the day. Extra pogi points: it photographs nicely on Ro's skin! It did fade on the areas where his glasses hit his face, which can be prevented by setting those areas with powder. This had the best wear time out of all of them, lasting well through our 8-hour work day.

Wearing Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation

Wearing Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation

Overall, Ro’s favorite is the Quick FX Tinted Moisturizer because it didn't feel like he had anything on and also really blended well into his skin. My personal favorite on Ro was the Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Foundation because it really made his skin look more alive and well-hydrated. 

I asked him if he would ever consider wearing makeup on his own. He says he actually would given three conditions: he can apply it easily, it doesn't break him out, and if he's got a raging pimple like he does this week. He's really quite sold on the tinted moisturizer but it's not something he'd do on a daily basis, mostly because he'll probably forget. Trying on makeup for the first time was a bit of a challenge because he's not used to it but he likes having the option to cover up blemishes, which make him feel conscious, insecure, and distracted. You know, just like how girls would feel!

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Have you tried any of these products on yourself? Which one do you think looked best on Ro? And what other face bases would you recommend for guys?