By Aaron Valentic
Updated Oct 02, 2017 @ 3:30 pm
Men embracing makeup - lead
Credit: Getty

Growing up, I had what some would consider a basic morning routine: shower, shave, wash face my face, done. You might think it's naïve, but I always felt that I wouldn’t need to do anything more to my face, that I would retain my youthful glow and looks forever. Wrinkle creams? Forget about it. Makeup? Out of the question.

When I first moved to the city back in 2013, I kept my same simple morning routine. It became my easy ritual that took less than 10 minutes and at the time, it helped me look somewhat presentable. Yet because of the stress of classes and day-to-day life amongst millions on an island, I began to develop severe vitiligo on sections of my body; most traumatic of all, my face and neck.

How could this be? Friends and acquaintances began to point out my “white eyelashes (which now have become one of my signature attributes), and the light patches on my neck and forehead. I hated the attention, and I wanted an easy way to cover the patches up. When makeup came to mind, it seemed so unnatural to me. Growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, that wasn’t something you saw daily, and I unfortunately brought that mentality with me to New York.

During this time, however, there was a cultural shift in how makeup was being marketed to consumers as not just an all-female business, but an inclusive business for both women and men. YouTube bloggers like James Charles, Ryan Potter, and Manny Mua transformed the relationship between men and makeup over the course of nearly a year, where it was no longer considered “strange” to have a man walk into Sephora and purchase a haul of his favorite eyeshadow palettes and brow pencils.

From their YouTube channels, these makeup artists have transformed their businesses into larger-than-life platforms, becoming brand ambassadors for major companies such as CoverGirl, and even having television cameos. And we can’t forget about the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, who have been entrancing audiences with superior makeup skills since the show debuted in 2009.

When I began to uncover this group of bloggers and influencers, I took notes (lots and lots of notes) about the proper type of concealers to buy, what foundation would be best for my skin, and most importantly, how to get my brows to look fuller than ever (yes, I am a brow guy).

Like anyone who has his or her first big experience with something, I was a tad overwhelmed. I noticed pictures where I had loved the makeup a little too much, and my face looked far too done up. It was back to the drawing board. When I finally began to grasp what looked the best on my skin, I knew I had found the perfect products for my everyday life.

First and foremost, since I have oily skin in the summer, I need coverage that isn’t going to melt off. When it comes to priming, I love Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint to give me a great base to work off of. For foundation, I have fallen madly in love with NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, which is the easiest foundation I have ever applied. Afterwards, I always need to apply a tiny amount of concealer to hide the early stages of dark circles, which is where I turn to NARS Concealer. For my brows, Dior has never failed to make this an easy and breezy chore, using both the Dior Brow Styler to fill, and the Dior Brow Styler Gel to groom. For the final touch, I love a little extra glow, which is why I turn to the Glossier Haloscope for that perfect shine.

VIDEO: Keke Palmer Shares Her Beauty Must-Haves

Once I had nailed the morning routine of my dreams, my skin never looked better (or more natural). I receive compliments on a daily basis that my skin is glowing and radiant and that there isn't a pore in sight (which could be a bluff, but who cares I’ll take the compliment).

Men shouldn’t be afraid to use a little makeup in their daily lives. Feeling a little tired? Add a dab of concealer. Concerned about crow's feet? Be sure to keep those eyes moisturized. It’s by no means meant to be unnatural, but it's to help us love ourselves a little more and care for ourselves in a better way. I started to embrace makeup for some of my skin issues, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of RuPaul's queens, and most importantly, an online community that embraces men and the use of makeup.