When realtor Ben Dixon caught sight of his face during an early morning Zoom call with a client in January, he was distracted by what he perceived were bags and discoloration under his eyes.
“I thought, ‘You could do with a little help here!’” the 42-year-old admitted to The New York Post, noting how he’d become more bothered by his appearance while working remotely during the pandemic.
So, like a growing number of dudes who are increasingly horrified by their appearance on countless Zoom calls, he consulted a friend with seemingly perfect skin, who generously shared his secret: concealer for men.
“It’s fantastic,” added Dixon, who dropped $18 on a Tribe product named “Define Layer: Skin Fix” which he ordered online after choosing from the five different shades. “People have already started saying I look younger in my videos.”
More men than ever are now buying makeup, resulting in the male side of the industry experiencing a leap in sales, partly due to the work-from-home trend. National drugstore giant CVS added the men’s range Stryx — its slogan is “Nothing Wrong With Handsome” — to 2,000 of its over 9,900 outlets in June 2020, nine months after a Morning Consult poll found almost a quarter of guys would consider wearing cosmetics.
Meanwhile, according to market analytics firm Moz, Google queries for “men’s makeup looks” jumped almost 80% last year from 2019, and other top requests included “covering redness,” “hiding acne” and “hiding bags under eyes.”
Gabriel Reyes, a publicist from Los Angeles, who gave his age as “early 60s,” has no problem putting on what he terms “his mask” for online meet-and-greets.
“Whenever I see myself, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, look at those wrinkles and sun spots,’” he told The Post. “I usually keep my [still] picture up on Zoom but sometimes that looks rude so I have to turn on the video camera.”
The BB cream was recommended by a sales assistant in Miami and he bought the slightly thicker Maybelline foundation in the women’s makeup section of his local drug store.
“I’m regretful as I used to lay out in the sun for eight hours at a time when I was in my 20s and living in Texas,” Reyes said. “But these concealers really work.”
He is careful to use the products all over his face, neck and ears to make sure the coverage is even.
“I was one of the presenters of a workshop on Zoom and, though it sounds frivolous, I felt a lot more confident and able to focus on the task in hand,” he said. “I don’t think men should have any qualms about using tools that will help them look and feel better.”
The trend comes amid evolving attitudes toward men’s cosmetics, said Bill Wackermann, spokesman of New York-based cosmetics company Tribe. In addition to moisturizer and concealer, the company also sells “Eyebrow and Beard Fix,” which fills in gaps in uneven beards, hairlines and eyebrows.
“You could call it the ‘Zoom effect,’” he wrote in a press release last month. “America appears to be catching up to other countries like Japan, where there are fewer taboos around men wearing makeup.”
As for Dixon, he jokingly credits his fresh, blemish-free look as instrumental in securing a $30 million East Village penthouse for one of his top clients – a deal which took almost a year to shake on.
“It’s the equivalent of a well-fitting suit,” he said.
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