When it comes to your makeup, what do men actually want? We asked a group of guys to be completely honest about what they love and loathe about your makeup bag...
With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, we thought there was no better time than now to have our date makeup put under the microscope. However, it isn’t us who'll be analysing it, rather 15 guys who we’ve asked to be completely honest concerning their likes, dislikes and worst makeup mishaps when it comes to the ladies, (and their own beauty bloopers too...you'll see what we mean later on).
From fake tan disasters to false eyelash blunders, makeup lessons from Umpa-Lumpas to British Bake Off inspired beauty, here are the makeup dos and don’ts that men desperately want us to know...
Leo, 26, Broker
Makeup Win: “Fresh-faced and minimal…slightly dark eyeshadow and mascara for a date.”
Makeup Fail: “Bold colours around the eyes. Drawn on eyebrows are a NO. Heavy makeup and deep red lipstick, meh.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “A girl once had a fake eyelash hanging off and she didn’t notice, but I felt too bad to tell her so just carried on having dinner.”
Lewis, 31, Solicitor
Makeup Win: “Less is more for me. I don't really want it to be noticeable, only a light enhancement of features. The eye pen thing on the whole seems to look nice.”
Makeup Fail: “I don't like too much makeup. By that I don't like overuse of the grouting stuff so that it looks like a mask of makeup or fake tan that makes it look like the girl has dipped their head in a chip pan. Anything fake e.g. eyelashes, looks scary, and anything with glitter is irritating because it gets everywhere.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Ummmmm...when skiing I once used lipstick thinking it was lip salve. Walked around unknowingly looking like The Joker all day.
“Oh you mean on a girl? I remember someone I used to work with once was unwell so hadn't put any makeup on. She clearly usually wears quite a lot, so when she had none on, I regret to say that I didn't recognise her and blanked her.”
Duncan, 30, TV Producer
Makeup Win: “Slightly red cheeks looks good. Anything that gives the image of being ‘natural’ is always a winner and looks mature too.”
Makeup Fail: “Any crazy coloured eyeshadows are a big no-no for me. As are mentally thin eyebrows or anything that appears caked on.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “My ex-girlfriend’s grandma had ‘eyebrows’ that ran all the way to her hair above her ears...also, a girl I once knew had weird dots below her eyes on a night out. Just made her look like hard work.”
Max, 27, Recruiter
Makeup Win: “Mmmm, that's tricky. I think less is probably more when it comes to makeup. So pretty, but not like she's tried too hard.”
Makeup Fail: “The worst is when it looks like a woman has dipped her head in a bucket of makeup - like you wouldn't be able to find her face for days underneath.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “When I was on a date with a girl and she was wearing so much of the face stuff that it all rubbed off on my clothes.”
Michael, 23, Sales Executive
Makeup Win: “Makeup that highlights a girl's natural beauty.”
Makeup Fail: “Drawn on squared eyebrows!”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Just telling my girlfriend she had too much bronzer on - I thought it was dirt, oops...”
Chris, 40, Sports Executive
Makeup Win: “I like natural-looking makeup because it's more subtle, it doesn't look like you've tried too hard. I find lots of makeup fake, like a weird mask.”
Makeup Fail: “I hate loads of heavy foundation and really painted on eyebrows (he says pointing to brows and saying 'whatever these are'), that is one of the worst looks. I don't like red lipstick at all - I'm not sure it really suits anyone does it? I think 'Why have you got that paint on your face.' The worst look possible for me are those girls in the department stores who look overly made up with orange lips and pasted on orangey foundation. It's like a layer of fake skin on your face. And the eyebrows... pencil thin brows are horrible.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “None to recall, but my wife who is a beauty editor always laughs at me as I don't know anything about makeup. I always say ‘That stuff on your eyes’ (mascara), I don't know what pencils do and I call lipstick ‘that stuff.’”
Ed, 26, Rugby World Cup
Makeup Win: “Natural with a bit of eyeliner.”
Makeup Fail: “Really aggressive makeup – when a girl has no real eyebrows but draws them on.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Rubbed off fake tan on white sheets.”
Amrit, 23, Journalist
Makeup Win: “I like nice natural makeup that isn't an inch thick but instead looks natural and just brings out the nice features on someone's face. Nice rich colours on the lipstick - like deep reds and regal looking colours. I don't mind fake eyelashes either as long as they don't look tacky.
“I like natural looking makeup even if it's slapped on. It's like art, you have to use loads of paint to make the apple you're painting look natural!”
Makeup Fail: “Not too keen on that really fake-looking makeup that makes girls look super plastic. Like when you can clearly see that it's slapped on like paint.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “When a girl wears fake tan (which I don't mind) but you can clearly see where they haven't done it properly so there is like a line and you can see the difference between orange and different coloured skin - that's always a shocker!”
Dan, 26, Doctor
Makeup Win: “I personally really like eyes and think using eye makeup to draw attention is my favourite. If it's a more posh occasion, then maybe a subtle lipstick might also be nice.”
Makeup Fail: “Really obvious blusher - I much prefer a natural look.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Girls that cake it on. Sometimes you see girls whose makeup is clearly a completely different colour to their skin - that is the worst!”
Chuck, 34, Actor
Makeup Win: “I like a foundation that enhances a natural complexion, clear and healthy looking rather than the very painted clown-faced look...or too orange.”
Makeup Fail: “I don't like heavy makeup anywhere really. Too much eyeshadow or mascara detracts from a girl’s natural features and ends up almost being like a mask, creating a sense of distance.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Gloopy chunks on the eyelashes and of course, the orange glow of too much radioactive foundation applied with a plastering iron.”
Martin, 31, Business Analyst
Makeup Win: “Colourful eyeshadow with long eyelashes.”
Makeup Fail: “Too much blusher and foundation lines around the neck and when the neck skin colour doesn’t match her face colour.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “I once borrowed my girlfriend's moisturiser, not realising it was tinted. Apparently, blending is key.”
Jonathan, 26, Freelance Digital/Web Developer
Makeup Win: “Depends on the person, but a little bit of eyeliner and subtle touches go a long way. Nothing too heavy, just a little to show the natural beauty she has. It’s natural beauty all day, every day for me.”
Makeup Fail: “Fully loaded makeup to cover up spots or bad skin. Girls need to let their faces breathe. It can become so bad that you see cracks or layers on the face - no thank you.
“Also, girls drawing on their eyebrows on trains (not a good look when it's a bumpy ride!) and caked on makeup with lots of foundation, red red cheeks, heavy lipstick and lots of mascara and eyeliner.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “Casually talking to a woman who'd made an effort to look good and seeing she had lipstick on her teeth; seeing a girl draw her eyebrows on the train and getting the proportions all wrong, one too long and one too short; just talking to a girl who had powdered on so much makeup that it was a different colour to the rest of her.”
Jason, 23, Graduate Manager
Makeup Win: “Nice eye makeup and nice lips...”
Makeup Fail: “Caked on makeup, also visible lines of foundation.”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “A girl on a first date with smudged lipstick all over her face.”
Andy, 32, Structural Engineer
Makeup Win: “Natural is a winner.”
Makeup Fail: “Goth-like makeup and eye makeup that's too prominent - either really bright or really dark coloured or fake eyelashes. Being too tanned as well - I prefer a natural tan.”
James, 24, Sales Team Manager
Makeup Win: “Something subtle. I don’t like women who cake on makeup and turn themselves orange, nor do I like brightly coloured eyeshadow. Sometimes just a bit of mascara and some lip gloss is great!”
Makeup Fail: “As above. Makeup that doesn’t suit the situation or makes someone look like a clown are turn offs. Also, scouse brows!”
Worst Makeup Mishap: “I once took a mascara pencil to Uni and used it as a pen because I lost my other one...” (We think he meant eyeliner...)
What men want
It seems that the general consensus among the guys we asked is that less is definitely more when it comes to makeup, with the vast majority much preferring it when we seek to enhance our natural features rather than mask them.
What men don’t want
Too much foundation, too much fake tan, bright eyeshadows and drawn-on eyebrows are definite no-nos.
What men mean...
Ah, the art of no makeup makeup. With our roster of guys giving us some valuable insight into how the male mind works, what actually makes for the ideal date makeup 'It' kit? Here are our top picks for the perfect ‘I woke up like this’ palette to make skin glow and ensure your natural features shine through...
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
For a foundation that gives the illusion of dewy, fresh-faced skin, look no further than this illuminating cover up to add a dose of pre-date radiance to a tired complexion. £31.50. Buy online .
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF10
Big date lined up? Don’t sweat it, this mattifying foundation comes in a massive 31 shades to cater for a huge range of different undertones to make tell-tale lines around the neck and jaw a thing of the past... £29.50. Buy online .
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Do you really need foundation? If you’ve got good skin, don’t cover it. Instead, gently diffuse any imperfections or blemishes with this hydrating and glow-enhancing lightweight alternative. £29. Buy online .
Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer
Tired eyes? Disguise dark circles with this hard-working opaque concealer followed by... £19.50. Buy online .
Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher
...to add an expert dose of light trickery to brighten shadows. £25. Buy online .
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
The best eyelash curler around for feigning wide awake eyes. £20. Buy online .
Lancôme Grandiose Wide-angle Fan Effect Mascara
For instant definition with or without an eyeliner, this is your wand of choice for high impact separation and a perfect night time flutter. Think of it as a pair of fake eyelashes in a tube, minus the risk of them ending up halfway down your face by the end of the night. £24.50. Buy online .
L’Oréal Paris Super Liner Perfect Slim in Intense Black
A subtle yet effective way to add understated definition to enhance your eye shape. It also has the perfect sized tip for mastering a sophisticated feline flick. £6.99. Buy online .
Anastasia Beverley Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
Want to boost your eyebrow shape without looking too ‘done’? This pencil has the best combination of grey sheer tones to etch ‘n’ sketch your way to a subtler finish. £18. Buy online .
NARS Illuminator in Copacabana or Laguna
For skin that looks lit from within, these two illuminators will stand your skin in good stead. For lighter complexions opt for Copacabana and for medium to dark skin tones or for those looking for a bronzed boost, choose Laguna and apply to brow bones, cheekbones and décolletage for a touch of pearlescent iridescence. £23. Buy online .
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm
Part lip balm, part lipstick, this makeup multitasker makes for a quick and versatile pop of colour for parched pouts. £17. Buy online .
Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm
Blend a few swipes of this creamy blush to cheeks to finish and you have the winning formula for the perfect date makeup look. £19. Buy online .