Billy Dee Williams. Prince. Ginuwine. The concept of a pretty boy has permeated popular culture for generations. However, in today’s vanity culture, men are more obsessed with their looks than ever before.
According to The Los Angeles Times, 1.1 million plastic surgeries were performed on men in 2010, 10,903 of which were face-lift procedures. Nose reshaping, eyelid surgery and liposuction are also reported to be common cosmetic surgical procedures among males. Shocking, right?
Outside of the hospital, men are heading to the salon to upgrade their look in new and remarkable ways. “Guybrows” is a term devised to cater to the rise in men who regularly get their eyebrows professionally waxed.
Referred to as “eyebrow sculpting,” the procedure is slightly different from eyebrow waxing for women. As celebrity makeup artist and eyebrow stylist, Joshua Swann explains: “The male brow is not as exaggerated as the female brow. You want to groom and shape the brow along a man’s natural browbone brushing hair up, removing excess hairs as needed then combing hair over to finish the look. It’s groomed rather than arched.”
But for the metro-sexual man, eyebrow sculpting is a given. His latest obsession? Nail polish. “It’s only natural that men who dig accessories and love taking fashion risks are starting to add nail color to their style arsenal,” say Liz Pickett and Ginger Johnson, founders of popular nail lacquer brand, Ginger & Liz.
Celebrity nail technician, Tracylee Percival, has encountered more and more men regarding manicures and pedicures as an “integral part of their grooming process.” She’s observed that while Jay-Z and Diddy have inspired men to keep their nails groomed yet clear of polish, younger men are less afraid to experiment with color.
“What I am experiencing now is that more men are welcoming different colors and designs on the nails,” she says. “For example, Andrew Mukamal and his friend tried zebra and color block minx nail film at an event I worked at this past Fall. More men are painting their toe nails in bright colors, which is something that I haven’t seen until now.”
The trend is so prevalent that nail polish lines have begun marketing to male customers. “There is a new polish line, BB Couture for Men, which is targeting this male trend,” says Percival.
Ginger & Liz cite several colors from their nail lacquer line which are popular among men. “Men often lean toward dark reds, blues, purples and browns,” they said. “Guys love our vampy shades like “Hold The Drama”, “Royal Flush” and “Who’s The Boss” and rock those colors very well.”
I dated a man who was obsessed with his appearance and went to great lengths, including manicures and eyebrow waxing, to maintain his look. As much as I hate to admit it, it disturbed me.
Though I appreciate a man who is polished and well-groomed, I don’t embrace guys who take on a conventionally feminine relationship toward beauty. In fact, it’s a turnoff. But I’ll always have a thing for Prince.
Is excessive male grooming a turnoff for you? From eyebrow waxing to nail polish to face-lifts, where do you draw the line for which grooming practices are acceptable for a man? Why are men becoming so increasingly fixated with their appearance?
-Jessica C. Andrews