By Shawna Healey
Chanel have received an influx of attention in the past week with the release of their Boy De Chanel makeup line, which is marketed specifically towards men.
This makeup line has been long in the works, with news circulating since 2018, but has only been released recently. Whilst arguably revolutionary due to the fact that Chanel is one of the first Western brands to create a makeup line specifically for men, some are criticising the line, saying that it’s ‘pandering’ to male makeup consumers.
The line has also been criticised for using the slogan “beauty knows no gender” whilst simultaneously marketing the makeup solely towards men.
However, while this a valid point of view, it is important to acknowledge that outside the world of YouTube and RuPaul’s Drag Race, it is uncommon to see men wearing makeup, and they certainly don’t have products marketed specifically towards them. A significant aspect of contemporary makeup culture is a sense of community and inclusivity, yet men remain a largely neglected demographic.
Beauty YouTube guru Patrick Starr’s slogan is “makeup is one size fits all”, which is a nice thought, but its factuality is sadly questionable. The Boy De Chanel makeup range, however, is a step in the right direction.
While YouTube gurus such as James, Manny, Jeffree are all making waves in normalising the idea that boys can wear makeup, they present their makeup in a feminine way, and Chanel’s marketing is also groundbreaking in its neutrality.
Some men may feel more comfortable covering their dark under-eye circles or spots, but might not want to have winged eyeliner or contour, and this is where Boy De Chanel comes in. It’s going to be part of the process of normalising makeup for men, much in the same way as skincare is increasingly becoming integrated into men’s routines as a result of societal normalisation.
Chanel is a luxury brand with a luxury price tag, and tests on animals, so this line is certainly not without its flaws, but hopefully it will trigger a trickle-down effect to more affordable brands with wider market appeal.