“His eye makeup is better than yours,” reads the headline in the New York Times. The article is about Jack Bennett, a 10-year-old boy from Berkshire, England. Thanks to his Instagram account, @makeuupbyjack, the pre-pubescent is now advising cosmetic companies like MAC and NYX on trends and “looks.” Bennett is one of a growing number of young men and boys who are becoming popular on the social media site for sharing pictures of themselves doing their own makeup:
In only a couple of years, these young men have gained sway in the industry. Cosmetics brands like Milk Makeup have built their offerings on genderless beauty; the skin-care company Glow Recipe hosts sold-out boy beauty mask classes; and in the fragrance aisle, unisex scent houses continue to grow.
…And the men who are paying attention appear to be getting younger and younger. Jack Bennett is one of the youngest and sees his account as a way to “enjoy the artistic side of makeup.” Jake Warden, from Longmont, Colo., is 15 and has 2.1 million Instagram followers. MAC Cosmetics has paid him to feature its Studio Fix foundation. Alan Macias (473,000 followers) is 19. His favorite look is what he calls “boy glam, which is a boy, but a pretty boy.”
“That’s foundation, concealer, mascara, gloss and done,” he said.
And it’s likely they would all like to achieve the success of James Charles, now 18 with 2.5 million Instagram followers, who landed a CoverGirl contract as its first male ambassador.
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Lashes and lines ❤️ feeling creative today ! Products: Primer: @maccosmetics Foundation: @maccosmetics @beautyblender_uk @beautyblender Concealer: @benefitcosmeticsuk Powder: @maccosmetics Contour: @benefitcosmeticsuk Highlight: @__dollbeauty_ Brows: @benefitcosmeticsuk Eyes: @morphebrushes Liner: @suvabeauty Mascara: @toofaced Lashes: @tatti_lashes Lips: @toofaced ‘it’s happening’ • #makeuupbyjack #boyswhowearmakeup #boyswhoglam #makeuptutorial #makeupjunkie #makeupvideos #makeuplover #makeuplook #makeuplove #naturalmakeup #natural #mac #lovemakeup #lashes #lips #makeup #makeuphasnogender #glam #tattilashes #boyswearmakeup #crazy
Fashion moguls shrug off the fact that some of these boys are far from the legal age of consent. Hungry for traffic, they’re willing to argue that seductive pictures of young boys wearing makeup has nothing to do with sexuality or gender and everything to do with “art”:
Certainly their ages have raised eyebrows and drawn eyeballs. Some have mainstream celebrity followers, like Shay Mitchell, Ansel Elgort and Meghan Trainor. But Carly Cardellino, beauty director of Cosmopolitan.com, argues that their skill is the draw.
“If you’re amazing at applying makeup, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what gender you identify with,” she said. “If you’re young, already embracing who you are and are insanely talented, those factors will make you stand out even more.”
A growing number of young boys are becoming more fashion and style conscious. According to Cozy Friedman, a kids salon owner in Manhattan, millennial parents not only accept gender fluidity, they promote it among boys as young as six:
And the way men are dispensing with male beauty stereotypes is trickling down. Cozy Friedman, a founder of the Cozy’s Cuts for Kids hair salon in Manhattan, has seen a shift in attitudes.
“What you have now are millennial moms who have grown up in an era where gender is more fluid,” Ms. Friedman said. “Millennials are very in tune with empowering their children.” For example, she sees a wide range of hair lengths on boys. “It’s not unusual for boys to sit in the chair, take out an iPhone and show a picture of what they want their hair to look like,” she said, adding that they start around age 6. “There are many role models for them to look to now.”
Apparently, there are also many cosmetics companies and fashion magazines willing to whore out young boys for the sake of sales and clicks. In the age of Harvey Weinstein, when former child actresses are exposing the pornographic side of working in front of the camera, it’s good to know that when it comes to borderline child pornography, today’s moguls are gender-neutral.