Real gay men wear makeup, and here’s how to do it right

Professional makeup artist, Steven Carty, AKA legendary drag queen Raye Sunshine, shares tips and advice for gay men on wearing makeup.

Health Grooming Koelen Andrews

This article was published on June 2nd, 2018

Steven Carty AKA Raye SunshineGay men always want to look their best. From spending time working on their bodies at the gym, getting fresh fade haircuts regularly, eating healthy, maintaining a regular manicure schedule, manscaping, wearing the latest fashion, and keeping up with daily skincare, gay men really do invest a significant amount of time and money into their looks. And for good cause.

There is a lot of pressure to always look your best. When it comes to going out, being extra can go a long way. Knowing how to get the right look is important. While makeup is traditionally thought to be for women, in fact, gay men can use makeup to their advantage to enhance and highlight their looks.

Professional makeup artist in Vancouver’s film industry and Director of Education at Studio F/X by day, Steven Carty knows plenty about painting faces. In fact, Steven is also known as Raye Sunshine, a legendary Canadian drag queen and the 39thEmpress of Vancouver for the Dogwood Monarchist Society. HomoCulture sat down with Steven and he shared his tips and advice on makeup tips for gay men to help you stand out and look your best.

Brah, wearing makeup doesn’t make you look feminine.

First things first. Wearing makeup has nothing to do with looking feminine. You can still be masc4masc and up your game, you just need to know how to do it right.

“Wearing makeup doesn’t and shouldn’t really affect someone’s masculinity as long as you are secure in yourself,” explains Steven Carty.

“However, adding too much or wearing the wrong formulas can deeply effect how someone feels. It’s like wearing an overcoat to the beach; sure, you might look amazing, but you aren’t comfortable. Men’s makeup should feel like your own skin while giving you the confidence boost that makeup gives to anyone.”

Real gay men wear makeup, and here’s how to do it rightKnow when you should be wearing makeup before you leave the house.

Wearing make-up isn’t just reserved for going out for a night of dancing at the club, attending a Pride event, or being extra at a circuit party. Wearing makeup can be part of your daily routine.

“Wearing makeup comes down to when you want to feel the most confident in your skin,” said Steven Carty”. “If you are doing a job interview, a date, or just going out for the night. When it’s done right you can’t see it. There is really no wrong time to wear it. That being said, I really don’t recommend rocking up a spin class in a full beat, as the makeup is going to end up getting into your eyes, clothes, and probably on the floor.”

The bottom line is if you are going somewhere and want the security of feeling and looking your best, then grab that CC or BB crème to smooth your skin out.

Knowing what kind of makeup to get is important.

Walking into your local drug store of cosmetics department can be daunting if you don’t know what you are looking for. But is there a difference between makeup for women verses men, or is it all the same?

“The best thing about makeup is that anyone can wear it, as long as you have the right formula, skin tone, and products on,” said Steven Carty. “If you can see the makeup or product then it’s the wrong shade for your skin, unless you are going for that hot orange skin tone, like a certain someone. There are amazing products out there that are geared towards men an dthe needs of their skin, but those tend to be harder to find and sometimes won’t work as well on person A’s skin as it does on person B’s skin.”

Start with getting the perfect, natural look.

Before you go and load up on makeup and get the show on the road, skin care and maintenance need to be in check and under control. It should be part of your daily gay routine. The better you are with your skin care the easier it will be to apply and wear makeup and produce better results. A daily routine of cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer is essential for maintaining a bright and fresh complexion. Men will benefit from using tinted moisturizers, CC creme with an SPF, or a lighter BB crème.

“The biggest things I can recommend to anyone who is just getting into makeup is to test it out on your neck and let it sit there for longer than two minutes,” explains Steven Carty. “As it sits there it will beginning to settle into your skin. If the colour goes from a perfect match to a darker colour, then that colour isn’t for you because the product is oxidizing on the skin with your natural oils.”

Steven also suggests using clear mascara to keep unruly brows in their place and give your lashes a defined look without seeing the makeup. Simply brush yoru hairs with the product and into the style you want them, then forget about it. To finish your natural look apply quality chapstick for soft lips. These two tips will give you instant results!

Real gay men wear makeup, and here’s how to do it rightSelect the right type of makeup for you.

Once you have your natural look sorted out you can start to work on enhancing your look with other types of makeup.

“Start light and then build up,” recommends Steven Carty. “Diving right into ‘drag level’ makeup can scare you off or look so noticeable that queens themselves will ask which Kryolan TV stick you are wearing. The best thing is to get what works with your skin. Try it out in the store and if you are too uncomfortable to do it alone, ask a friend to come with you. If that doesn’t work, ask a queen to take you. That larger-than-life personality will help smooth out the process and you get to know your local queen at the same time.”

For starters, Steven suggests CC or BB crème and a small, colourless powder for the center of your face. These are the easiest way to get the best complexion while still keeping you matte for all the epic selfies you’ll be taking.

What to avoid so you don’t end up looking like a train wreck.

Wearing makeup should enhance your look. Overdoing it can have you looking like a clown. That’s not the look your probably wanting to achieve. This section is important. Read carefully.

“The worst thing you can do when it comes to makeup is getting the wrong colour,” warns Steven Carty. “Match your skin on your neck, not the inside of your wrist. I have seen countless men come into the studio that are as white as Casper.”

To get started, try a concealer swatch test on your neck. Try different colours until you find the one that is right for you. Remember to let it sit on the skin for two minutes so the product has time to interact with your natural body oils.

“I always recommend to anyone that getting a real beauty blender is your best friend,” said Steven Carty. “A beauty blender is a sponge that you can apply your makeup with. The reason these are the best is because of the anti-bacteria membranes that keep the sponge from letting you spread that onto your skin.”

It is important to keep the sponge clean. Rinse with warm, clean water and then wring it out to dry. You will need to wet it each time you use it before applying your makeup. If using a sponge seems too complicated, you can use your hands but thoroughly wash them first.

“You do not need to use 190,000,000 products on your fact to simply look your best; however, should you wish to contour and highlight, then by all means, dive in,” said Steven Carty. “The best thing about makeup is that it can be washed off and reapplied.”

The key things Steven suggests to avoid is applying to much, because it can be overkill. If you are extra and want to slay the room with your highlight, then make room and slay!

Real gay men wear makeup, and here’s how to do it rightSteven Carty’s top makeup tips to make you look your best.

There are no rules when it comes to makeup, but here are Steven’s top helpful guidelines:

  • Getting the correct colour of foundation.
  • Chapstick before any lip colour or gloss because dry skin doesn’t make anyone look good.
  • Groomed brows to fit your face shape. You’ll know instantly if you’re rocking the wrong brows – it just won’t flow with your face. Tell your professional eyebrow stylist what shape you want them in.
  • Skin care is a must. Exfoliate once a week if you have dry skin.
  • Facials (not the kind you get at the bathhouse), by a professional with a license. This is an area that is well worth investing in to keep your skin looking young, fresh, and healthy.
  • Blending shouldn’t be a guideline, but it is. You don’t want to walk around with what looks like two brown streaks on your nose that you call a ‘contour’. Blend it out!
  • Apply soft. If you feel worried about someone clocking your makeup, go light. If someone tells you that your skin is looking amazing, then you are doing it right.

“Ask for help from the pro’s,” said Steven Carty in his closing advice on makeup tips for gay men. “When I say pro, I mean someone that went to school, has a degree or diploma in makeup. Just because someone can paint their own face fierce doesn’t mean they will be able to create a glamourous glow on you.”

Now that you have these ah-mazing makeup tips from professional makeup artist and legendry drag queen, get out there and start looking your fabulous best!


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