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

  • http://pityplease.tumblr.com Tomi

    It’s funny because I just got back from a Gender Bender dance, where I helped five guys wax, shape, tuck and pluck. Men aren’t going to those extremes on a daily basis but so what? Who decides what is masculine and what is feminine? Pink used to be a masculine color (because it came from red). Hilary used to be a boys name. If a guy want’s to get his nails filed, his eyebrows groomed and his body man-scaped then it’s his business. As long as he looks attractive to me, I don’t care how he achieved it.

    That being said… a completely hairless man OR woman would freak the actual shit out of me.

  • http://www.adivastateofmind.com A Diva State of Mind

    Call me old school, but I would never date a man who wore nail polish!

    • Used to do

      Indeed! LOL. I mean, I can’t fathom that at all. But sometimes perception is often a reality for some people. What you and I may consider groomed and polished may be someone else’s bright nail polish and hairless ness (not even a word lol). There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and taking care of yourself – however the extent to which you will achieve that may possibly be questioned. But alas, to each their own.

  • binks

    Because men fall under the same beauty pressures and force standards women do, but it’s just not reported or interviewed enough. Everybody wants to look their best, everybody has flaws they want to work on and get fix and “aging” in this day and age is like saying a sin to most people, regardless of gender. Personally, I don’t mind if a guy was into hygiene and have his own primping rituals but I am drawing a line at the nail polish thing… lol. I still want a well groomed man but I still want him to look rugged and manly

  • Jaz

    Manicures, Pedicures (w/o nail colors, clear or matte is fine), and even Facials are fine for men. Unless you have Brows ala Drake, you don’t really need to groom anything up there. that’s where the line is drawn.

  • http://fattiesoslim.tumblr.com Brianna

    My boyfriends makes sure he brushes his teeth twice a day, his nails are clean, his clothes are fresh and ironed, and his hair is cut… I’m just thankful that he cares that much.

    And maybe this is just a personal issue, but if he was into eyebrow waxing and manicures and pedicures, I would feel like I’m in a constant beauty competition with my other half.

  • AW

    My guy sounds like Brianna’s. He’s clean and neat and that’s pretty much where it ends. He does manscape and apparently buzzes his leg hair when it gets long (?? we’ve only been dating a few months and I noticed a few weeks ago). But he doesn’t shave or wax or do anything to his nails other than trim them.

    Like Brianna, I kind of like it this way. I don’t want to have to worry about keeping up with my boyfriend in the beauty department. Personally, I’m a pretty low key gal. I get my brows done when necessary, I get my toes done every few months, and maybe get a manicure twice a year (I work with my hands and find it a waste of money typically). If his routine was more serious than mine…I’d probably be anxious to be honest!

    Sure, I’d actually love if my bf went to the nail shop with me and got his feet worked on while keeping me company, I don’t hold it against him that he doesn’t want to.

  • Dee

    I dislike men with clear nail polish just as much as I dislike men that have dirt underneath their fingernails. Also, there is nothing masculine about long fingernail. I absolutely hate men that use a stocking cap, do-rag or whatever to obtain waves. Doesn’t do anything for me nor does bathing in cologne.

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