YouTubers Help Male Grooming Finally Step Out Of The Shadow

YouTube makeup artist Manny Gutierrez
YouTube makeup artist Manny Gutierrez
Julie Rambal

GENEVA — His video, "I'm testing a blackhead vacuum," has more than 200,000 views. The one entitled, "Baldness: my hair transplant" has been seen at least 440,000 times. But his bestseller remains "How to have a beautiful, well-trimmed beard," with more than 800,000 views. Since he created his YouTube channel, The Winslegue Tutorials, two and a half years ago, Westley, 36, has become the most popular French-speaking male beauty YouTuber, with more than 100,000 subscribers.

His credo? The same as that of his female counterparts: Test and comment on any and all men's beauty products, increasingly in serious competition with those of women. "In the past, you used to have to take stuff from your girlfriend's toiletry case. Now we have our own, well-stocked shelf: balms and oils for the beard, hydrating creams, scrubs, masks, epilating strips for the eyebrows, conditioner, concealer, hair-styling powders," Westley says.

The star YouTuber notes that the beauty industry has understood that the Instagram generation is very attentive to image, and that includes men, which is a specific market unto itself. The value of this market in Switzerland alone is estimated at 19 million Swiss francs (about $19.3 million), as men no longer hesitate to display themselves coated in a scrubbing mask or to detail their "beauty routine" online.

From Alpha M, an American YouTuber who has seduced about three million subscribers, to the two French brothers behind the channel So Style, through the Danish channel Slikhaar, guys spend hours upon hours on the art of having whiter teeth, hiding a pimple or lighting up their eyes with a touch gel in the eyebrows. "There is a real break between those over and under 40. The younger generation has a more open approach to masculinity," says Marc Briant-Terlet, co-founder of the Horace beauty product brand.

"For a long time, brands sold men products associated with virility," Briant-Terlet adds. "A cream was expected to tug on the skin and shower gels smelled like peppermint. But our clients appreciate more subtle products. The pitch is also less patronizing. We no longer tell men that by taking care of themselves they'll become great athletes or meet a stunning girl, but that taking care of oneself is part of nurturing your wellbeing."

Few fathers explain to their sons how to exfoliate.

On its site, Horace also offers a magazine section to respond to any sort of narcissistic question: "Should you use chapstick?" or "How to care for your eyebrows."

"Men take better care of themselves, but it still remains a difficult topic to talk about," says Briant-Terlet. "Few fathers explain to their sons how to exfoliate."

Westley has also created a closed Facebook group for guys to chat among themselves, without taboos. "I'm trying to free male speech," he says. "The most frequently asked question is about the dissimulation of white hairs in a beard. But subscribers also ask how to shave their testicles without hurting themselves."

Because male pilosity is also at the center of a new aesthetic, accompanied by a booming market, from Braun's multi-hair removal kit for men to Wilkinson's shaver for private parts.

"Until now, a man was content with the beauty capital he received at birth. Now, he is trapped by the same need as women to improve that capital," observes the philosopher Bernard Andrieu, author of Rester Beau (Staying Beautiful). "He's no longer satisfied with external hygiene, razors or deodorant, but now adopts new sensory habits, investing in that which is more than skin deep, this contemporary symbol of professional, relational, sexual vitality. All those self-improvement techniques formerly reserved for women are now masculinized."

Ironically, men's claim to coquetry comes at a time when women are rejecting the aesthetic diktats of society, particularly through the Body Positive movement. So much so that some boycott razors even on catwalks of haute couture shows: "I have more and more female students who show off hairy legs, and more and more male students with smooth torsos or calves," Andrieu remarks. "It's a real market inversion: Women have started criticizing the norm, while men are imposing new standards. But they have always lagged behind women."

Brands are now making men their core target, as men today are less reluctant than women to spend hours in the bathroom. In 2015, Google already announced in its annual report, Beauty Trends, that men were spending more time consulting hairdressing websites than women.

Do these changes mean that men will begin lighting their faces up even more with makeup? Big e-shopping platforms like Asos are offering a range of eyeliners, foundations and blushes for men, while males have become the muses of makeup brands, like Manny Gutierrez (a.k.a. Manny Mua), Maybelline's ambassador. Emmanuel Macron, too, recently paid his makeup artist 26,000 euros for three months of work.

Alas, male makeup is emerging just as many feminists denounce its use, and singer Alicia Keys has announced that she hasn't worn makeup at all for over a year. Or the English writer Zadie Smith, who has forbidden her daughter to spend more than 15 minutes daily in front of the mirror: "I explained it to her in these terms: You are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he's out the door," Smith said.

The way the industry is going now, soon it may be the other way around.

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.



• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.


"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.



For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.


Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️


We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.


Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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