Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

These four male social media influencers are challenging beauty stereotypes; here’s how

Thanks to these men who believe that beauty is not about the brightest red lipstick or shimmery eyeshadow, it is something that comes from within and is a way of expression for many out there

ankush bahuguna, ankush bahuguna instagram influencer, international mens day 2020, international mens day, akshay tyagi stylist, yashwantsskincare, guy skin, guy beauty, male beauty influencers, male bloggers india, male beauty bloggers indiaWhether it is about achieving flawless skin, thicker eyebrows or flushed cheeks -- countless advertisements and products have pandered to the likes and tastes of women alone. (Photo: Instagram/ Designed by Gargi Singh)

For the longest time, beauty has been synonymous with femininity. But something seems to be changing now. Some men are steadily changing the very perception of beauty and, in turn, setting the bar high with their beauty standards, one social media post at a time.

We got in touch with four male social media influencers who talked about why they chose to redefine beauty, and why they opted for the online space to show what beauty truly means to them.  



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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

A Delhi-based influencer with 400K followers, Bahuguna makes videos with a pinch of humour. But in some of his latest videos, he can be seen applying makeup, and challenging stereotypes by raising pertinent questions like ‘Why are beauty and makeup only associated with women?’

In one video, while carefully colour-correcting his under-eyes, applying a concealer, and finally, a setting powder, he asks, “Is your masculinity so fragile that it gets hidden by translucent powder?”

On the representation of men in the industry, Bahuguna believes that support for male bloggers is “conditional”, “Even now, the spotlight is mostly on cis-gendered men who do minimal makeup, like me. But so many men are doing different things, and they’re still not accepted and supported enough.”

For Bahuguna, beauty has always been a way of personal expression, and while he wasn’t as deeply into it as he is today, it has always intrigued him. “I do it for myself but I also put it out there so that a young boy can watch it and feel better about himself,” he tells  


The 34-year-old celebrity stylist and creative consultant based in Goa also advocates beauty for men. He feels the representation of males outside India is “market-specific”, while here it is “sparse”. “Men here don’t really like talking about beauty because they almost see it as a kind of weakness. But there are a few who take it to a whole new level.”

When it comes to describing the male beauty industry, he believes it caters to the basics of skincare with the intention to make it seem masculine. “Thousands of endorsements on skincare for pollution, fairness, acne and more, are done by actors. It is necessary for the market, but the way they strategise and talk about the same is a bit skewed,” Tyagi shares, while stressing on the need to strike a balance. For him, beauty is all about awareness which works with a hint of reverse psychology. “The more knowledge you have, the more awareness it leads to. When you are aware, you know about your flaws a lot more which helps the industry because you look for things to fix you.”


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A post shared by JL ‪☻‬ (

JL Crespo, a 24-year-old from Manila, Philippines has been a beauty blogger for the past two years. His feed is almost calming to see, with an aesthetic spread out, and Crespo reviews tons of beauty products, especially skincare. He started his account as a New Year’s resolution. “I had a growing interest in skincare and beauty; that is why I wanted a space where I could share my thoughts and knowledge about the same.” While his username was initially, he changed it to since he wanted to represent the males in the beauty community. For Crespo, beauty is not just about in-depth reviews or crisp pictures of shimmering eye shadow palettes; for him, it runs deep. “Beauty has always been a confidence booster for me — when I look good, I feel good.”

Despite being a part of the industry for two years, he believes there is a lot that needs to be done in order to increase the representation of men in beauty. “There’s definitely not a lot of men, but I’m happy to see that it’s improving. There’s still a lot of room for growth and I’m hoping it will get better in the coming years.” He reason, he believes, is the saturation of the market with female bloggers. “That’s why male bloggers are overlooked, but since the situation is changing, thankfully brands are noticing us, too.”


READ| Celebrity makeup artist Namrata Soni: Beauty will certainly become more inclusive in the years to come



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A post shared by YASH (@yash_want_skincare)

The Delhi-based beauty blogger firmly believes men are underrepresented in the beauty industry. “I think, it’s an overall problem. Look at beauty stores, you’d find a wide variety of products for women, but the options for men are limited. In fact, almost all brands have female celebs as their ambassadors.”

The 21-year-old’s Instagram has numerous reviews about products that specifically cater to combination/sensitive and acne-prone skin, and he says that he started his blog because he suffered from severe acne and nothing worked for him. “Videos of Liah Yooh (beauty influencer) made me realise how important it is to go through the ingredient labels, and sticking to a basic routine to fix my issues. But when I looked around, I found the Indian beauty industry wasn’t as equipped as the western or the Korean market. Thus, I dived into the latter and started sharing my experience with my followers.”

On asking if he has ever received any kind of backlash from his followers, he says, “When I started sharing my vulnerabilities, some of them alienated me. I thought they unfollow me. However, it didn’t end up like that. My followers have been really kind and I couldn’t be more grateful.” He also sells skincare products for charity and is of the opinion that “beauty is like a balance in terms of being comfortable in our own skin, doing anything you like and not questioning others for the same”.


READ| Will we still apply makeup with our face masks on?

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First published on: 19-11-2020 at 13:20 IST
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