For a while now, the so-called beauty boys phenomenon has been on the rise in the cosmetics world. Primarily on Instagram, this surge of influencers is making serious waves, with some even launching their own product lines with major names in the industry. Most of them are well into their adult years or in their late teens.
But we’re starting to see that age bracket extend. Jack Bennett, from the U.K., for example, has an Instagram account boasting more than 300,000 followers. Since going viral with his makeup tutorials, Jack has been profiled by the New York Times and Refinery29 over the last six months. He is 10 years old.
Men like Patrick Simondac (28), Jeffree Star (32), and Manny Gutierrez (26), among others, have amassed huge followings on social media. What was once a niche interest has sparked serious attention from the public, the fashion and beauty press, and makeup producers.
The trend seems to be on the rise, as Instagram’s data team has noted a 20 percent uptick in mentions of “makeup” by male users on the platform since the beginning of the year.
The appeal of male makeup icons is a blend of nuance and skill. Many of them have risen to fame for their abilities in applying makeup. Their channels on sites like YouTube have in-depth step-by-step tutorials on how to create iconic looks and styles. And it only makes sense that with the success of some of the older guys, younger teens and boys might want to follow suit.
Their rise also coincides with an ongoing public debate over topics like transgenderism and gender expression.
Jake Warden, a 15-year-old male makeup blogger, says that for him it’s more about personal expression than anything to do with gender. “I didn’t think about gender identity, what you do with your life, things you associate yourself with. I think no matter what gender, you are free to do what you want,” he told the New York Times in an interview.
Jake has more than 2 million Instagram followers.