Make-Up Review: BOY de Chanel / by Didier Young

I love makeup. I remember growing up and sneaking into my mother’s vanity to try out all the new products that she bought (and never used) and just being fascinated with how all those different colours looked on my face. Of course when my parents found out, they weren’t too thrilled. I’ve always known that my parents loved me but they definitely had a more traditional view of what a boy should be like. Boys don’t love boys, they don’t play with dolls or have high affinities for clothing and boys definitely do not wear makeup. Of course, my parents aren’t the only people who think like this and in many ways, that’s also why we have so many things that are marketed to specific genders. We rebranded deodorants in black for males and added masculine scents to skincare to cater to the male demographic. Brands are finally starting to tap into the male makeup industry, first pioneered by Tom Ford and now Chanel has followed suite with their Boy de Chanel line. 

When I heard the announcement for the Chanel line, I was ecstatic! Chanel has always made great beauty products (albeit a bit overpriced) and it was nice to see another big house endorsing the fact that it is okay for men to wear makeup as well. To start off the line, the brand released three different products: a foundation, a brow pencil and a lip balm. Those products are meant to be an extension of their unisex skincare line, allowing men to better their looks without pushing the boundaries too much. I’ll have to admit that one of the things that Chanel is really good at is branding. All three products are gorgeously minimal in velvety matte shades of blue with just the right amount of branding on them. Subtle, gorgeous and luxurious. If you were mostly interested in those products for your #shelfie, then you already got three winners here.

Out of the three, I decided to purchase two of them. I tried out the foundation in store (only eight shades which was fairly disappointing) and while it did have a very natural finish, unfortunately it was far too sheer to really do any good for me. We now live in a world where it is unacceptable for a foundation range to have less than thirty shades so Chanel did come a tad short on the numbers on this collection (The newest Les Beige Eau De Teint also only has eight shades). That being said, I am also a boy who is used to medium coverage foundation but for someone who is new to makeup and still wants to go incognito as a makeup user, the BOY foundation will do just fine. Plus at least you’ll have an SPF25 on, an important step that a lot of boys forget about.

Despite being a makeup lover, I have limited experience with eyebrow pencils. I am lucky enough to have a fairly defined set of eyebrows and as such, I didn’t ever feel the need to experiment with the brow product. The double-ended brow pencil comes with a spoolie on one side (to brush and define the brow) and a nicely tapered brow pencil on the other. I won’t lie, I was quite shocked with my brows after my first usage. The product was super easy to apply and it gave me well defined brows that I wasn’t used to seeing on my face. The formulation is quite fantastic and a little definitely goes a long way so apply moderately boys!

Last but not least, we have a primordial product when it comes to living in the cold north: lip balm. Trust me, after living here for ten years, I have become very picky about my lip products. The Chanel lip balm is… okay. I do appreciate that it is unscented and it does the job but it doesn’t do an amazing job (at least not at its retail price). If you really want to splurge on a lip balm then perhaps you should consider the far more effective La Mer version instead. Chanel does win for best packaging though.

I am a tad conflicted about the whole line: while I do not think that there should be gendered makeup, I do believe that Chanel’s BOY line will help to open up beauty conversations for a lot of guys who might have been uncomfortable with the idea of makeup until now. The line is a step in the right direction for inclusivity and it does include a couple of great products. Here’s to hoping that it will encourage more brands to focus on their male demographic from now on.