Groom bold or go home

Gents, this festive season is not for the faint-hearted, as bold grooming choices set the tone for a beeeg December

Image: Rosdiana Ciaravolo/ Getty Images

There’s a common notion that “girls just wanna have fun” when it comes to makeup and day-to-day routines, but this year the boys are having some fun too — and doing it by experimenting with their grooming choices.

After two years of on-and-off lockdowns and with a much-overdue festive season on the way, there is no excuse not to groom boldly and play around with some of the daring choices that men have been trying out lately.  

Red carpets and runways have been a playground for male grooming trends — from nail art to vibrant hair colours and even hints of makeup — that elevate the grooming experience.

And according to Marco Louis Ackers, senior makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics Africa, the possibilities are only expanding: “From what one can see on social media, especially when it comes to Gen-Z consumers, men are definitely enjoying the possibilities of makeup more and more.

The mood around the use of makeup for men has become one of understanding that men can also enhance their natural looks. On much of our social media messaging, both from the brand and from our artists, you will see an influx of self-care in the form of skincare, enhancing with concealer and powder, and even transformative makeup for men — all with clear messaging that there are options at every level of makeup for guys.”  

American rapper A$AP Rocky.
American rapper A$AP Rocky.

Male celebrities such as Pharrell Williams, Lil Nas X, A$AP Rocky, Bad Bunny, and Billy Porter have not only popularised these trends but also been advocates for men grooming however they like and wearing nail and makeup trends with confidence.

Male Art 

As the king of nail art, A$AP Rocky is a go-to inspiration for trending nail-art looks. But before you get stuck into the world of male art and embellishments, we share how to get your nails in tip-top shape with the basics — then, let the fun begin, no matter what your comfort level.

  • The Novice: While a lot of men are embracing daringly creative nail trends, not everyone is ready to take the plunge. If you’re still warming up to the idea of nail art, start off with a basic manicure and buff to keep nails looking groomed. Go for neutral, barely-there nail polish shades such as a sheer pink to match your natural nail colour, or an earthy, sheer beige.

  • The Conservative: You’re definitely not against playing around with nail art but you’re not quite comfortable enough yet to jump into the deep end. Keep it simple and go for a solid application of colour over the whole nail that will give you the feeling of nail art but won’t stand out too much. Turn to popular shades such as white, navy blue, grey, deep green, or even black.

  • The Risk-taker: Take your cue from male art masters such as A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean and go big or go home with creative designs and colours. Lean into trending art designs for gents such as smiley-face emojis, eye motifs, abstract lines, or even bold shades such as neon brights, acid blues, or metallics. Just have fun and go all out.

5 basic need-to-knows for well-groomed nails

American rapper Kid Cudi.
American rapper Kid Cudi.
Image: Supplied.
  1. Stop hanging on to long nails or, dare we say, that singular long pinkie nail, and keep nails short for a polished, presentable appearance. Whether keeping nails natural or dabbling in nail art, make sure to clip them with a nail clipper from the edges to the centre, and file the nail edge in one direction to smooth out edges and prevent the nail tearing.

  2. Prepare the nail bed by applying a cuticle remover to the nail base and use a wooden cuticle stick to push back overgrown cuticles and neaten up nail appearance.

  3. Use a buffer to smooth out any ridges or unevenness on the surface of the nail and give it a natural sheen.

  4. Finish off with a base coat or nail strengthener to protect the nail against brittleness and breakage, and give it a healthy shine.
  5. Prevent dryness and peeling along the base of the nail by applying a drop of cuticle oil to the nail base and massaging it into the whole nail.
American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean.
American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean.
Image: Supplied.

 3 Makeup tricks to try

  • All smoke: The black smoky eye is a classic that transcends gender lines, so make a statement with a sooty eye layered with hints of silver on top for visual interest.
  • Glitter glint: For the low-key gent who loves the party spirit, a dusting of silver glitter over the whole eyelid or just dabbed in the inner corners pairs perfectly with a clean face.
  • Guy liner: A perfect accompaniment to add some rough-and-tumble to a suit, a black eyeliner can be used on the lower lash line, leaving the upper lash line and lid completely clean.

Groove Colourways

 Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, and Jaden Smith show how hair colour can be loud and fun… preferably paired with a brush cut.

  • Kid Cudi rocking a neon highlighter-green hair colour
  • Jaden Smith giving a watermelon twist to pink hair
  • Frank Ocean adding a lime-green hair colourway to his buzz cut

Tip: Over the festive season, use hair chalk or temporary hair colour that will fade gradually over a couple of washes.