April 23, 2028—Eyeliner and lipstick sales have nearly doubled over the past five years, and it’s not just because women are adorning their faces more and more.
Like many women’s fashions that migrate to men, the use of everyday makeup was first adopted by adolescent males, rock stars and gay men. But over the past several years men have adopted makeup as a way to stand out in the workplace. As women have gained the majority of executive positions in the business world over the past 20 years, men feel they need to look attractive to compete.
In a Harvard Business School survey conducted last year, men who wore makeup were more likely to report having achieved executive positions in their offices compared with men who didn’t use cosmetics.
Fred Updike, a copywriter at the advertising firm Conner & Conner, said he knows first hand what a little makeup can do for a career.
“I went for years languishing in the same position, without so much as a merit raise,” Updike said. “All my dolled-up female counterparts kept passing me by. Then I started wearing lipstick and a little bit of eye shadow, and before you know it, I got a promotion.”
Makeup isn’t the only tool that men are using to get noticed in a female-dominated business world. Men’s pumps are now the biggest sellers in shoe stores, and many are resorting to plastic surgery to make themselves look younger and feminine.