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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Guys’ Take On: Girls’ Makeup – The Dos & Don’ts According to Guys

This morning you woke up and put your makeup staples on – foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, mascara. You might copy a trendy look for cat-eye eyeliner you saw in Glamour, or steal a bright pink lipstick look from Barbie-inspired Nicki Minaj. Once you leave your room though, you won’t be the only one who appreciates your makeup choices. Or maybe you will…

We surveyed 30 college guys from across the country to ask what they think of our strawberry daiquiri-flavored lip gloss, Megan Fox eyeliner technique, and that red lipstick trend courtesy of Mad Men. Here we break down their responses – never struggle deciding between lipstick or lip gloss again.

Red Lipstick
No matter how big the trend becomes, it still takes a dose of confidence to be able to pull off that vintage look, complete with candy apple-red lipstick. We asked guys what they’re thinking right before kissing a girl who’s wearing the slicked-on color, and it was nearly split down the middle.

45 percent of them don’t mind a bright red pout. Nick, Miami University ’12, and Ben, Plymouth State University ’12, both love the look. Lips with bright red lipstick, “look super sexy,” Ben said. Another 35 percent said they’d be less likely to kiss a girl with red lipstick. The biggest problems they have with it: they don’t want it on their lips, or their shirt. Jason, Syracuse University ’13, though, said, “[red lipstick] might be too much, but if I like her enough I’ll kiss her anyways.” That’s the spirit.

Cat eye eyeliner

We’ll be honest, we were a little surprised about the results of this one. Only a few guys said they didn’t mind this look (but, they didn’t say they loved it), the rest were not fans at all. “Just weird looking,” one guy said. “Not feelin’ it,” another one said. Well guys, we get the point. Maybe our pencils will last longer if we stop winging out the liner so far, anyway.

Flavored Lip Gloss
Remember when you were in the Bonne Bell Lip Smackers club in middle school? Well, flavored lip gloss is the college version of that – totally fun, but sometimes a little over the top. Fifty percent of our guys say they’re cool with flavored lip gloss – that’s good news for your favorite strawberry daiquiri-flavored tube. “Win. Double win,” Don, Syracuse University ’12, said. The rest were split between definitely not’s and maybes.

Ian, Syracuse University ’13 said, “It all depends on how she kisses. If she’s good, then I don’t mind, but if she’s sloppy about it, I’ll end up with it all over my face.” We suggest going with a flavor if that’s your game, but try not to get it anywhere but your guy’s lips. He probably won’t mind dealing with the flavor, but he definitely won’t want sticky cheeks, or a sticky neck afterwards.

Tons of Mascara

Ever see those girls with loads of mascara on? The one whom you can hardly look at anything else except the insane amount of mascara and crazy long length of their lashes? We asked our surveyed guys if they felt more was better (hey, it does draw attention to the eyes), or if it was just too much. Most of them felt it was just too much. “It’s unnecessary,” John, Manhattan College ’11, said. “It looks phony and like you tried too hard.” A few swipes is all you need, ladies. The guys notice when it’s overdone. As Rigo, University of Virginia ’15 said, “It’s OK, if you’re a model… for mascara.”

Brightly colored eye shadow
If you got an eye makeup palette from Sephora as a gift, you might be tempted to try on every color (not all at once of course). Blue one night, pink the next morning, gold on a date night. But are the guys fans? Most of our guys said that, if it’s done right (not too much, and a color that works well with your outfit and skin tone), they don’t mind it. “There’s nothing wrong with a little color,” John, Manhattan College ’11, said. But Ian, Syracuse University ’13, says “unless it’s a costume party, keep it to a minimum.” We say, pick a color you like, then learn how to blend it well. Be careful with those new eye shadow trios; some of those colors can turn out pretty bold if you’ve got a heavy hand with the makeup brush.

Smoky eyes

Depending on the situation, the guys we surveyed love this. John, Manhattan College ’11, said a good smoky eye can be really sexy if it’s the right occasion, and what you’re wearing fits the makeup’s mood. This means exactly what you think it does: stay away from a dark smoky eye during the day, or if you’re wearing a breezy sundress (duh). Keep it for a night out, or a glammed up look. This is the Megan Fox look in a nutshell – it’s all about the eyes – so keep the rest of your face and lips fairly low-key.

Trendy Makeup Techniques
These are your neon lipsticks, sparkly green eye shadows, and teal eyeliners. The looks we try, and then sometimes wish we didn’t. Here’s which one the guys say they just can’t stand (unfortunately, glitter didn’t stand up well…).

“Wicked bright eyeshadow,” Casey, Clark University ‘12

“Glitter. Seriously, wtf?,” Tom, Syracuse University ‘13

“Glitter,” Alex, University of Iowa ‘13

“Fake eyelashes,” Joe, Syracuse University ‘12

“Bright colors under the eyes, and glitter – a little too much for me,” Ben, Plymouth State University ‘12.

“Bright, glittery colors during the day (Nicki Minaj style),” Mike, Northeastern University ‘12.

Guys’ Daytime Makeup Favorite
We asked our surveyed guys what makeup look they most wanted to see during the day. Seventy-two percent of guys answered they like minimal makeup. This means putting on a swipe or two of mascara, but not going all out with lipstick, loads of blush, or bronzer. “Less is more,” Colin, Ohio University ‘13 says. It’s a basic concept, but makes total sense for daywear application. Keep it simple – for you (hey, less time getting ready before class), and with the makeup.

Nick, Bucknell University ‘13, says his favorite day look is Kelly Clarkson-style: “minimal makeup, lip gloss, and a smile.” We like your style too, Nick.


Makeup Tools

Ever catch your boyfriend with a frightened look in his eye when you’re drawing on eyeliner? He’s not alone. Here’s the breakdown of which makeup tools confuse our guys the most.

A few extra quotes, we just had to include:
“Fake eyelashes are unnecessary. If a guy judges you for the length of your eyelashes, you need to find another guy,” Tim, Morehead State ‘12

“I saw my grandma draw eyebrows on her face once,” Colin, Ohio State University’13

“WTF is primer?” Rob, Ohio State ‘14

“Eyelash curlers must have been an ancient torture device that have been changed so that they have a practical use,” Casey, Clark University ‘12

Makeup Nightmares
We asked the guys to tell us about a horror story they’ve encountered with a girl’s makeup. Here are a few of the good ones.

“A friend of mine uses too much eye shadow sometimes and looks like a raccoon,” Tim, Morehead State ‘12

“Freshman year of high school homecoming, I asked a girl who I didn’t really know that well. The day of the dance she piled on makeup and it grossed me out,” Ian, Syracuse University ‘13

“I met a girl in high school who tried her best to look like an ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus with the eye black and stuff. Needless to say, she was very, very strange. I guess sometimes the makeup reflects the personality,” Tom, Syracuse University ‘13

“Generally more makeup equals a disaster if crying occurs – there are too many of those stories,” Tim, Morehead State ‘12

“It’s never good when I can see a girl’s foundation,” Casey, Clark University ‘12

“Very heavy foundation – so much so that it covered even the smallest wrinkle. It looked like she was plastic, nobody should have a face that looks like they have no natural wrinkles or blemishes. Who are you trying to fool we’re just mammals after all, right?” Ben, Plymouth State University ‘12

Regardless of what these guys have to say, the most important thing when wearing makeup is making sure you feel good about the way you look. If you don’t feel like you look like yourself with lots of eyeliner, then there’s absolutely no reason you have to wear it. “Different styles work for different people,” Dylan, Syracuse University ’12 said. Just because your best friend showed up with neon pink eyeliner on her top lid, doesn’t mean you have to try it out too. You want the makeup to enhance the parts of yourself that you love (maybe your eyes, or your lips), while still leaving you feeling comfortable with it on.

Heather is a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School with a degree in Magazine Journalism. Growing up in southern Vermont, she learned to appreciate the New England small-town life. During her time at SU she served as Editor-in-Chief of What the Health magazine on her college campus and was a member of the Syracuse chapter of ED2010. This summer Heather is exploring the world of digital entrepreneurship at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY where she is Co-Founder of Scrapsule.com. Aside from social media and home decor, she loves vintage jewelry, strawberry banana smoothies, running, and autumn in Vermont.