May 23rd, 2022
Benny Hancock is a global industry pro MUA who has spent over a decade painting the faces of celebrities, supermodels and VIPs. Benny is a leading authority on high performance make-up and having spent years working closely with men’s skin, he appreciates how men’s skin differs to women’s and the look men want to achieve. His work has been praised by fashion and grooming insiders and featured in some of the world’s leading style publications.
Founded on the belief that make-up for men should enhance rather than conceal, Benny has developed high-tech, wearable formulations using superior ingredients to achieve the most natural finish. The result? Lightweight yet hard-wearing products with invisible yet enhancing coverage that take men’s grooming to the next level.
We were lucky enough to find a gap in his ever busy diary for a quick chat.
What’s your background and what brought you into makeup?
I am actually a professional celebrity makeup artist having worked in LA & NY for over a decade. I was also head key artist on many runway shows with my team each season in the major fashion capitals. So from my years of experience and extensive knowledge of formulations I created a brand that’s been a huge white space for men.
What’s your earliest make up memory?
Using my mum’s concealer every day before I went to school! It probably wasn’t even the right colour for me at the time haha!
What’s the first product you remember using as a teenager – has this affected your later product choices? What’s the product you can’t live without?
Bronzer! I swore by bronzer because I always wanted to look tanned (and still do) But I created a pressed-cream one that’s more natural than those traditional powder ones from before.
How did you end up creating your own brand – what was the impetus behind it?
I created it because I felt the industry wasn’t inclusive of men at all. There is hundreds of women’s brands – but none for men and it’s not right. Male models would constantly ask me; “when is someone going to design a brand for us? We are sick of wearing women’s products!”
Men’s skin is so different to women’s and the overall finished look men want is for more natural and almost invisible – compared to women. I created products that I would want to wear and that I believe men are actively seeking out. I created a brand that works perfectly for men and the brand identity is very masculine.
What advice would you give someone starting their own range? Would you do anything differently if you could?
Go for an idea that is a huge white space, but with big potential. Try not to join into a over saturated market already. But once you have your vision, stick to it and execute it with the best intentions of quality. The biggest advice is don’t run, walk and it will all fall into place perfectly.
Who are your icons of male make up? Who blazed (or is blazing) the trail?
I am my own Icon haha. I am the world’s first male PRO makeup artist to launch a men’s makeup brand that’s bespoke designed formulas utilising my extensive knowledge as an artist. I am the one blazing this industry and I am just getting started.
Makeup for men is nothing new, it’s been worn by them since ancient times. Why do you think makeup is now seen as a primarily female preserve?
I think over the years women have experimented more with makeup complimenting their outfits, gowns, shoes, jewellery and bags so over time colour has been a huge emphasis and still is. Men’s clothing has been governed by traditional suits and tuxedos which aren’t too colourful and very subtle so colour was never an emphasis really. I think colour in makeup has made it appear more feminine and steered men away from even enhancing their appearance naturally with makeup, until now.
To be honest its ever evolving and now men are coming back around and it’s going to go full circle – But I don’t see in the distant future too much colour for the men but more on a fresher look and enhancing their natural appearance!
David Horne’s book The Art of Male Makeup was ground breaking when it published in 2014 as it showcased male make up as something in its own right, rather than just a female impersonation. How much do you think has changed in the intervening period? Do you think it’s now more acceptable socially for men to wear makeup?
I think it’s becoming more socially acceptable and with brands like mine breaking the stigma of men and makeup has hugely helped. I made sure everything is masculine and discreetly designed along with different names from traditional cosmetic names, for example instead of concealer we called ours “Corrective Pen” to correct dark circles and blemishes. Or Foundation, ours “Moisturising Face Perfecter” SPF, Anti-pollution, moisturiser and foundation all-in-one, currently in 5 skin shades. It’s all about creating a place men feel comfortable stepping into a female led arena so their masculinity isn’t threatened.
What challenges has the brand faced during lockdown – what positives have you drawn from the experience?
To be honest we launched the brand as covid begun in January 2020 and fortunately our D2C business has done amazingly with the working from home culture. Men wanting to look good on zoom, getting ready and looking fresh. It also opened up a lot of experimentation into this sort of sector which has now gained us loyal regular customers.
What’s next for you and the brand?
Benny Hancock SKIN – A 4 Step Anti-Aging skin care routine consisting of Foaming Face Wash, Youth Serum (Hyaluronic Acid, Matrixyl 3000) Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream (Beautifeye) and Anti-Aging Face Cream (Collageneer).
I am so excited for this to launch very soon to compliment my FOR MEN cosmetics range. We are The Finishing Touch to men’s grooming!
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