VIEW: Makeup does not have a gender

Lisa Mitrov has been a makeup artist for a decade and is frustrated with seeing the same challenges over and over again – limited options for people of colour, stereotyped products based on gender, and stigmas influencing who should and shouldn’t use makeup. In 2020, Lisa believes makeup should be gender neutral, and it’s time the industry caught up with where society wants it to be.

  • As a makeup artist, how difficult or easy is it to keep a makeup kit suitable for models/clients of all skin colours and types?

When it comes to skin types, the market is flooding with an endless supply of beauty products to address any of your skin concerns. From dry to oily, sensitive or acne-prone it’s safe to say there is an extensive range of products available for you.

Now, I wish I could say the same about skin shades but the reality is there is still a HUGE lack of diversity and representation for People Of Colour.

Not too long ago, I walked into my local makeup store looking to top up my makeup kit with some face powders suitable for my clients and models of colour. As I searched the store, examining each product from high end brand to brand, I had no issues finding countless shades of white and more white but could not seem to find the shade I was after. I decided to ask the floor staff to point out where I could find a powder deeper in shade. As she paused for a moment, I could see the colour draining from her face. She franticly started searching the store and stated that some shades may be “hiding away in storage”. After some time waiting for her, she pulled out a bronzer and said “this might work”.

Since that very moment, I haven’t stepped foot back in that place . I refuse to support a company that claims to be “inclusive” but in fact, still demonstrates discrimination. Makeup should equally be as accessible in store, regardless of your skin colour!

  • What are the stigmas around makeup that you’d like to see change? Why?

Makeup should not exclude ANYONE. This includes the domination of gender in the beauty industry. As a working professional, I have done makeup not only on women’s faces but on men’s as well. Every TV show you watch, or online store you shop at, you are looking at a male with makeup on.

I would love to see a demand in change for the way cosmetics are packaged/ labelled and promoted so that it’s gender neutral. Studies show that men are becoming increasingly interested in shaping their appearances whether it’s concealing blemishes or evening out skin tone. I want to break down that stigma that men can’t wear makeup.

Makeup does NOT have a gender.

  • What are you doing in your day-to-day work to change the stigmas around makeup?

I love to educate my clients/models about their skin and what specific products are best suited for them. It’s also very important for me to constantly research the ever-growing industry so I can discover and support the brands out there that are already trying to step up and REDEFINE the beauty game.

  • What can others do to drive change around gender and/or racial stereotypes related to makeup?

Start by educating yourself and do a little research online, broaden your search on your socials and ask yourself, do I follow a diverse range of accounts? This includes race, religion, age, gender and the LGBTQIA+ community. What you follow is what you SEE.

Once you start broadening your content you will start to notice a change which may encourage you to use your voice to break down these stereotypes we see not only in makeup. Once you make a start, you may find yourself a strong community of other individuals going through the same experiences and this is where we can come together and create CHANGE.

  • In a perfect world, how would you like to see the makeup industry evolve? What does it look like?

Online, I have definitely seen some great brands use their voice to step up and push for change but I would love to see this translate IN STORE.

Anyone from any background, should be able to walk into a makeup store and feel confident that whatever they are looking for they will get the same service, respect, products and advice as EVERYONE else. No more discrimination, no more lack of shade range, and no more gender boundaries.

About the expert

Lisa Mitrov is a proud queer woman who is gender fluid working in Hair and Makeup for 10 years now. She has worked for the TV Week Logies, on Film Sets, for Weddings, and on Photoshoots for brands such as Cotton On, Edge, St Goliath, Supre, and Factorie.