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Makeup has been around for a very long time; not just to hide imperfections, but for ritual and religious purposes as well. Depending on the time and place, wearing it was also not an especially gendered practice: In Ancient Egypt, both high-class men and women would wear eyeliner and nail polish to protect themselves against curses, as well as more mundane things like biting insects and the glare of the Sun. In the court of Versailles, everyone wore thick layers of make-up and doused themselves in perfume (partly as a status symbol, but mostly to hide the smell of rarely-washed bodies).

Nowadays, makeup is largely considered a strictly feminine accoutrement, and men typically wear it only for cultural reasons, as a subversive fashion statement, or if they're appearing on stage (and the last two can often overlap).

In fiction, makeup on men can indicate a religious figure or project a general air of mystery. In cases of Makeup Is Evil, it is worn by insane psychopathic clowns, people with a screw loose, or - in tamer cases - the more emo-tastic brand of Bad Boys. It also acts as a fetish; just ask any fan of Captain Jack Sparrow. In recent decades, it notably gained a reputation as part of the look in Emo and Goth subcultures, among others.

Leaves one prone to Your Makeup Is Running.

See also Excessive Evil Eyeshadow and Real Men Wear Pink. Compare and contrast Crossdresser, Camp Gay, and Paper-Thin Disguise.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Griffith displays something that looks like this in the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc movie upon turning into Femto and performing his most monstrous act yet.
  • Daimos: Richter has very thick lashes combined with dark eyeliner, adding to his Pretty Boy appeal.
  • L from Death Note looks like he has this, but doesn't. They're actually dark circles from lack of sleep.
    • Played straight with his "Evil Twin" Beyond Birthday from the companion novel Another Note, however. Beyond is trying to imitate L, and to look more like him, wears copious amounts of theatre makeup, including eyeliner and eyeshadow.
  • After Akira merges with Amon and becomes the eponymous Devilman, he gets dark markings under his eyes, giving him a more sinister appearance.
  • Bookman in D.Gray-Man has two massive black face paint circles around his eyes, leading his protégé and future successor Lavi to call him a panda (which he hates).
  • Food Wars!: Ryou Kurokiba is rarely seen with his eyes unpainted.
  • In Inuyasha, many males, especially the villains, have extremely long hair and/or lipstick.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • DIO seems to wear thick eyeliner, which is very visible in Phantom Blood. Come the final battle of Stardust Crusaders, he's wearing lipstick too.
    • Rohan Kishibe is the only male character in Jojo who is clearly wearing eye shadow. And like other characters, his lashes are very thick so it is possible that he is also wearing mascara/eyeliner.
    • Leone Abbacchio wears dark lipstick (black in the manga, purple in the anime).
  • Yukari in K rather enjoys makeup and beauty products. In one audio drama, he tries to do makeup for the other Jungle members (also all male). Hilarity Ensues with some of them, but some of them end up looking good.
  • Kamisama Kiss gives us two. Kurama may be wearing it since he performs onstage as an idol, but Tomoe? Perhaps guyliner is just standard issue to all bishounen demons...
  • Judar of Magi: Labyrinth of Magic wears thick kohl, probably as an indication that he's up to no good. Then again, the series is based on the Arabian Nights.
  • Naruto: A notable subversion is Gaara. It looks as though he has copious amounts of eye makeup (probably in keeping with his Goth style), but it is actually a mark showing he's a Jinchuuriki, like Naruto's "whiskers". Which would make more sense, considering Gaara still has the rings, despite having the Shukaku removed.
  • Cedre from Toriko wears eyeshadow and seemingly a lot of eyeliner, especially under his eyes.
  • Voltes V: It's never stated if Heinel uses eyeliner (though it is plausible since wearing eyeliner was something 17th-century French aristocrats did) or just naturally has very thick lashes, but he has these along his Tsurime Eyes.
  • Malik from Yu-Gi-Oh! eyeliner which extends into little angular pointy bits under his eyes. In his case, it's some kind of Egyptian thing. Duke/Otogi has similarly elaborate eyeliner, with a line halfway down his cheek on one side, which may have something to do with the fact his dad is a clown and he runs a clown-themed game shop.
  • All of the skaters in Yuri!!! on Ice probably have stage makeup when they perform, but special mention goes to Georgi Popovich and his... rather intense "evil sorcerer" look. Though, he's one of the rare characters in this show that is not intended to be hot.

    Comic Books 
  • Pariah in Crisis on Infinite Earths looks like he has used too much guyliner on his eyes, which in his origin story appears after he accidentally destroyed his parallel universe.
  • Wonder Woman (2011): Dionysus, or Dio, wears eyeliner in the New 52.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Avantasia Protag AU series, the character Scarecrow wears heavy black makeup around his eyes and in drippy lines under one of them. The character has no canon physical design so this choice was made to copy the singer's look from one of the music videos. In the AU, he wears it to hide his permanent exhaustion and because he's a bit emo. The amount he must use every day is lampshaded when other characters give him bottles of eyeliner for Christmas.
  • Both Rantaro and Haruto in Danganronpa 52: Despair From the Heart are explicitly stated to wear makeup.
  • Lexi in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail is a book who can form into a humanoid form using his pages. His human form, based off a fictional character Chloe created — out of universe, he's an Expy of Specter — who has black ink around the eyes to invoke the trope. The narration states that Chloe likes it when guys wear eyeliner.
  • Draco Malfoy in My Immortal. (AN: A lot fo kewl boiz wer it ok!)
  • Hatsuzakura in Tales of the Undiscovered Swords crossing over with Uncanny Valley Makeup as his makeup style is shironuri, a very heavy style in which the face is painted starkly white.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Aladdin, Jafar seems to be wearing eyeliner.
  • Megamind makes a specific point to show guyliner being applied when donning the Black Mamba.
  • In Turning Red, Tae Young wears guyliner as the most feminine member of the Boy Band 4*Town.

    Film — Live-Action 

In General:

  • Pretty much every Silent Movie star ever. This was partially because of the demands of the format, but also because the shadowy-eyed gent was the male ideal at the time. In the '20s, plenty of young men would don guyliner in order to look like Rudolph Valentino or Conrad Veidt.
  • Unintentional: Stage actor Laurence Olivier insisted on wearing the kind of heavy makeup that emphasizes the actor's features so they can be seen from the back of the theater, even when he was in a movie — this looks odd in a close-up.

By Movie:

  • The world of A Brother's Price features inversions of almost every gender role and has Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy as the default, but that's almost. Even at court, Jerin is not put in makeup other than penciled chalk under his nails. When makeup does come up in the story, it's worn by women - specifically whores, women who sometimes dress as men to attract other women. They wear lip paint to draw attention to their mouths and suggest that they know how to use them. Jerin ends up disguised as a whore, and his companion has to apply the makeup herself.
  • In Eleanor & Park, Park decides to wear eyeliner to school. His father is not very happy about it, though.
  • In The Evolution of Emily, August's emo friend Tristan Chamberlain wears dark eyeliner.
  • The Hunger Games: Cinna, Katniss' personal stylist, always wears gold eyeliner.
  • The mooks in The Jennifer Morgue are forced to wear eyeliner by their boss, as it's a necessary component for his magical surveillance system. They are less than enthused, hiding it with Sunglasses at Night because, as one mook puts it, "Cosmetics don't go with G.I. Joe."
  • In Thalia's Musings, Thalia magically puts gold eyeliner on Apollo as a prank. He decides he likes it and leaves it on.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:


  • The Addams Family. Gomez rocks it, though it isn't commented on in-series.
  • The Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts) in Alice.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Gothowitz Deviation", a gothed-out Howard sports some guyliner.
  • David Tennant gamely put some on for a Catherine Tate Show Christmas special as a Camp Gay Ghost of Christmas Present. And the fangirls rejoiced.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley's versions of the Master usually had a bit of eyeliner, which shows up better when he gets a close-up. The fandom is delighted by this.
    • Time Lords in "The Deadly Assassin" wear lots of iridescent white-purple highlighter under their eyebrows and across the tops of their cheekbones, along with ceremonial silver lipstick — particularly Goth and Borusa. It's implied to just be a normal part of Time Lord formal dress, although numerous characters are seen in formal robes without it (including the Doctor).
    • In the setting of "The Robots of Death", men and women alike wear elaborate flicked-out eyeliner, along with a line that goes along the eyebrows and around the top of the nose — markings similar to those on the faces of the robots. Even the grizzled elderly Commander Uvanov wears it.
    • A cutaway shot in "The Doctor Falls" shows us the Simm incarnation of the Master touching up his goth-boy eyeliner (in a shot mirrored to a similar one of the Gomez Master touching up her lipgloss).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo wears makeup to darken the area around his eyes, similar to kohl. It's apparently acceptable for men in his culture, though no other Dothraki are seen wearing it. At any rate, questioning the masculinity of the undefeated leader of a Barbarian Tribe would probably be unwise.
    • Gendry appears to be wearing it in the second series.
    • The Yunkai'i envoy Razdahl mo Eraz has this, which is common in arid regions for coping with the bright sun.
  • Generation Kill: Seriously, Captain Patterson either has the most luxurious eyelashes ever seen on a man, or he's wearing eyeliner. It's probably not eyeliner. But WOW.
  • The Hexer: Elves wear excessive amount of eyeliner, regardless of gender and their age. This also works as a quick tell to spot one in the crowd when they have their ears covered, given typical elf is malnourished and wearing ragged clothes, no different than a beggar.
  • In High&Low, Murayama sports guyliner. Kizzy goes full out with nails and lipgloss. Hirai also paints his nails black.
  • The comedy series Hyperdrive features a (male) character who likes to wear "mank-up", which includes such products as "guyshadow" and "guyliner".
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "The Thing Lay Still": Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac both sport eye makeup at the Mardi Gras ball to add authenticity to their 18th-century French period costumes and powdered wigs.
    • The male actors and musicians at the Théâtre des Vampires wear eyeliner while performing on stage.
    • Similarly, in various Season 2 promotional materials, Lestat's eyes are rimmed with eyeliner while acting in a play at a French theatre during the late 18th century.
    • In a Santiago-centric TV spot, he has blue eye makeup during Louis and Claudia's trial.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Mac rocks this look (complete with cat-eye lenses) for his role in Charlie's deranged play, The Nightman Cometh.
  • The Journey of Flower: Qian Mo wears a lot of make-up, including eyeliner.
  • Kamen Rider OOO: Ankh, in his "possessing Hina's brother" form. He looks so Bishonen that his deep voice is really weird...
  • Eliot of Leverage uses this (and a rather fruity scarf) to blend in at a fashion show. Hardison, predictably, gives him a hard time about it.
  • Nestor Carbonell's character, Richard Alpert, on Lost was given the name "Guyliner" before it was officially mentioned. This is actually a subversion, as Nestor Carbonell just naturally looks like he's wearing makeup at all times- Word of God states that no makeup was actually applied. This did not stop Sawyer from giving him an eyeliner-related nickname.
    • According to a special feature on the Season 5 DVD, they actually apply concealer to make his eyelashes lighter.
  • Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time has a legendary Guyliner. Regina even lampshades it by calling him Captain Guyliner, in one of many instances of the show's mimicry of fan speak.
  • Robin Hood: The Guy of Gisborne's got guyliner in the BBC series.
  • Sinbad presumably uses this for eye protection.
  • The Soup: Joel McHale would wear eyeliner whenever he was parodying Bruno from the novela La Madrastra.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Teal'c, in the first several seasons. This vanished around the same time as he let his hair grow out.
    • The Goa'uld in general, most notably Apophis (before his first death) and other Goa'uld in male hosts masquerading as gods of Ancient Egypt. Zipacna also wore some heavy eyeliner.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "The Enemy Within", the evil Kirk is given eyeliner to make him look more EVIL!!! Later, he applies makeup to his face to hide scratches on his face that distinguish him from the good Kirk.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Bjayzl's male bartender has black eye make-up, and it's the least flashy display among her casino's staff and customers, where looking tacky is the norm.
  • The Criss Angel Expy in the Supernatural episode "Criss Angel Is a Douchebag". This is commented on by the aging magicians, all wearing suits.
  • On That '70s Show, Jackie puts makeup on Kelso to give him the "androgynous David Bowie look".
    "Kelso. Your mascara's running."
  • UFO (1970): Commander Straker and Colonel Foster both wear black eyeliner and blue eye shadow. In "Destruction" you can even see a bit of a '60s "cat eye" look on Foster.

  • Just about every '80s hair metal/rock band. Seriously, pick one.
  • While Tobias Sammet always wears fairly ordinary makeup on stage, in the Avantasia music video "Dying For An Angel" he appears with extremely heavy black eyeliner with drippy lines under one eye to resemble tears.
  • Music/BTS has done this a lot in their early days to make an emo-like rebellious Bad Boy image. They diteched the look around 2015 with the The Most Beautiful Moment In Life series to indicate a shift in tone, and [Genre Shift genre]] to some extent.
  • Robert Smith, frontman of The Cure, sports prominent black eyeliner as part of his Looks Like Cesare getup.
  • David Bowie may be the only man who could rock the guyliner both in his 20s and his 50s.
  • Dorian Electra has a semi-satirizing, semi-loving song about this called "Guyliner", celebrating the increasing prevalence for men to make themselves up. Dorian (who is genderfluid and often toys around with ideals of masculinity) is also clearly invoking themselves, they in general define their look with stylized and flamboyant makeup.
  • Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.
  • Musical comedian Tim Minchin wears eyeliner to emphasize his face because when he plays the piano he can't gesture with his hands and can show emotion only with his face.
  • System of a Down's guitarist, songwriter, and occasional vocalist Daron Malakian regularly wears eyeliner when performing on stage and when posing for photos.
  • Often featured on the members of emo bands such as My Chemical Romance, AFI, The Used, and Fall Out Boy (and their followers)... at least until they lost interest, which hasn't really stopped non-fans and fans alike from still strongly associating guyliner with them long after they've stopped using it heavily.
  • Gary Numan. In an interview, he mentioned an incident prior to a performance early in his career, where the makeup artist had applied so much foundation to cover up his problem skin that his eyes looked like the proverbial "pissholes in the snow". To rectify this, they added plenty of black eyeliner, and his trademark look was born.
  • Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has had a similar aesthetic since the video for "Longview" off of Dookie and in subsequent works.
  • Ville Valo of HIM as featured in the trope picture.
  • Dave Gahan and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode.
  • Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench. One of the best examples is the music video for the song "Good To You."
  • Jerry Only from The Misfits. In fact, many Horror Punk musicians wear it, except when combined with full-on face paint.
  • Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish, leading to jokes that the real reason Tarja left was him stealing her makeup.
  • Dero Goi, lead singer, drummer, and a keyboarder of the German goth metal group Oomph! often wears this. And he wears it very well.
  • Brian Molko of Placebo adopted this in the band's early days, in a deliberate ploy to make homophobic music fans fancy the lead singer, only to be thoroughly confused when they found that she was a guy called Brian.
  • After R.E.M. became international superstars in The '90s, frontman Michael Stipe started incorporating mild amounts of makeup into his stage performances, some of which included prominent eyeliner.
  • Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd was rockin' that look way back in The Sixties!
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars, back in the days of their second album, A Beautiful Lie. Despite frontman Jared Leto being more commonly associated with it, the drummer (and his brother) Shannon actually wore it the most out of everyone.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Christopher Daniels wears guyliner for religious reasons. (Daniels used to think he was God.)
  • Jimmy Jacobs, post-Lacey's Angels, and especially after Lacey was injured and he became really emo.
  • The Undertaker would wear eyeliner on a regular basis up to his retirement in November 2020.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Due to taking place in ancient Egypt, several characters in Assassin's Creed Origins wear eyeliner, including protagonist Bayek.
  • In Evil Genius, Shen Yu (one of the choices for the titular Player Character) wears blue eyeliner to complement his Fashion-Victim Villain wardrobe.
  • Kerith in Dance Central wears both eyeliner and eyeshadow to match his sister in all of their outfits.
  • In Deltarune, Ralsei is revealed to seemingly wear mascara & pink eyeliner when he has his Eye Glasses stolen by Susie, making him look even more Bishōnen then he does otherwise. Though in his case, it might not even be makeup but instead just the way he naturally looks.
  • Cyberpunk 2077:
    • You can put eye makeup on your male V during character customization, if you so desire.
    • Kerry Eurodyne wears blue eye shadow, to go with his somewhat campy rockerboy persona.
    • Takemura seems to have subtle eyeliner, if you look closely.
  • Pagan Min of Far Cry 4 wears eyeliner, being a very flamboyant tinpot dictator.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II's Firion appears to wear it quite thickly, given his middle-eastern style look. Particularly prevalent in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
    • Cecil of Final Fantasy IV seems to be wearing black lipstick. That said, a lot of Amano's male designs wear make-up.
    • Vossler in Final Fantasy XII seems to be wearing pretty heavy kohl. Of course, this makes sense since the man lives in a desert and dark around the eyes is a good way to prevent glare.
    • Final Fantasy XIV allows you to give your character makeup during character creation, male or female. The flamboyant aesthetician Jandelaine (whose services allow you to change your character's hair and makeup) wears orange eyeshadow and pink lipstick.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses features Yuri Leclerc, a fair-faced man who wears pink eyeshadow and lipstick to enhance his already eyecatching looks.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, eye makeup seems common on high class members of the Carja tribe regardless of gender. Prominent male wearers include Sun-King Avad, who wears particularly elaborate eyeliner, and the creepy-but-allied Blood Knight Nil.
  • Demon Lord Ghirahim of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has eyeliner, thick purple eyeshadow, and white lipstick.
  • In Lollipop Chainsaw, Juliet actually calls the Punk Rock Zombie, Zed, this. "That makes Guyliner here like the most uncoolest guy ever!"
  • Erron Black from Mortal Kombat X wears black paint around his eyes. The reasoning for this is unknown, but it's presumably to cut down on the sun's glare (which would make sense as he is a gunslinger for hire).
  • In Onmyōji (2016), Seimei seems to wear red eyeliner. There are some other male characters who seemingly wear eyeliner too, but being Youkai, they could have been born with it, unlike Seimei who is human.
  • In Punch-Out!! on the Wii, Don Flamenco wears black eyeliner in Title Defense to go with his dark clothing.
  • In the Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha novel, the narration mentions that Raidou looks as if he's wearing eyeliner and lipstick, though it doesn't say that he actually is.
  • The improved graphics in later games have revealed that Diabolical Mastermind Matsunaga Hisahide from Sengoku Basara wears ominous (yet extremely stylish) cat-eye liner.
  • The Sims games starting with 2 allow you to put makeup on male Sims if you wish.
  • Wolf O'Donnell in the Star Fox series.

  • Live with Yourself!: As mentioned in a Q&A, Tomo wears eyeliner. Along with his Perma-Stubble, Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes, angular hair, and blue clothing, it serves to differentiate him from the identical Todd. In the aforementioned Q&A, Todd half-jokingly asks if the first thing Tomo does when he wakes up as a time-displaced clone of himself is grab the eyeliner.

    Web Original 
  • In the episode "A New Age of Aluminium" from The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Warren Danton and Mr. Rochester both wear eyeliner because the party (Thornfield Exports Visual Art Festival, a rebranding event) has circus for its theme. Mr. Rochester is dressed up as a clown. Warren points out that ladies find Guyliners very attractive, though he might have been saying it sarcastically. Here is a link.
  • The Cine-Masochist wears it on three occasions. Once as "Todd Haynes' in Infamous Sphere's review of glam movie Velvet Goldmine, once for the whole duration of his review of Keoma, and finally as his performance as "Random Naked Serbian Indian".
  • Doug Walker wore a lot of eyeliner to do his Melvin, Brother of the Joker skit. Right before he filmed the "Top 11 Dumbest Superman Movie moments" episode of The Nostalgia Critic and he didn't take it completely out.
  • Prince Jazan from Neopets wears guyliner since he's from a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Egypt. Amusingly, one of the prizes given out for The Faeries' Ruin Plot is Jazan's Guyliner, a marking-type wearable for your Neopet.
  • Devil Boner from The Nostalgia Critic has giant rings of eyeliner around his eyes. It's both meant to be appealing and make him look vaguely like a raccoon.
  • In Noob, Judge Dead's real lifestyle could be used for the Emo Teen page, guyliner is both mentioned in his novel description and seen in his web series appearances. The latter also includes it on his old gaming avatar and his current In the Hood one.
  • Darkiplier, the so-called dark side of the youtuber Markiplier always appears with thick black eyeliner. Due to his nature as a demonic being, and the fact that when we see him after first being created in Who Killed Markiplier? he already has it on, this might be some sort of natural marking in-universe.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Roman's visible eye is traced with black eyeliner that contributes to his Pretty Boy looks, which contributes to his Alex Delarge appearance.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In ancient Egypt, eyeliner was considered androgynous and both men and women wore it to make their eyes look bigger. Even the gods wore the stuff. And because it was made out of a substance that repelled flies. And because the stuff reduced the glare from the sun. A group of pyramid workers even organized a strike to get more make-up as eye protection.
  • Male actors in theatre do this all the time.
  • Adam Lambert was known during American Idol just as much for his guyliner as his singing.
  • Nestor Carbonell is often believed to be wearing eyeliner, but his eyelashes are just that dark.
  • An Islamic convention called "Sunnah" features men applying paint around the eyes (known as "kohl"). Since sunnah means "things the Prophet did habitually", it's probable that this originates with its use as eye protection, and it makes sense in much if not most of the Muslim world. This is why so many Arabic characters in movies appear to be wearing eye makeup. Also has the added effect of making Muslim villains look more sinister.
  • Xenophon in his Cyropaedia ("The Education of Cyrus") described Median men like King Astyages as wearing eye shadow and other cosmetics, to contrast with the poorer, plainer folk of Persia where Astyages' grandson Cyrus had grown up.
  • Ibrahim ibn Yaqub describes both the men and women of Hedeby in the 10th century wearing this.
  • Johnny Depp is noted for wearing eyeliner as part of his Signature Style. Consensus is that it works for him, if only because he's so weird.
  • For a short while, Ma'a Nonu of the All Blacks rugby team wore mascara.
  • Football players wear that black stuff under their eyes ("eye black") for the sun.
  • Chaplin's eyebrows, Groucho's mustache, and Bobby Clark's eyeglasses were all made of greasepaint.
  • A lot of men appear to be wearing eyeliner, but that's simply because of the fact that men on average have thicker and darker body hair than women, and eyelashes are no exception.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Manscara


Tickle Me Emo

"Tickle Me Emo is the tortured, angst-ridden teen cousin of Elmo, and boy, is he sad!"

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (6 votes)

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