MMUK

Almost five years on from launching MMUK MAN, we sat down with Co-founder Alex Dalley, as he answered an in depth Q & A session, based on questions asked by some of our regular clients. From the roots of MMUK MAN’s launch, to the social stigmas still surrounding makeup for men and Alex’s continuing mission to break them down further, we’ll get a real insight into what makes the man tick and how his journey into the world of male grooming has only really just begun. So, here’s what he said.


You're business is doing well. Why do you think that is?

A lot of guys are getting hooked on reality TV shows and are seeing how good guys are looking on there and thinking to themselves, why can't I look that good? More and more gentlemen are realizing that they can. There is definitely a breakdown of social stigmas towards men looking after themselves so well. whilst 5 years ago makeup would have been seen as a 'gay' thing. now, it's just every day men looking for a little enhancement, because they know they have to keep up with the competition. Finally, In the world of Selfies and social media, more and more gentlemen are looking for new ways to look good and stand out!


That makes a lot of sense, my boyfriend occasionally uses a little bit of my tinted moisturizer, especially if we’re going out for dinner or drinks. Do you think the taboo against men wearing makeup is diminishing? Why?

Absolutely! Men are constantly looking for new ways to look good and men's cosmetics is simply a natural progression, in the process breaking down the old style 'taboo'. Again, in a world where men are following their ideal counterparts on social media, they're being influenced in such a way that social barriers don't outweigh the value of uploading that perfect post or photo.


How do your products differ from typical women-focused makeup products? Is it mostly marketing and packaging, or are the products formulated differently to account for the needs of male makeup wearers?

We began with a general range that could be worn by men and women. However, as time went on we developed formulas that provided a matte finish look to perfectly fit men's oilier skin tendencies. Also, we listened to a lot of guys who were suffering with skin problems, such as Rosacea and acne and built a fantastic mineral line to both cover and look after the skin. After months of testing, we picked the best products that would remain discreet when worn all day long.


What inspired you to start wearing makeup? Were you ashamed or secretive at first, and if so how did you come to be open about wearing it?

I had terrible acne as a teenager and one time my mum put her foundation on my face before a school prom. The results were unbelievable and I began wearing makeup from that night of my life at 17. Then, when my acne improved, I simply tailored my products to get an even and fresh look when I needed one. After a while, I began thinking of the millions of guys who were also struggling with imperfections and began building the line in 2011. I weren't ashamed at all when wearing makeup. I felt ashamed because of my acne and my self-esteem was that low, I would most of the time not leave my house. I came so open to wearing it when I learned the techniques to make it look natural and knew that I could wear it discreetly.


Do you have any sense of the demographics of your shoppers?

25% of shoppers are Men who are gay, who more than know their way around a makeup bag. 30% are young Men who wish to cover up skin problems such as spots, acne and redness. About 20% of our client base consist of men over 40, who concentrate on skin evening products and concealers to cover spider veins, crow’s feet and dark circles. The final 25% or so are men are looking for a tinted holiday look all year round.


How many men do you know who wear makeup? How do your male friends (especially straight ones) react when they learn you wear makeup? Do you ever get made fun of?

I would say 5-10 guys who I regularly see wear makeup! I was getting ready for a stag party with the guys a couple of weeks ago with 15 burly men. At least 6 of them knew about my products and came into my room to borrow some concealer before our night out. That's a third, with some of them being on paper, the most masculine guys...rugby players etc. This is how the plate tectonics of male grooming are changing. Even the most masculine men, on paper, are turning to the likes of concealer, foundation and even mascara for men. Instead of being made fun of, my friends just want to get on board and make their skin look perfect in a couple of minutes. The making fun concept I believe society as a whole, is way past!


How elaborate is your makeup routine? Like do you contour?

My routine personally consists of primer, foundation, concealer and a dusting of bronzer, or anti shine powder. before a little beard filler and clear mascara. It takes about 5-7 minutes and my skin looks perfect. Contouring is a no. I, like most guys want a natural no-makeup look, rather than trying to create face shadows and defined cheek bones.


You said "Twenty or 30% of our customers still want their names removed from parcels and their products put in plain packaging." Why do you think that is?

I think there's a stigma still there. But compared to 5 years ago, where most men wouldn't even buy makeup, we've come on leaps and bounds. The stigma is demising and if I’m honest, in another five years’ time, hardly any of our clients will want their names removed from their parcels.


Are you working at all to decrease this stigma or to encourage your shoppers not to be ashamed?

We're not setting a specific campaign up to tackle the stigma, simply because society is naturally breaking these stigmas down for them. I'd prefer this to be an organic process rather than telling guys 'don't be ashamed, it's okay'. I don't want to treat potential customers like puppy's. they're full grown men who are naturally realizing how to look good.


What does the future hold for MMUK? Any new products or developments on the way?

We're currently working on our new skin care line that will break daily cleansing, shaving and moisturizing down into three easy steps. We're also in talks with some big players in the USA and looking at signing a distribution deal over their too. We are also working with various male grooming salon chains to have the range stocked in there, as well as a couple of celebrity endorsement deals we are working on.