What Is CoverGirl's First Male Spokesmodel Selling?

James Charles went viral for his senior year picture and now he's helping build a male makeup market.


James Charles just caught the attention of the internet for the second time by becoming the first male spokesmodel for CoverGirl. The company has announced that the 17-year-old from Bethlehem, New York will appear in television, print, and digital campaigns for their new “So Lashy” mascara. In September, the aspiring makeup artist’s senior year photos went viral after he brought his own ring light to make his makeup pop on film. James also has a huge Instagram following and is a frequent poster of cosmetic masterpieces. Now he’s not just a CoverGirl; he’s a poster boy for the potentially lucrative male makeup market.

CoverGirl appears be advocating that it should be socially acceptable for men to wear makeup. This is both a nice thing to advocate for — traditional notions of masculinity have made contouring an eyelining a taboo — and in the best interest of parent company Procter & Gamble. As lines between genders blur, it seems very plausible that more men will put their faces on in the morning. By putting a male front and center, CoverGirl is getting a head start marketing to a new demographic. The company is also getting a lot of good press.

The market for men’s cosmetics may not be significant right now, but it’s definitely expanding. England’s Mirror tabloid reports that the company Men’s Makeup UK will pulling in around $915,000 in revenue this year. That’s not bad for a small internet outlet.

It makes sense that CoverGirl would like to cash in on this market, especially given that they’re already one of the most well-known makeup brands. But in order to market to men who might still feel a bit insecure or embarrassed about using makeup, the company will likely have to go beyond using men in ads and consider packaging products specifically for their new demographic. As MMUK owner Alex Dalley notes, a portion of his company’s customers have their names removed from packages or want plain packaging. However, with big makeup speaking up, the consumer transition should take long.