The shocking trend men are following for their Zoom calls

Remember when Zoom calls were going to be a time to embrace athleisure and pajamas while America works remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since the pandemic’s start nearly a year ago, workers have been feeling burnout from the amount of Zoom calls they’ve been on, but in the process they’ve been finding ways to make their Zoom setup look more professional, from reorganizing rooms to investing in gadgets for better lighting.

For men, add make-up during Zoom calls.

The New York Post reported that a growing number of male workers have been freaked out by their appearance on Zoom calls, so they resorted to the unexpected — using makeup to make themselves look better.

The secret weapon is concealer, which can come inexpensive and help cover blemishes like acne, baggy eyes, and redness on the face. The report features a few accounts of people using cosmetics to help their appearance on Zoom, including glowing endorsements from a number of men.

“I’m regretful as I used to lay out in the sun for eight hours at a time when I was in my 20s and living in Texas,” said one person. “But these concealers really work.”

“I was one of the presenters of a workshop on Zoom and, though it sounds frivolous, I felt a lot more confident and able to focus on the task in hand,” he said. “I don’t think men should have any qualms about using tools that will help them look and feel better.”

One person equated make-up use to a “well-fitting suit,” which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering retail is starting to cater to this new trend.

More men than ever are now buying makeup, resulting in the male side of the industry experiencing a leap in sales, partly due to the work-from-home trend. National drugstore giant CVS added the men’s range Stryx — its slogan is “Nothing Wrong With Handsome” — to 2,000 of its over 9,900 outlets in June 2020, nine months after a Morning Consult poll found almost a quarter of guys would consider wearing cosmetics.

Meanwhile, according to market analytics firm Moz, Google queries for “men’s makeup looks” jumped almost 80% last year from 2019, and other top requests included “covering redness,” “hiding acne” and “hiding bags under eyes.”

Beyond the new make-up trend, men have fiddled with the quarantine beard and no haircuts until vaccination, but they’ve also found it difficult to adjust to being viewed on Zoom. While women have been subjected to the “male gaze” in the office, a recent report by The Conversation found that women are less likely than men to turn off their camera during Zoom calls. The reason behind men feeling unsettled on Zoom results in them feeling uncomfortable while being constantly observed, one of the factors that’s contributed to burnout via Zoom.

“When using Zoom, many of our male colleagues report feeling uncomfortable with being continuously observed. Given this, it is conceivable that some men employ custom backgrounds as protective camouflage to reduce their vulnerability in a glaringly objectified space,” the report said.

We’ll see if this make-up trend continues in the physical office.