This week’s Monday Motivation is Danny Gray, the founder of pioneering men’s makeup brand, War Paint For Men. We chatted to him about how confidence can impact your life, why there is such a stigma surrounding men wearing makeup and what’s next on the agenda for War Paint:

What inspired you to set up War Paint For Men? 

My experience at school made a huge impact on me which ultimately lead me to create War Paint. I was bullied from the age of 10 due to my appearance and the impact stayed with me. The way I looked was constantly at the front of my mind and never left me.  

I was diagnosed with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) and this has impacted every single part of my life. Confidence is something in life that everyone needs to do and feel their best, and makeup gave me my confidence back. This is what I wanted when I started War Paint. I wanted to create a safe place where men could feel welcome to come and find out about makeup and ask questions they may not be comfortable with asking elsewhere.

What do you think is the reason behind the stigma surrounding men wearing makeup? 

Danny Gray, Founder of War Paint For Men

I think there is a stigma around men wearing makeup because there are no male-specific brands. Makeup is seen as a feminine product because the only branding and marketing is for a female audience.

I started using makeup at about 14 when, like most adolescent boys, I started getting spots. I would use my sister’s concealer to cover up any blemishes and redness, and the confidence it gave me was honestly life-changing and I felt comfortable leaving the house. 

What can we all do as a society to eliminate this? 

I think there are unwritten rules around men wearing makeup which a lot of people think they have to follow. Feeling confident isn’t gender exclusive and so makeup shouldn’t be either. 

Makeup is a tool that enhances your confidence whether its everyday, on a date or before an interview. Everyone wants to feel happy within their skin and if War Paint products help men feel more confident then I can’t see why there’s a problem.

How, in your opinion, do you think makeup helps body confidence in men? 

Makeup gave me the confidence to be myself. No one likes having spots, blemishes or imperfections but it was a huge insecurity for me, and to find out that makeup could take that away was amazing. This is the power of makeup and all I want is for men to have this option.

What motivates you? 

The aim of War Paint is to help men feel confident in their skin. So when I receive emails from people sharing their stories with me and thanking me for the brand’s positive impact it just feels amazing. 

When I was 20, men’s grooming started to take off and I felt that men’s makeup should be an option in mainstream retail and for the everyday man, but it was too soon. Now, I think the market is ready for War Paint.

Who inspires you?

Danny Gray, Founder of War Paint For Men

My boys inspire me every day. I will always want to be the best version of myself for them and create something that they’ll be proud of in years to come.

Where do you see War Paint For Men in five years?

In five years time, I see War Paint being a household name on every continent and the world’s leading brand when anyone thinks of makeup for men.

Do you have any words of wisdom for men wanting to start their own body confidence/makeup business for men? 

Nothing comes easy in life and there were many times I wanted to give up. If you believe in yourself and your idea then don’t give up.