How Tribe Cosmetics Is Erasing The Stigma Surrounding Men's Makeup

by Afrodet Zuri · January 6, 2021

    In terms of inclusivity, the cosmetics industry has come a long way in the past few years. And while it took them long enough to add more shades for more skin tones, embrace beauty at all ages, and even banish the negativity surrounding acne, there still remains a lot of catching up when it comes to, well, normalizing makeup for guys.

    Tribe Cosmetics is aiming to change that. Ranging from moisturizer to cover all to beard and brow enhancers, their line of male-targeted products makes it easy and accessible for men and masculine-presenting people to look and feel their best without any embarrassment. 

    We caught up with Tribe's founders Matt Rodrigues and Pergrin Pervez to talk about their launch, vision, and the ever-growing market they're helping to innovate.

    2020 was a tumultuous year, yet you guys decided to start a business. Why? 
    Matt: Ya know, we didn't want to sit around during the lockdown and feel helpless. We have always been trying to figure out what's missing in the market. Pergrin and I have been in client facing roles our whole careers, then when the face-to-face interactions transitioned to Zoom calls, it hit us! We were always so worried about what to wear, how to do our hair, etc.. but we would always forget about the most important part of our body - our face! We came up with a simple 3 step kit for men to even out skin tones, diminish wrinkles and blemishes, and even out our hairlines. Women have it and love it, so why can't men have a chance to feel more confident about their look?

    Makeup is universal, why do men need a makeup line of their own?
    Pergrin: We've heard that a lot, especially going into a place like Sephora or even CVS. I think there is a disconnect with the universal aspect of makeup and the way it is designed, marketed, and sold. Makeup ads and imagery are overwhelmingly geared towards women. Makeup is complicated and the design principles behind makeup are not aligned with how men would use makeup. We created Tribe to change the conversation and empower men to participate in what is and should be a universal experience. 

    Is there a market for men's makeup?
    Matt: Absolutely! Today, more than ever. From politics to actors to your own friend who may not admit it, every guy would love to get rid of some wrinkles, or hide their blemishes, or fill in their beard that can't quite grow in evenly/fix their receding hairline.

    Pergrin: Men's makeup is the fastest growing segment of the industry. The stigma surrounding men wearing makeup does not exist with Gen Z and as society progresses, this stigma is being eroded from the belief systems of older generations. Men also want to feel confident and for most people a lot of that is based on being happy with your own appearance.

    What differentiates Tribe from other men's makeup brands or other makeup marketed to men?
    Pergrin: Tribe is not just products. At the heart of it, Tribe is a cosmetic system that simplifies makeup and lowers the barrier of entry to participation. This is what is different from other makeup marketed to men and makeup in general. We sell one thing, a kit with three products. Each of these three products solves 3 basic problems and is applied without the use of complicated brushes and sponges. You use your fingers. This is our basic design principle and it resonates with men.

    Who are your customers?
    Matt: Most of our customers are men with client facing jobs, we have a lot of executives. Our customers are also younger men (gen z, millennials). Essentially, our customers are people who want to feel and look their best.

    Are your products cruelty free?
    Pergrin: We took special care to ensure that our products are Cruelty Free including from where the ingredients are sourced not just the end product.

    Matt: I'm happy to announce that we are Leaping Bunny Certified!

    Is Tribe vegan?
    Matt: Our goal was to be a vegan product and to also be non-GMO, organic and all natural - and we have accomplished just that! As we mentioned, we are also cruelty free. We need to start caring about the animals on this planet, so we're hoping to set a precedent in the cosmetic industry.

    Where do you see the future of the industry?
    Makeup is for everyone. Looking and feeling your best is for everyone. As we believe gender roles are starting to dissipate, it should no longer be a social stigma that men can wear makeup. The time to start having more confidence in your appearance is now!

    [Photos courtesy Tribe Cosmetics]