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Interview | Zak Heath

April 29, 2024 9 min read

"Times have definitely changed — more men want to look after their skin":Meet the Content Creator leading the charge in genderless beauty and fashion.


London-based fashion and beauty Creator –Zak Heath– recently sat down with Man About Town to discuss his continued growth as an influencer and his relentless efforts to shed light on the genderless and transformative nature of makeup and fashion, along with his focus on demystifying scepticism around men in beauty. His belief in the power of self-expression empowers his audience to embrace their individuality fully. As he expands his horizons into the world of fashion, Heath strategically positions himself as a pioneering force, challenging conventional norms and establishing his presence across both industries.

Below, Heath unpacks his journey, remarkable versatility and unwavering commitment to breaking boundaries in beauty and fashion...


Zak, you've been a pioneering force in the men’s beauty content creation scene, particularly focusing on natural makeup. What inspired you to start this journey and what have you learned along the way?
I remember watching my mum apply makeup from her trusty green Clinique bag. One day, curiosity got the better of me, and I delved into its contents with a mix of disgust and excitement. Disgust because, as a boy, I thought makeup wasn't for me, yet excitement bubbled as I explored the products. Watching "makeup for beginners" tutorials on YouTube sparked a love for cosmetics. Over the years, I watched countless makeup videos, initially deleting my search history out of fear. Eventually, I bought my own makeup.

As I grew more confident, coming out as gay and excelling academically and socially, I felt at ease buying makeup like the Soph X Revolution Highlighter Palette and a Superdrug Highlighter Brush. However, I felt confined by the stereotype of bold colours and cut creases for men in makeup. I experimented with vibrant looks briefly but settled into a more natural style.
Experiencing lockdown, aged 17, prompted me to create my own makeup videos, addressing a broader audience. Initially unsure of success, I found my videos resonated, inspiring me to continue. With no siblings and plenty of time at home, creating content became my creative outlet. Despite using traditionally female-targeted products, I showcased them in a natural way, attracting both boys interested in makeup and girls who used the same products.

Starting with a simple intention, my social media journey surprised me with rapid growth. I learned the importance of finding genuine support to navigate the industry's pitfalls and avoid exploitative managers. My content's essence remains true, focusing on natural makeup and fostering a community of like-minded individuals.

You have garnered a cult-like following across platforms with your signature beauty and fashion videos. Walk us through your creative process starting from executing an idea to editing and posting.
Creating viral content on TikTok requires constant innovation, and I've honed a strategy that fuels growth. Even during the early days, when I gained over 10,000 followers daily, this approach proved effective. If a video went viral, I'd leverage comments to spark a domino effect, seamlessly leading viewers to other content without needing to visit my profile. Utilising TikTok's feature to pin comments, I strategically encouraged follows, sometimes even pinning requests for attention, which further boosted engagement.

TikTok is my primary platform, where I started creating content with minimal features. Despite the plethora of editing apps available now, I stick to TikTok's basic tools, which have propelled me to where I am today. While facing backlash for challenging gender norms, I responded editorially through makeup tutorials, letting my actions speak louder than words.
Currently, I'm focused on challenge-based content. Recently, I filmed a video doing a full face of makeup using a toothbrush, tapping into the trend. Although I aim to post daily on TikTok, managing multiple platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube adds complexity. Each platform reflects a distinct aesthetic: polished on Instagram, raw and unedited on Snapchat, and diverse on YouTube. Despite the workload, it's all part of the fun and creativity that drives my content creation journey.
You regularly work with some of the biggest brands across the fashion and beauty industry including Charlotte Tilbury, ASOS, Clarins, YSL Beauty, Fenty, and more.

Can you share some insights into how you strategically align your personal brand with these collaborations?
I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities to collaborate with amazing brands. It's always surreal when I receive personal emails from new brands expressing interest in working together. Now that I have an agent managing my brand deals, it's a relief to have more time to focus on university while still creating content.

During my sixth form days, I spent hours emailing brands daily alongside my studies. Transitioning to university has only increased my workload, but having my agent handle everything has been a game-changer. I'd describe my content as commercial yet editorial, infused with a sense of fun and aesthetics. This blend of qualities has opened doors to collaborations with incredible brands.

For instance, when working with YSL Beauty, I strive to create editorial, striking, and alluring content. On the other hand, collaborations with brands like ELF call for elevated yet playful content. Adapting to different styles and moods has enabled me to work with a diverse range of brands, serving as a chameleon in the industry.

How do you deal with scepticism around men in the beauty industry both in your content and in your personal life?
My mindset years ago would have absorbed all of the criticism surrounding male beauty hence why it wasn’t until I was 14 that I started to wear makeup and skincare. Times have definitely changed and more men want to look after their skin, so I think if I was younger now, I wouldn't have been so scared. It doesn’t bother me when I receive hate, in fact I capitalise it by making content around it. It makes me want to fight more for equality within the beauty industry when I see negativity directed but saying “men can’t wear makeup”, “act your gender” will never affect me.

Your academic pursuits in fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins add another layer to your multifaceted approach to creativity. How has your education influenced your content creation process and your understanding of the fashion and beauty industries?
From the age of 8 it was my dream to study at central saint martins although my dream then was to be a shoe designer. I’ve fulfilled my dream of studying there and I was also accepted twice into the school for two different courses, the first one being Fashion History and Theory and Fashion journalism (the course I’m studying).

I had already started content creating before university started, so it didn’t influence my content style; however, learning more about how to write has definitely helped me out in the industry, for example, when talking to brands and being able to give my opinion respectfully and professionally. The course is centred around fashion, so a lot of my assignments are; however, whenever I can bring beauty into it - I do.

Last year, I wrote about Geisha beauty for a project. Right before the deadline, I happened to be at Lisa Eldridge's launch event. I stuck around to chat with her last, and ended up interviewing her for my project. Sometimes I wonder if my course is necessary, but moments like these remind me of the unique opportunities it brings, like getting close to industry figures like Lisa Eldridge.

We've seen you expand your focus from beauty into the world of fashion. How do you navigate positioning yourself as an emerging presence in both industries, and what challenges have you encountered along the way?
I will always have beauty as my foundation (no pun intended). I don’t want to stray away from beauty because that’s what I’m truly passionate about; however, since I study fashion and love to buy it, I’m trying to tailor myself more to fashion. I’ve been to a few fashion weeks now so I’ve created content surrounding those; however, I thought the transition would be easier because I work with a lot of fashion-house beauty brands like YSL Beauty. I’m so used to just showing my face online that I have struggled to show my whole body online for fashion content, but it’s a learning curve and I just need to immerse myself in it more. I know beauty trends and products like the back of my hand and I’d like my knowledge of fashion to be the same.

Personally I do think the beauty scene is nicer too! I’ve met some wonderful people at fashion events or weeks, but generally fashion is colder I’d say. I remember when I didn’t know anybody at beauty events I still felt confident enough to introduce myself; however, even now that I’m established in the industry, I find it difficult to introduce myself at fashion events.


Your commitment to versatility and disrupting conventional norms sets you apart in the beauty and fashion realms. Could you share some examples of how you've actively challenged these norms through your work?
Building on my earlier point about responding to hate comments in a unique way, I believe my approach was one of the first, especially in the UK, where a man addressed hate in an editorial, visually engaging manner. This novelty drew a lot of attention to my content, as it was something people hadn't seen before in the beauty world.

As my social media journey progressed, I began creating editorial and humorous content. For instance, I once put chillies in lip gloss and did other random, unconventional things, which propelled me to viral status online. One standout video involved contouring my nose using an eyelash curler, gaining over 100 million views on TikTok alone. I reposted this video across various platforms, accumulating nearly 200 million views in total. It's become a defining moment for me, as many people now recognise me as "the guy who contours his nose with eyelash curlers" when they see me on the street!

In an industry often dominated by certain standards and expectations, how do you stay true to your vision and beliefs while also adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of beauty and fashion?
When I first started my platform, authenticity was key. I wasn't conforming to any expectations; I was simply being myself. If you watch my earlier videos, you'll notice I was softer spoken and perhaps a bit shy. But entering this new world meant a learning curve in becoming media trained.

In 2024, the beauty industry sees new trends every day, keeping creators on their toes and making the field both fun and dynamic. I love embracing new trends as they emerge because they offer opportunities to create engaging content.
One example of how I adapt while staying true to myself is the "cold girl makeup" trend. While the trend typically involves lots of blush and a girly aesthetic, I participated by incorporating my usual makeup style with a natural twist. This approach allows me to stay current with trends while maintaining the essence of my brand.

With your substantial following, do you feel a sense of responsibility as a role model, particularly for young followers interested in exploring makeup and fashion in non-traditional ways?
For sure. As my following began to grow, I realised the importance of having a voice. It's crucial for me to stay informed about social and cultural issues and to be a positive role model for the younger generations who follow me, especially on platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, where my audience tends to be younger.

While I prefer not to delve into political controversy, I've embraced some unconventional beauty challenges, like putting wasabi in lip gloss—just for fun! It always warms my heart when a young follower tells me they've bought their first piece of makeup because of me, or that they've found the courage to come out to their family. It reminds me of my own youth and how I looked up to creators who were similar in age to me now. It's a beautiful full-circle moment.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for your fashion and beauty content creation careers? Do you have anything exciting coming up you can share with us?

There's always something happening, and I'm constantly on the move! I attend around 4-5 events a week, sometimes even squeezing in 3 events in a single day! I've been fortunate to go on numerous brand trips, which are always exciting, and I'm sure there will be more in the pipeline soon.

Currently, I'm on my year out from university, but I'll be heading back in September, which does make me a bit nervous about juggling everything. However, I'm eager to dive back into my studies.
I have some exciting brand deals in the works with both well-known and beloved brands, as well as some dream brands that I've never worked with before. However, I'm not sure how much I can reveal just yet!
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring content creators who are passionate about challenging norms and making a mark in the beauty and fashion world?

‘Everyone can do this, but can you really do this’. I love to say that to aspiring content creators because as a creator it’s our job to make everything look easy, to put it plainly it is and it isn’t.

Creating content is indeed a full-time job, with constant expectations and pressure. However, once you find your niche and establish a formula for creating content that you enjoy, things start to flow more naturally. Consistency is key—stick with your niche and be consistent with your content. Avoid being overly pushy with selling content; instead, focus on creating authentic and organic content.

Don't get caught up in chasing views; remember, everyone starts from the same place. Instead, focus on creating content that you would enjoy as a consumer. Trust me, when you make content that you genuinely love, it becomes much easier to create and share with.

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