Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis
Here at Byrdie, we know that beauty is way more than braid tutorials and mascara reviews. Beauty is identity. Our hair, our facial features, our bodies: They can reflect culture, sexuality, race, even politics. We needed somewhere on Byrdie to talk about this stuff, so... welcome to The Flipside (as in the flipside of beauty, of course!), a dedicated place for unique, personal, and unexpected stories that challenge our society's definition of "beauty." Here, you'll find cool interviews with LGBTQ+ celebrities, vulnerable essays about beauty standards and cultural identity, feminist meditations on everything from thigh brows to eyebrows, and more. The ideas our writers are exploring here are new, so we'd love for you, our savvy readers, to participate in the conversation, too. Be sure to comment your thoughts (and share them on social media with the hashtag #TheFlipsideOfBeauty). Because here, on The Flipside, everybody gets to be heard.
While there is so much to get out of our relationships with men, beauty advice often falls to the bottom of the list. Somehow, deep-seated gender norms have dictated skin and haircare routines are meant only for women, raising generations of men who scoff at anti-aging serums and roll their eyes over grooming habits (never strong-hold gel, though—men feel all too comfortable with that). Often, these are the same men who work out multiple times a week and chug protein shakes in search of a fit, healthier-looking physique. So what gives?
In a speech at the Makers Conference last week, Jill Soloway, the creator of Amazon's Transparent, mentions a gender dynamic that helps to explain the disconnect. "In patriarchy, men see, and women are looked at," she says. So while anyone is allowed to care about beauty in 2017, women are taught of its importance from the womb, while men are taught they have better things to do.
It is important to note, though, that things are changing and beauty standards are (slowly but surely) evolving. Take James Charles's campaign with CoverGirl and Manny Mua's with Maybelline. Both makeup artists are each of the brands' first-ever male reps. I decided to explore this notion a bit and reach out to other men who are helping to change those stereotypes for the better. Some are in the biz as successful makeup artists and hairstylists, while others are friends or partners in our lives. Each one revealed genuinely great beauty tips from hair products to skincare to makeup. Keep reading to find out more.
"Wash your hair less. Hair just looks better lived in and dirty. Use some Kérastase Powder Bluff or VIP Spray to add some grit and texture." — Matt Fugate, Kérastase consulting hairstylist
"I use a face scrub in the shower because the steam opens up my pores and it doesn't feel as abrasive—but I make sure to turn the temperature down to make sure the water doesn't dry out my skin." — Bryn Garrett, architect
"One of my favorite products is a fresh mask that Lush sells called Rosy Cheeks. Because I have such fair skin, any redness I have is very noticeable. This mask is a blend of kaolin, calamine, and Turkish rose oil, and it delicately calms my skin and restores balance." — Taylor Kelly, director of marketing
"This is my super old-school trick: I learned it from my grandmother, and it is one of my favorite tips. My grandmother used to soak in a bath of powdered milk mixed with hot water and wash. The lactic acid in milk helps to soften skin and makes it feel so smooth. This is something I do at night before going to bed." — Sir John, L'Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist
"When going for a messy look on short hair, I get my hair about 80% dry, and then I add my product (like a pomade). I first make it really messy, and then I shape it without taking out the texture. I let it air-dry the rest of the way, and by the time it's dry, it's already styled." — Nate Rosenkranz, Honey hairstylist
"I love a thickening gel! Kérastase's Matérialiste is hands down my favorite. It makes hair thicker, textured, and lifted at the root." — Fugate
"Spirulina is packed with everything you need and has anti-aging benefits—it helps with skin health and dark circles, which is a huge deal." — Sir John
"After the gym, I like doing a quick paper towel blot on my hair and around my hair line. Then, I blow-dry dry shampoo into the roots so I don't look sweaty throughout the rest of the day." — Fugate
Next up, find out what product a celebrity dermatologist threw out of my skincare regimen.