We chatted with the founder, journalist, skin care entrepreneur, and now author, to talk about everything from masculinity and his favorite products to Vikings and Pharaohs.
The beauty expert’s skin care brand’s tagline sums up his efforts best, as he’s just truly seeking to create a space for “beauty beyond the binary.”
If this is true, when did masculine folx stop engaging with beauty and skin care? Read on to find out the beauty powerhouse’s thoughts on this, his favorite skin care products, and the boy beauty looks from the last few years he’s been a fan of.
It’s no secret that 2020 was the hardest year in modern history, and writing and researching Pretty Boys actually saved my life. I say this because it was stressful seeing the world close, people mourn for the loss of life, as well as businesses shut down. We’re not even talking about social uprisings either with America – and the world’s reckoning – with Black lives to Asians becoming hypervisible…it was truly anxiety-inducing to have to confront all of this.
But through it all, researching these powerful leaders throughout history allowed me to escape my reality and time travel to places far and wide. I was able to meet Pharaoh Ramses and get ready with him in his own beautiful Egyptian kingdom; witness Vikings using their beauty kits to groom their hair and beards; the hwarang beautify with makeup and be chosen for their natural beauty; Babylonian warriors head into battle, but not before stopping by a salon and getting their nails, hair, and faces done; and more. It was a delight to be able to go to all places in the world and meet these incredible history-makers and I’m so blessed I actually had the ability to do this.
Q: We’re big fans of the way you look at- and challenge- the beauty space. Whose work has inspired or informed your ethos?
discusses how masculine beauty practices have existed for centuries. Why do you think current masculinity shys away from such forms of expression?
Men and masc-identifying folx have always beautified – we know this from 50,000 BCE where Neanderthals did so! The modern-day version of Westernized constructs of the gender binary and its roles is what’s limited men from embracing their masculine and feminine selves.
They are divine together – and like yin and yang, work in tandem. Current masculinity shies away from its nascent, more expansive form of masculinity because men have been conditioned to fear what our culture has deemed “feminine” behavior. It’s rooted in misogyny and homophobia, and is actually far from who we, as humans, are in our natural forms.
Q: You’re making beauty accessible for all with your binary breaking personal care line, good light, which is currently available on sokoglam.com. Where did the inspiration for the curated line come from? What was the most exciting part of developing the brand?
Q: In the last decade or so, we’ve seen the rise of the male beauty influencer. How do you think skin care and beauty combined are helping to change gender norms and how we think of the beauty world?
I always say this, but the beauty industry is the leader of inclusivity and fighting for change. Beauty is actually one of the only industries that’s championed LGBTQIA for so long – we see this with brands like MAC. I love that beauty has the power to change perceptions and allow folx to feel seen and safe in their own bodies – but I think there’s much more to do!
Q: Recently, Harry Style’s Vogue cover and Kid Cudi’s crop top moment have helped push forward a flexibility in regards to gender expression in fashion. What have been some of your favorite boy beauty looks that are doing the same for the beauty realm?
Q: Lastly, of course, what are your absolute holy grail skin care products?
What’s your favorite skin care or beauty book! Let us know below.