Let’s get ready for the day with our favorite guys who give good face. It’s a new series called #GRWM (“Get Ready With Me”), where we wake up with our friends and uncover their hidden grooming secrets, documenting every step of the way. This week, we’re getting ready with…

Sean Santiago, founder Cakeboy magazine

“I got facial hair at 13, gray hair at 18 and chest hair at the end of high school,” says Sean Santiago, the founder of Cakeboy magazine. “I waxed every month but it didn’t work. I shaved my hair with buzzers but it just kept coming back. Now, I can’t get with of this f*****.” Today, Sean’s embraced his facial hair, an aspect he says naturally contours his face. It goes perfectly with the nude lip he uses and the concealer he lightly dabs over his face. We’re getting ready at his Brooklyn apartment where two mischievous house cats are trying to curtail our plans. It’s obvious that their machinations are working. One pounces on my backpack while the other gets his nose into the green tea Sean’s poured for me.

After we close the doors, the cats clawing behind, we start photographing inside Sean’s brightly lit room where there’s a small but plush bed to the left, a table in the center, with beautiful pieces of artwork hanging on the walls and unique decor thoughtfully places throughout. It’s no wonder that the ambiance is on point. Sean was Refinery29’s home editor, after all. Having worked in Charlottesville in interior design after college, he made his way to New York City in 2013 when he started writing more for online publications and fashion blogging.

“I never thought of myself as a journalist,” he says. “And I don’t want to be an editor. I’m not looking at your grammar, I’d rather curate and work on projects that inspire me.” That includes Cakeboy magazine, what he calls a publication about “disruptive faggotry.” The ‘zine launched with 30 pages and just recently relaunched its website.

“It’s hard to talk about body positivity in the gay world,” he says. “On Cakeboy we are able to have conversations about bodies and creating space for being different is nuanced.” One story for instance, was about men and makeup entitled, “Makeup tips that’ll make him wanting more.”

Today, we’re talking about Sean’s own makeup and what makes him want more. “Eliza Dushku from the early aughts,” he says. His own makeup mantra? “Perfect is not what I go for. For me, it’s about the intention and what I’m getting ready for. Am I running to get a bagel? Do I have a meeting? Am I going out?” This afternoon, it’s all about enhancing color on Sean’s face he’s confident with. That’s accentuating his eyelids with a red tint, his pursed lips with a nude shade and dark brown eyeliner to make his eye pop. “Half of my face is a beard anyways, so it’s the lips and eyes I really play with.”


“Before I do anything, I’ll use a cleansing oil by TATCHA Cleansing Oil. I got into them recently. I like the experience of a cleansing oil that removes makeup. It’s a nice feel. I put it in the palm of hand and then my face and it’s very therapeutic. Almost spa-like. I’ll then put a Dr. Jart+ BB all over my face.”


“I don’t know if I need to play around with the foundation and need to know more about what I need. These days I’m watching Bobbi Brown, who has tons of videos on makeup. She was doing a correct and concealer video the other day and it’s very informative. I’m using a Laura Mercier concealer but the shade is a bit too yellow. I do this thing with blending inner corner to outer corner, under and around my eyes with my fingers. I don’t know if you’re supposed to do that but I don’t care. It works for me.”


“Then, I’ll use SURRATT Smokey Eye Baton in a dark brown on the bottom and the top of my eyes. The eyeliner will redefine the eye. It’s so subtle. It’s not even about the color for me, it’s about the absence of redness, bringing out the eye. The other end defines the lid a little bit more. Sometimes it’ll smudge. But I like it that way. It doesn’t matter.”


“I’ll use a Chanel eyeshadow palette to give color to my eyes. Sometimes putting on a smokey eye is a fun flirtatious way to express yourself. Today, I’m going for red, but subtly to give color to my face. I like the redness around my eyes and I want to enhance them.”


“I’m always playing around with a nude lip. I have a lot of them. I’m using & Other Stories Demi Nude Stockinette. I also like Estee Edit, they have nudes with a light rose smell. I have a darker plum one from Chanel that I don’t love that much. Then, Laura Mercier has great nude shades that are more saturated.”


“I’ll blot my lips so that it’s on matte and natural. It’s one of the last steps for me so it’s still important. These days, Snapchat has had a big influence on how I put on makeup. Their filters modify your selfies and I’m trying to get it so that I look like a walking filter.”


“My eyes and lips are my favorite features so my entire routine has everything to do with them. It’s empowering if you’re doing makeup for someone else or doing it for yourself. Either way, being attractive is great and being sexy is great. If he’s wanting more, then so be it. But ‘makeup that’ll leave him wanting more’ starts with you first.”