Very Good Light is hiring! And looking for our next big writer.

Lightning beauty awards

(Photo by Justin Bridges/Very Good Light)

YASS – we’re adding to our team!

Love writing? Are you a hardcore journalist? Are you obsessed with beauty and the cast of characters inside the industry? Very Good Light is looking for YOU!

Very Good Light, the leading site for Generation Z men and beauty, is seeking a part-time editorial assistant or assistant editor dependent on experience. We’re looking for someone who is ambitious, self-starting and has a can-do attitude. Some duties will include: writing original content, brainstorming big picture stories to finding new beauty products/trends; assisting with social media including Instagram Stories; booking and securing talent; and more. Though this will be a remote position, New York City-based is preferred.

Very Good Light has been covered in the New York Times, Vogue, Allure, Teen Vogue, HighSnobiety, USA Today, among others. We believe confidence starts from the inside out.

Who we’re looking for:

  • Journalists first and foremost who understand ethics and journalistic standards.
  • Writers who are all about diversity, understand inclusivity, have a curiosity for beauty/grooming products and how they enhance the lives of men.
  • Woke candidates only.
  • Candidates with real editorial experience and beauty, entertainment or industry contacts.
  • Candidates who understand social media, are enthused with the changing landscape of beauty, who are curious about newness.
Job entails:
  • Assisting on photo shoots as well as posts, from longform to short.
  • Reviewing products, calling beauty/grooming products in, testing.
  • Writing, editing and learning to become a better Web journalist (writing enticing HEDS, DEKs, being concise and deliberate with sentences).
  • Possibly attending industry events: Fashion week, backstage at fashion week, market appointments, parties, representing Very Good Light.
  • Assisting with social media responsibilities from Instagram, Twitter to Facebook.
  • Assisting with the editorial calendar, admin duties, pitching stories and seeing stories go from ideation to completion.

REQUIREMENTS/NECESSARY SKILLS FOR RECRUITMENT:

  • Understanding of journalism, strong reporting and writing skills.
  • A commitment of 10-15 hours a week.
  • A strong understanding of the Web, Internet, beauty trends, and how social media.
  • Great attitude and a can-do spirit.
  • Ability to be an independent thinker and work independently.

ABOUT VERY GOOD LIGHT:

Very Good Light is the leading men’s beauty and grooming destination for Generation Z and young Millennials. Born from the idea that confidence comes from the inside out, Very Good Light aims to redefine masculinity and men’s beauty standards. This is accomplished through personal essays, impactful longform stories, compelling photography and videos, along with personable how-tos and product reviews. We believe that confidence starts from the inside out.

We’ve had the opportunity to work with the best of brands and tell compelling, culture-pushing stories. Just look at our recent genderless campaign with Milk Makeup. Our site, though in its fifth month, is constantly in the press. From the New York Times, Teen Vogue, Vogue, USA Today, Digiday, Fashionista, Observer, Racked, Refinery29, Highsnobiety and more, we’re one of the buzziest new brands.

PAY:

Commensurate with experience

TO APPLY: Please send your resume to david@verygoodlight.com.

Your airplane skin is more disgusting than you thought.

(Stuck inside an airplane this holiday season? Here’s what you need to know. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

What’s worse than holiday travel (other than traffic, rude flight attendants, small children in your way while you’re RACING to the actual flight you’re late for)?

The disgusting planes we’re forced to travel in.

With Thanksgiving travel in 2019 at its highest travel numbers in YEARS (there were 4.5 million people traveling by plane!), chances are, you’ve probably encountered many foreigners on your journey. And we’re not talking about the good humans around the globe. We’re talking bacteria and viruses you’ll inevitably meet on your journey. Planes, after all, are cesspools for germs, which are at their bests inside enclosed spaces. Though airlines are required to clean each cabins between flights, they’re FILTHY. It’s almost difficult to thoroughly wipe every surface area. According to the New York Post, the following are the biggest areas of contamination:

  1. Tray tables
  2. Magazines and in-flight entertainment touch screens
  3. Bathroom handles
  4. Toilet and lid
  5. Water faucet and soap dispenser
  6. Paper towel dispenser
  7. AC knob on the ceiling
  8. Headrest (includes blankets and pillows that are never washed, simply reused).

So what’s an innocent person supposed to do? If you’re seriously spooked about breaking out after a flight – well, you should be. That’s because your skin is at its worst during travel and can do real damage to your skin. Luckily, we got some really good advice from Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Dermatology in NYC. She advised us what to do before, during and after a flight so that your skin stays untouched during the holiday hustle and bustle. Here’s what you need to know.

1 Before you take off …

Your skin is about to battle the elements – and it’s going to get rough.

Yes, your skin will be parched. According to the World Health Organization, humidity in planes is less than 20% less than humidity land. This means the low moisture in your skin will lead to it dry, or worse, flaking.

“The low humidity can also affect your mucous membranes, which can lead to chapped lips, nosebleeds and dry eyes,” , Dr. Chang tells Very Good LightTo combat this, she says prevention is key.

Cleanse they skin. First and foremost, Dr. Chang says cleansing the skin is the most important steps. Any makeup can clog pores, she says. If you need to ensure your skin is squeaky clean, take a makeup wipe with you, she says.

VGL recommends: A wipe we LOVE is one from CeraVe. It has zero fragrance and is super gentle but powerful at cleansing your skin. BUY HERE, $7.97

Sun of a gun. Possibly the most important step that most people skip, Dr. Chang says, is foregoing sunscreen. “At high altitudes, the UV exposure is much stronger than on the Earth’s surface,” she explains. “If flying during the daytime with the windows open, I strongly recommend using sunscreen – yes, even inside the plane! – to prevent UV-related skin damage.”

VGL recommends: We’re into French drugstore brand, La-Roche Posay’s Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60. It’s milky, soaks into your skin well without that annoying grey cast. BUY HERE, $35.99

2 While mid-air …

Hydration queen. After cleansing, hydrate like your pores have never felt hydration before. As per mentioned, the cabin is not only dry, but will pull moisture from your skin until it severely dehydrates this. To combat this,

 “I will use a hydrating face sheet mask for the skin to soak up extra moisture,” she says. “I recommend using a sheet mask with antioxidants to calm the skin prior to the flight as well.”

VGL recommends: Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel plumps up your skin and improves your skin barrier. It’s super affordable as well, which we’re all for. BUY HERE,$16

Sheet happens. If you’re a little insecure to use a sheet mask in-air, Dr. Chang says you can use both a thick moisturizer and a spray mist for that extra hydration boost. If you’re looking for a moisturizer that will do a good job, Dr. Chang says to find one with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. The former replenishes natural lipids lost from harsh environmental factors. It restores moisture as well as reinforces the skin’s natural barrier. The latter is a naturally-occurring substance in your skin that holds onto 1000x of its weight in moisture. Basically, it works overtime and does the most in enhancing your skin with lots of hydration.

VGL recommends: A hyaluronic product we are seriously impressed with is Hanskin’s own. It sinks into your skin immediately and completely drenches it. BUY HERE$20

High altitude breakouts. Your skin is also stressed out AF. Whether it’s from an early morning, getting onto your actual flight, or the environmental pressures, your skin will freak out. “Stress is known to increase stress hormones, like cortisol, which increases inflammation in the skin,” Dr. Chang says. “The combination of poor air quality and stress from traveling can worsen inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.”

Good anti-inflammatory ingredients include niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which increases hydration, skin texture and makes it less irritable, green tea, or non-comedogenic moisturizers.

VGL recommends: What we’re loving is Youth To The People’s own Adaptogen Deep Moisture cream, made from Ashwagandha, a powerful healing herb, and Reishi, a mushroom that helps establish homeostasis in the body. It’ll level out your body’s cortisol levels and is really soothing, especially if your skin is freaking out. BUY HERE, $58

Skip the chips. Puffy eyes? Swollen face? If you’re in-air, your chances of being bloated increases. Dr. Chang suggests you completely skip salty snacks altogether. “Long hours of sitting as well as the salty food and alcohol  on can lead to water retention,” she says. “This can make your face swollen and puffy after the flight! Skip the chips and walk around to prevent puffy eyes and swollen feet.”

3 After you land …

Treat yo’self. You made it. You’ve been through a war. Now it’s time to rest and reward your skin. The easiest way is to sheet mask but to enhance that experience, you can use a jade roller. A jade roller will allow your skin to easily soak in the mask’s essence while helping to drain the lymph nodes. Simply go under your eyes and roll up towards your ears and down. 

VGL recommends: Tao Radiance’s own rose quartz or jade rollers are perfect for de-puffing and comes in a chic, plush package. BUY HERE$38

Se-rum pum pum pum. Dr. Chang recommends calming the skin with antioxidant-rich serums to fight free radicals and inflammation. “It deserves a reward,” she says. We couldn’t agree any more.

VGL recommends: Paula’s Choice Moisture Renewal Oil Booster, a product that relieves dry skin, has plant oils and is renews with its ceramides. Basically, it’s the perfect formula for allowing your skin to heal. BUY HERE,$36

Very Good Light will occasionally use affiliate links, which do not interfere with our editorial judgment. 

5 father-son pairs on the power of vulnerability

Gillette hands

(This Thanksgiving Day, we showcase the beauty in powerful father-son relationships. Photo by Aly Curtis/Very Good Light)

Fathers and sons around the world share a unique bond. To explore this sentiment, Very Good Light has partnered with Gillette, a brand that’s over 115-years old. Through the years, Gillette has celebrated fathers and sons and the power of their relationship, generation after generation. The brand’s latest campaign, “Your Best Never Comes Easy,” continues the message in 2018 and beyond, depicting how a father’s love and encouragement can pull a son through any obstacle. According to recent research commissioned by Gillette, supportive fathers play an especially outsized role in helping their sons achieve success despite adversity. Below, we came together to highlight five father and son pairs from across the country. This Thanksgiving, each share their unique and empowering stories of overcoming one big obstacle in life thanks to the support they found in their shared bond.

(James Mays, here with his son, Jaynen in Las Vegas. James says he only became a man after he became a father. Photo by Michael Mutuc/Very Good Light)

As James Mays will tell you, he only became a real man when he became a father.

His own father was out of the picture. And he had to navigate manhood while growing up in Los Angeles with his mother, two sisters and female cousins.

“I went through that manly man thing,” he says to us from Las Vegas, on a recent weekend. “I was in the house with just ladies and I needed to prove that I could be a man without a man around.” They weren’t supposed to cry. They were tough. They had it all together.

SEE ALSO: 5 guys get real about modern masculinity

And so, when he had his own son, Jaynen, he was compelled to raise him in a way he’d imagined his own father would have. “I felt I had to prove to myself what a father was from what I learned from other people’s fathers,” he tells us. That meant being a “hard figure,” always having everything figured out, being strong and not asking for help with physical things like moving furniture.

“Men aren’t supposed to care about that. It’s a handshake, not a hug. It’s being distant. But Jaynen taught me affection and how being a man was about providing love.”

“I was channeling that old school 50’s dad – I go to work, come home, eat dinner and get the remote,” he tells Very Good Light. “I’ll tell you what to do. I know the answers. I’m the strong one.”
Being emotional or sensitive – or soft – were unacceptable.

It wasn’t until his young son began showing his physical affection that James was able to redefine what being a man was all about. “My son would give me hugs and say, ‘Dad, I love you,'” he recalls. That very act started to thaw James’ wall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbHXIN6EzWo

Soon enough, James found that the intimate moments – the cuddles during movies, the hugs goodnight – became commonplace. “Men aren’t supposed to care about that. It’s a handshake, not a hug. It’s being distant. But Jaynen taught me affection and how being a man was about providing love.”

“Men who are comfortable with displaying care, nurturance, and healthy emotions also model healthy masculinity for their sons.”

James admits this is far from what he believed was considered the norm. “I grew up watching guys like (All In The Family’s) Archie Bunker. Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor. Martin. All men who were macho, masculine, fronted for their boys. Being sensitive became a joke.” Today, James says that the new definition of strong fatherhood is being vulnerable. “It’s about opening up and admitting that you, as a man, don’t always have the answers. But that’s okay.”

James joins a growing movement of fathers who have rejected previous notions of hyper-masculinity, and instead are providing their sons with emotional support. This new generation of men are redefining what fatherhood means – and therefore changing the face of masculinity altogether. Because when it comes to father-son relationships, historically, it’s been fraught.

Jaynen and James Mays

(Photo by Michael Mutuc/Very Good Light)

For hundreds of years, the very concept of fatherhood was being the sole breadwinner, which often meant that there was little to no time to build relationships with children, says Dr. Wizdom Powell, associate professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut.

“In the past, ‘good’ fathering was largely associated with breadwinning and economic provision,” she says. “Men were not incentivized to share in the broader socio-emotional development of the children or household responsibilities.”

The relationship, then, became determined not by love or nurturing but rather, defined monetarily. Masculinity, for these fathers, meant clocking in and out of work and being sole provider. An article in Psychology Today goes so far as to describe that “all fathers’ functions were economic,” and that role was taken very seriously – often to an extreme. Fathers, especially in low income to middle class settings, felt their sole purpose was to economically support their families. This, in turn, led to families without present father figures, or ones who felt distant and emotionally detached even when they were physically there. The repercussions were vicious – and lasting. The cycle of emotionless fathers bred emotionless sons who became adults who would do the same to their children.

“Men are socialized to display toughness and this socialization carries over to their fathering roles and expectations,” says Dr. Powell, to Very Good Light. “Men who are comfortable with displaying care, nurturance, and healthy emotions also model healthy masculinity for their sons.” In other words, she says, caring men become caring fathers.

“I used to think men weren’t supposed to [be vulnerable],” James tells us. “Men don’t care about those things. They don’t care about emotions or feelings. Today, he’s learned that being a strong man is not about physical strength or a lack of emotions, rather, the opposite.” Jaynen’s generation is more in touch with who they are,” he tells Very Good Light. “They have a lot less hate and more understanding. They’re able to communicate with each other more openly. When we don’t deal with affection or feelings it cause a huge void. Jaynen allowed me to learn that.”

Jaynen and James Mays

(Photo by Michael Mutuc/Very Good Light)

Though science proves how crucial relationships are from a developmental standpoint, they fail to explain the phenomenon of the deep bond between a father and son. For that, we turn to the abstract, the metaphysical – the spiritual. Below, we explore how other fathers and sons, like James and Jaynen, are redefining masculinity through the act of vulnerability.

Each pair recounts one specific story of how they got the other through a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Each story is unique and proves just how fathers and sons – and their intimate relationships – are powerfully changing for the better.

Al-Tereek, 44 and Jai, 16, New Jersey

Al-Tereek and Jai Battle

(Jai, on the left, and Al-Tereek, on the right, photographed in downtown Manhattan. Photo by Bukunmi Grace/Very Good Light)

Jai Battle is a 16-year old with a diverse array of interests.

He’s varsity on his track team, a member of model U.N., is in the string orchestra. He’s also become an inadvertent activist. That’s because in Jai’s hometown of Montgomery, NJ, he is one of only a handful of people who look like he does. Just 2% of the town’s population is African American.

Being categorically the “other” has become the norm for Jai. Sometimes, it’s being asked where he really came from. At other times it’s being called the N-word. That occurred at an early age, an experience that Jai recalls as being both shocking and confusing.

“This is what it’s like to be black in America.”

“‘Scrub the black off,'” someone told him. As Jai recalls: “He said to do so with soap so I could be cleaner, as if being black was dirty.” When he came home, upset, it was his father Al-Tereek, who sat him down to unpack what just happened. It wasn’t an easy conversation, Al-Tereek remembers. But it’s one that he’d been waiting for. He’d gone through experiences like Jai’s himself, and to have to finally talk about race, blackness and American culture was something he was prepared for.

“This is what it’s like to be black in America,” he said.

Al-Tereek and Jai Battle

(“Fighting just fits into the negative stereotype of black people who are all aggressive and angry,” says Al-Tereek to his son, Jai. Photo by Bukunmi Grace/Very Good Light)

The conversation was far from easy. “The reality is that we’ve been in America for a long time, we’ve been black for a long time,” Al-Tereek tells Very Good Light. “One thing that I’ve tried to learn in my lifetime it that when these things occur, it’s mostly based in ignorance. Especially if it’s from a child,” he says.

What proceeded was a calm explanation on what Jai could do. It wasn’t to fight back, he explained. It was to educate and be a good example of what a loving individual could be. Besides, Jai had no other choice, he said. To fight back was a losing battle. “Fighting just fits into the negative stereotype of black people who are all aggressive and angry. That other kid might just be ignorant and go home without any baggage. But Jai becomes that angry black kid who now has to be monitored.”

Instead, Jai learned that it was through equipping himself with black American history, acknowledgment of his own identity and his family that allowed him to overcome.

(Photo by Bukunmi Grace/Very Good Light)

“We are spiritual people and we understand that these things exist,” Al-Tereek tells Very Good Light. “But what we can do is just keep becoming the best of examples, to make sure we get to the places we need to be. More so, know your history and your counterparts. That will help you keep moving.”

Today, Jai says that being able to rely on his father empowers him. “My dad taught me that being different is an asset, and that I’m a powerful [vessel] for change.”

Robert and Dave Christopherson, Utah

Dave and Robert Christopherson

(Dave, on the left, and Robert on the right, grew up bonding over airplanes. Photo by Christine Jun/Very Good Light)

Before Dave Christopherson could walk, he flew.

His father, Robert, was a pilot and would take his children out on frequent trips in the friendly skies. Dave’s fondest childhood memories include going in and out of airports, flying impromptu to places like New Mexico, while spending quality family time above the clouds.

The two were inseparable ever since Dave met his father at an orphanage in El Salvador. “I always joke that he bought me,” Dave says with a laugh. “In all seriousness, we really got along during my younger years, we really understood how lucky we were to have each other.”

But things changed as Dave grew into his own as a teenager. In the midst of finding his own identity, the two began drifting apart. They would argue and have frequent disagreements. “We butted heads,” Dave recalls. “He was really stubborn and so was I.”

“My house, my rules,” Robert would say in the heat of the moment. And so, after turning 18, Dave decided he’d leave his home altogether in hopes of finding himself. One thing he wouldn’t do was fly planes like his dad, he thought. Ironically, he’d find himself joining the Air Force months later.

“I had no desire to go into flying, but my dad influenced me for sure,” he tells Very Good Light.  “Once I joined the military, he saw I was doing something with my life and that’s when our relationship started to get better.”

Dave and Robert Christopherson

(Photo by Christine Jun/Very Good Light)

It was during flight training that Dave truly realized how much he needed the strength his father-son relationship could bring him. As Dave explains it, getting through flight school and pilot training is a grueling process.
“Picture yourself in front of the computer with your headset, joystick, two pedals and you have to keep this line centered in middle of the screen,” he explains. “Then there’s a headset that tells you words and asks things like what was the third letter of what was said.”

The days were long and the materials covered were completely abstruse. Most days would start at 5 a.m. and go for more than 12 hours. “I’d show up and I would have been studying for a test for a couple of hours, then I’d need to fly and do certain maneuvers,” he says.”It’s really stressful because if you get three strikes you’re out.”

 “My dad means the world to me…”

The stress became almost too much and anxiety set in. Dave found himself on shaky ground. He was struggling to pass his exams and was on the brink of being kicked out of the program. That’s when he picked up the phone to call the only person who could help: his dad.

Gillette father son

(Photo by Christine Jun/Very Good Light)

“You’re really smart.”

“You got this.”

“I believe in you,” his dad assured him.

“He’d remind me of who I was and where I came from,” Dave recalls.

But more so, it was his unconditional love that pushed Dave through. “What really helped was when he told me that he loved me, and that whatever happens he’d still love me and still think I was awesome.”

Those words of wisdom and love got Dave through. Today, Dave’s a full-time pilot. But more than any lesson he learned, his father taught him how to be a man. “My dad means the world to me,” Dave says. “Though I didn’t see it growing up, he has good quality morals. And has great values and he means the world to me. I wouldn’t be who I am without him.”

Joshua, 59 and Jacob Yi, 23, Georgia

Jacob and Joshua Yi

(Jacob gives his dad, Joshua, a piggyback ride, photographed in downtown Duluth. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Ever since he was young, Jacob has been a guy to always work for what he wanted.

He graduated with honors. Attended his dream school. Was always at the top of his class. And so, when he graduated last year with a degree in chemistry, he thought that he’d easily step into his next role: medical student.

But things didn’t work out as he’d hoped. While all of his best friends moved away and were accepted into graduate school, it was Jacob who found himself in a position he’d never been in before: uncertainty.

“I don’t want to compare myself to others, but seeing my best friends move on and progress in their lives while I was still waiting for my future to begin was difficult,” he tells Very Good Light. “I felt left out and pressured to start something quickly.”

It’s during this time that Jacob had painful bouts of self-doubt. He didn’t have a Plan B. For a student who’d excelled, met and exceeded test scores, his situation was not only frustrating but cut deep.

Jacob and Joshua Yi

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

“I felt like a failure.”

It was here that he leaned on his father, Joshua, for guidance. In a world that seemed to be spinning out of control, it was his father who became the constant he needed to stay grounded.

“Our Korean culture isn’t vocal about self-worth.”

“I’m never the vocal type and I don’t bring my concerns straight to my dad,” Jacob says. “So it was really amazing that my dad actually confronted me one day about how I was really doing, which allowed me to open up.”

His father, who received his own Ph.D. years before, empathized with his son. He, too, went through years of education, heartache and adversity.

“Don’t compare yourself to others,” Joshua recalls telling his son. “Your experiences are valid, too. You’re growing, learning and always progressing. Don’t discount this period in your life.”

This affirmation, Jacob says, is what allowed him to pull through.

Jacob and Joshua Yi

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

“Our Korean culture isn’t vocal about self-worth,” Jacob admits. “We focus on being humble to an extreme. But in that moment my dad told me outright that I, too, am worthy of a great life – no matter what that looks like.”

“More than anything, I told him that I believed in him,” Joshua chimes in. “More so, I didn’t allow him to forget his dreams of being a doctor. If you really want to do this, go to the end and try your best, I said. Don’t have any regrets.”

It was this moment in Jacob’s 23-years of life that he realized that his father really cared about him. “I never thought my dad could understand me like a friend,” he says to Very Good Light. “It’s ingrained in our Korean culture that a dad is here [higher] and you, as a son, are here [below]. But he’s someone I can truly be vulnerable with, without judgment. He’s always on my side. I can be safe with him. And his love allows me to love myself.”

Matthew and Chandler Sparks, Colorado

Matthew and chandler sparks

(Matthew, left and Chandler, right, grew up racing and hiking in the mountains of Colorado. Photo by Aly Curtis/Very Good Light)

Asthma could have slowed Chandler Sparks down, but his father, Matthew, wouldn’t allow it.

“Resiliency is a learned skill and I have always wanted to teach my children to become resilient people,” explains Matthew to Very Good Light. “This skill can be applied in all aspects of a person’s life, especially in difficult times or situations.”

As a child, Chandler experienced asthmatic symptoms and often times had difficulty breathing. It didn’t help that he and his entire family lived in Colorado, one of the highest elevations in the country. To help him overcome, Matthew signed himself and his son up for annual races to strengthen his breathing muscles.

“I’d gained this newfound confidence in myself.”

“Of course, we listened to what our doctor said about his lungs,” Matthew says. “But my personal goal was to build up his lungs and his overall physical health. We wanted him to start walking then running. The lungs are a muscle and the more you use it the stronger it becomes.”

At first, the races were intimidating. Chandler was understandably timid, would stay close to his dad in fear that an asthma attack would hit him, clutching to his inhaler. By the 6th grade, he started gaining a little confidence by wanting to go faster. In the 7th, he started running in front of his dad. By the time 8th grade came, he was off running on his own. Soon enough, he no longer needed his inhaler.

It was a big moment for both of them.

Matthew and chandler sparks

(Photo by Aly Curtis/Very Good Light)

Years later, it was Matthew who leaned on his son Chandler for help. He was training for the grueling Ragnar race, one that goes for 200-miles. With so much intense training, Matthew injured his knee. He didn’t know if he’d get to the race. But Chandler wouldn’t let him quit.

“I challenged him to do some outdoor elevation training,” Chandler recalls. Matthew admits he was very nervous but accepted the invite nonetheless. At first, they took it slow by hiking Quandary Peak, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains. After, they completed the Decalabron Loop, a challenge that hits four 14,000-feet mountains in a single hike. Throughout it all, Chandler was there, cheering his dad along.

Gillette father and son

(Photo by Aly Curtis/Very Good Light)

“I needed a push and he was checking up on me in a caring manner,” Matthew says. Chandler was leading the way, tending to his dad at every turn. It was in that moment that Matthew took everything in and saw the bigger picture. Everything came full circle. “Watching him take the lead and guide me instead of me guiding him was such a joy.”
Weeks later, Matthew joined the Ragnar race and finished. “Surprisingly, my knee did feel better,” he says in retrospect. “I’d gained this newfound confidence in myself and it was because of Chandler, who taught me what it means to be resilient.”

What happens when you actually trick people into meditation?

“Close your eyes and think of a word that empowers you,” instructs Sah D’Simone, the meditation and transformation coach to the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

We’re sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, breathing in and out as Sah takes us on a metaphysical journey into the unknown.

Woo-Sah!

SEE ALSO: It’s time to starting WEARING your beauty

For a Monday night, things are getting spiritually L-I-T. All 150 or so of us are gathered at The Assemblage John Street, a luxurious space centered around interconnectedness and transformation to celebrate the pre-launch of SOON, our beauty bag. To the left is an activation by Erin Claire, Human Design expert who curates programming for the space. In the back corner is Youth To The People, the Los Angeles-based vegan beauty brand with its director of strategy and planning, Jamie Somphanthabansouk, in tow.

Charlotte Cho Joyce Lee

(Talk to Her’s Joyce Lee with Soko Glam’s Charlotte Cho at our SOON bag launch party. Photo by Matthew Kelly/ Very Good Light)

Among the colorful crowd are the likes of Nicola Formichetti, renowned stylist and entrepreneur, Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, Minya Quirk, co-founder of Shoppe Object, Phillip Wong, co-founder of Hawthorne, David Lopez, celebrity hairstylist, among others.

They’ve come to support SOON, Very Good Light‘s crossbody beauty bag in collaboration with Talk to Her and Haerfest, which is now officially on presale. SOON comes with travel-sized products that were specially curated for your journey, including: Herbivore’s  Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist; Farmacy’s Coconut Gel Sheet Mask and Honey Butter Beeswax; The Ouai’s Texturizng Hairspray; and Youth To the People’s Superfood Cleanser and cream.

The bag is all about taking that journey and bringing a part of empowerment along wherever you go.

Dan Joo and Phillip Wong

(Hawthorne’s co-founder Phillip Wong with Haerfest co-founder Dan Joo. Photo by Matthew Kelly/Very Good Light)

“For us, bags are your home away from home,” says Dan Joo, co-founder of Haerfest. “It’s about keeping what means most with you.”

Which makes sense for the beauty guru who takes along their products with them.

After nibbling on small bites and downing elixirs, guests sat back down for a panel discussion on social consciousness in startup cultures. David moderated the panel as Joyce Lee, CEO of Talk to Her, Jamie from Youth To The People, and Dan from Haerfest, answered questions on how each company functions in an ever busy world.

(Celebrity hairstylist David Lopez with Very Good Light’s editor in chief, David Yi and editor at large, Garrett Munce. Photo by Matthew Kelly/ Very Good Light)

“It’s about letting go of the ego and embracing love,” says Jamie. Still a burgeoning brand – and one of Sephora’s bestsellers – Youth To The People has seen immense growth. In the past few months alone, the brand has gone from a handful of employees to almost two dozen. Revenue has also grown at a rapid pace, leaving the brand in a really good place, but also one that’s sometimes frenzied. To slow down, Jamie says she sometimes logs off, takes deep breaths and sees the bigger picture. “I feel like sometimes you just have to log off and reflect,” she says.

For Joyce, starting a consultancy after her near-decades experience at Opening Ceremony was because of a desire to merge both her American and Korean experiences. While a one woman show, she’s juggling multiple projects at once, including KARE, an upcoming pop up at Canal Street Market. To keep her sanity, she admits she prays, meditates and takes long runs to clear her mind. “Feeling my body and going back to my humanity allows me to let go,” she says.

(Youth To The People’s Jamie Somphanthabansouk with friends at SOON’s pre-launch party. Photo by Matthew Kelly/ Very Good Light)

It’s something that resonates with David and Very Good Light. Now 2-years old, the brand has gone through its ups and downs, he admits. But it’s the bigger picture and greater good that inspires him to work even harder. “If this was a blog about David Yi, it would have lasted like, 2 weeks,” he says. “But because it’s for creating a safe space for all men from all backgrounds, to create inclusivity and promote self-worth, I have my readers in mind every day. That helps me to keep doing this.”

The inspirational talk concluded with the overarching inspiration of SOON, which is all about the journey, not the destination. “It’s about that thought of getting ‘there,’ wherever that is and knowing that we’ll arrive there one day soon, together.”

To secure your own limited-edition SOON bag, head here! For everyone else, it hits Opening Ceremony stores on 1/25! 

All photos by Matthew Kelly  

Here’s the correct order of skincare and makeup

When it comes to applying makeup and skincare – yes, there’s a method to the madness.

Too little hydration leads to cracked and creased makeup while ~too much~ hydration can make your makeup drippy, sliding off your face. Add your 10-step Korean skincare to all of it and it just gets way too confusing, this, especially if you’re new to makeup. So what’s the proper way to marry skincare and makeup? And how do you ensure you get all of the benefits of your skincare while allowing your makeup to stay? Read on below.

SEE ALSO: Here’s the easiest guide to Korean beauty

1 Cleanse

Whether you’re double cleansing, using an oil cleanse, a wipe, or for a lot of you, just water (no judgment!), prepping your skin and ridding it of impurities is the best first step. This allows your face to become a blank, beautiful empty palette.

2 Tone

As you know by now, toning not only balances out the pH 0f your skin from alkalized water (its natural state is 4.5-5.5!), it also softens it as well. This is important because it allows your moisturizer to seep into your pores, instead of sitting on top. Calming and balancing your skin will provide you with your best makeup, well, ever.

3 Essence

Essence is the core of Korean beauty, and also one step we never miss. Why? It’s packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and ingredients that enhance your overall skin’s health. Use one pump after you tone, and pat into your skin until it’s bouncy and plump.

4 Treatment

If you’re using Vitamin C, retinol, a spot treatment, or something else, use this after essence. If this is confusing, remember that with skincare you apply products from thinnest (aka like water) to thickest (like your creams).

5 Eye cream

Apply eye cream on a daily basis with your ring finger. Because you have zero pores, the areas around your eyes don’t have natural oil production to provide you with hydration. Double tap, tap, tap gently.

6 SPF!

Just because your foundation might have SPF does not mean you should skip this step. Most foundations or BB creams have a SPF 15 formulation and at best, 30. The safest bet is to use something with an SPF 50+++. Trust. You’ll thank yourself that you did much, much later.

7 Primer

Primers are thick, often times smooth, and a little drying. But they’re powerful for allowing your foundation to stick onto your face. Think of it as tape that sticks your slippery foundation onto your slick skin. Most primers have an SPF in it as well, but still apply sunscreen anyway. A little will go a long way, so no need to put more than just a dime sized amount evenly across your face.

8 Coverage: tinted moisturizer or foundation

With so many methods of applying coverage, what do you? There’s using your brush, beauty blender, a sponge or your actual fingers. Which is best is up to your preference.

9 Concealer

Need extra coverage on zits or your dark circles? There’s a concealer for that. Dap your concealer in those areas and blend, blend, blend.

10 Powder

Using powder – or “baking” – is the last step for many a makeup guru. Using powder allows your makeup to sit and stay. Some people skin baking altogether, as they’re into a dewier complexion, and that’s totally fine.

How to scam people into thinking you have dewy skin when your skincare regimen is trash

(Photo by Osvaldo Ponton)

Unless you’ve been living under a literal rock and your face is crusty as Bradley’s Cooper’s figurative face in A Star is Born, you know that dewiness is next to demi-godliness.

It’s all about, what Nam Vo, the celebrity makeup artist coined, is the “dewy dumpling” look. That is, skin so plump, so bouncy, so delectable you’d think it was an Asian snack. Dewiness, which as you guys know by now, has been the biggest skincare trend in Korea for years. It signifies youth, but more so, how healthy – and attractive you are.

So how does one achieve a glow? How does one RADIATE in this fall season? How does one get their best skin ever to project that all they do in life is skincare because they’re bougie AF?

SEE ALSO: This is why you should start using highlighter

Scam them into thinking you give a damn – aka my life mantra.

To be fair, there are many who have that natural glow from years of beautiful skincare regimens.  For others who have been practicing a diligent skincare including: toners, essences, ampoules or  hyaluronic acid on a daily basis, you probably are on your way to radiating a natural G-L-O-W.

For the rest of us who haven’t adopted an extensive skincare regimen, there’s an easy way to fake really healthy skin. Below, the three different products that will give you that scam-worthy instant glow.

Highlighter

It’s not secret that to get that striking shine to your face, men and women have been using highlighters to shine. These come in two forms, of course: cream and powder. For how to actually apply, revert to this post here. As we know, highlighters are often used on cheekbones, brow bones, the nose, and any area of the face that hits the light. They’re a really easy to get that glowy, beat face but since it’s makeup, usually isn’t as seemingly natural.

VGL recommends:
Glossier Haloscope – Glossier’s Haloscope is still a beautiful, creamy formula that comes in stick form. With a swipe and blend on your cheekbones, it’s probably the easiest way to highlight your face. Buy here, $22.

Fenty Beauty Killawatt in Trophy Wife – The brand’s Killawatt is so bright, you’ll shine just like a uh, diamond. But really, this is POTENT and a little goes a long way. The pigmented highlighter will give you a shine for the gods of your DREAMS and you’ll be completely taken aback by how a little makes you look like a literal Oscar. Buy here, $46

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face – We love this formula and brush in one. Also in stick form, you swipe and blend, with a brush built into the actual product. Buy here, $50

Face Salve

We’ve written about that delicious glazed donut look. It’s that look that is a little shiny, wet and resembles more skin, less makeup than a highlighter. Face salves allow anyone to have that wet, hot summer sweat look all year round without using a hint of skincare – or makeup. Simply use your salve and place on your cheekbones, eyelids and also your lips. While face salves aren’t for ~everyone~ because they do get sticky, it’s a solid way to get a seemingly-natural glow.

VGL recommends:

MADE Beauty Marine Salve – Non-greasy, perfectly hydrating – and edible – we always recommend this salve because of its non-stick formula. It’s really great for hydrating – and highlighting – any part of your body it touches. Buy here, $20

Olio E Osso – Now a GOOP favorite, this brand, from Portland, is all handmade, organic, and is so buttery and smooth, you’ll want to add to a baked potato. Buy here, $28

Oils

Last fashion week season, we got the tea from the legendary Losi, backstage at Tom Ford’s fall/winter 2018 show. The entire show’s beauty look was to make all guys look dewy. “Tom wants to create a nice dewy look that’s healthy for the boys,” Losi told us. “We’re moisturizing the skin first and covering up any blemish, but that’s as far as makeup goes.”

But for that instant (and perhaps the best) glow-up, Losi used oil on the skin to not only hydrate skin, but to give it beautiful dew. Simply place the a small dab of only on your cheekbones and you’ll look seriously like the most plump and juicy dumpling of your dreams.

VGL recommends:

LOLI Beauty Plum Elixir – We just discovered LOLI at a popup the other night and are completely obsessed. We love the brand’s Plum Elixir. In the formula, there’s plum seed oil, seabuckthorn fruit, as well as pomegratate seed. The result: a dew that your skin will slurp as it tries to cope in these cold months. Buy here, $78

Biossance Squalene Vitamin C + Rosehip oil – Is this oil serious? Like, seriously an overachiever? With vitamin C (which brightens), squalene (an antioxidant), and rosehip oil (cell regeneration), you’ll be GLOWING because uh, your skin is literally gorging on a buffet of good ingredients. Buy here, $72

This photographer is showcasing male models and their ‘imperfections’ in a powerful way

It’s no secret that when it comes to the men’s beauty lens, there’s one standard.

Chiseled abs. A tall stature. High cheekbones. Flawless skin.

This idea of a man’s ideal look has had a lasting impact on generations of men and their own self-esteems. But what happens if you peel open the veil of perfection when it comes to models? What if there wasn’t photoshop, beautiful makeup or styling? Would they more closely resemble ~real~ guys?

SEE ALSO: The beauty in blemishes

That’s one of the inspirations behind Osvaldo Ponton, a New York-based photographer’s latest work, “Catch Your Breath.” The series captures male models in their least glamorous light. Without makeup, wardrobe, with sweat on their brows and blood running on their cheeks, the models look every bit human – and relatable. While the photo series started out as test shoots for models, it evolved into something meaningful. “It morphed into showcasing the beauty of different skin tones and skin types,” he tells Very Good Light.

To get these guys in their most raw state, Osvaldo asked each to take a run around the block before the shoot, for up to 30-minutes. The result? A series of powerful photographs that show men in all of their perfect imperfections. Some are shown with hickies, while others showcase their body acne. Others show off their sanguine complexions, scars, and callouses. It proves that behind every perfect seeming model, is a real human who’s filled with ‘imperfections.’ And that’s beautiful.

Below, we speak with Osvaldo about this initiative. 

Talk to us about ‘Catch Your Breath’ and why you started it?

Catch your Breath started because I wanted something to shoot that wouldn’t require a full fashion team on board. I thought male model portraits would be the best way to go, but as soon as I started, I realized I needed something a bit different to make the photos more than simple test portraits. So I had the idea to send the guys out for a run and shoot them as soon as they came back.

And then what happened?

In the beginning, the goal was just to make fun, different portraits, but the project grew. It quickly morphed into showcasing the beauty of different skin tones and skin types. The fun in getting a bit of an unguarded moment, showing that there is beauty in the raw moments.

There are so many photos of men who are sweating, dripping, some red-faced. Why was this important to capture?

It was important to showcase that there is beauty in the colors, sweat, and textures that arise in the skin from physical exercise. So often we try to hide all those things with makeup, retouching, etc. I think pimples, red patches, sweat, etc. all add to the individual’s particular beauty.

What’s the process like? Do you send guys on a mile run and make them come back?

I ask the models to go out and take a run until the feel out of breath. Some models go on 30-minute runs, others, 5-min runs. Some sweat, others don’t. Everyone reacts differently; some guys are in excellent shape so it’s almost impossible to make them sweat from just a quick run.

Why take photos of scabs and scars?

To me, all of these marks, be it a permanent scar or a transitory scab or blemish. It adds personality and beauty. When photographed closely, it’s surrounded by the rest of the skin they become these markings in the topography of the body.

What do you ultimately hope your photos will be able to do?

Hopefully bring a smile to peoples faces. But also have people see models in a more vulnerable moment and with more vulnerable features and realize that the vulnerability and redness and sweat, the scars, etc. don’t detract, but instead, add to what makes someone beautiful.

For more from “Catch Your Breath,” head here

Movember and No-Shave November are NOT the same.

November is that time of year when your bro decides he has to grow out his beard.

Like, he’s been waiting ALL. YEAR. LONG. to join his officemates in a brotastic bonding ritual that requires one to throw their dopp kits into a communal fire.

Yes, among sipping on pumpkin spiced tea and football or something, it’s peak beard season. That means every other furry man crawls out of of his cave to sit, wait, and grow, while patting himself on the back for “doing good for mankind.” We know better. This is a classic excuse for being lazy AF and foregoing grooming altogether. That’s unacceptable and also a crime to humanity. There’s absolutely no reason why others should be forced to bask in the presence of Sasquatches who revel in their own musk.

SEE ALSO: Why mental health conversations with men have to change

While they might be using the month of November as an excuse for their poor hygiene, men who are showing off their beards in hordes are actually promoting a conversation for good. Turns out, beards are actually promoting men’s health and awareness. Specifically, through social movements through two organizations: No-Shave November and Movember.

You may have heard of one, both, or thought they were one in the same. They’re actually two separate organizations for very different causes, lumped together in the same exact month.

First came Movember, an international movement started in Australia in 2003 and attempts to brings awareness to men’s health. The organization asks people to donate to the Movember Foundation, a top nongovernmental funder of prostate and testicular cancer research. Since it began, the organization has raised over $837 million across more than 20 countries. Pretty impressive. This year, the organization expects more than 400,000 “Mo Bros” (mustaches are called a uh, mo in Australia) and “Most Sistas” to participate. They expect to raise over $100 million this year alone. They’re also partnering locally, with places like NYC’s The Assemblage, a co-working and living space. For the entire month starting from Nov 1 – Dec 31, $5 from each room booked will go back to the organization. 

Then, there’s No-Shave November, which started in the fall of 2009 by two Americans. Instead of prostate cancer or research, this one asks men to donate to the American Cancer Society, the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Fight Colorectal Cancer. The organization encourages men to stop shaving and instead, using that money they’d use for grooming supplies for cancer associations. The organization hopes to spark conversations around men’s health and overall well-being. 

Which is more popular? Well, if Instagram has any say, #movember has about 1.8 million photos where as #noshavenovember has around 1.03 million posts. Which is for you? Well, depends on which causes resonate with you the most. Either or, they’re two valiant causes that are indeed, important. At a time when men’s health is vastly overlooked, we see that men need more help than ever. After all, men are now dying by suicide at a rampant pace. Studies show that out of all suicides, 4 out of 5 are by men. And with mental health illnesses on the rise, namely anxiety, it’s a good time to reflect on men and their need to reach out for help when they need. It’s completely sobering, and these two initiatives are really great attempts at opening up conversations around men’s health.

That being said, November is not (repeat: NOT!) a month for you to become a lazy oaf. That means that yes, you need to shower. Yes, you need to trim your nose hairs, and YES, wash your f***ing face – every day. While we’re cool with you growing out your face fur this month (or whenever, really), make sure you still use all hygiene as well. Like any cause, take care of yourself first before attempting to do anything for anyone else.

To learn more about Movember head here and to learn about No-Shave November, here