This guy’s secret to flawless skin involves mixing two ingredients you already own

Let’s get ready for the day with our favorite guys who give good face. It’s our 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 head to Los Angeles to hang out with our friend, Brian Nussbaum, a designer, illustrator and skincare guru. 

Brian Nussbaum, designer, @bpnuss

“I was into Korean beauty before KBeauty was even a thing,” says Brian Nussbaum. We’re drinking smoothies at Kreation in Los Angeles. Which is no surprise at all. Brian’s skin is actually translucent, without even a sign of a blemish anywhere. He wears a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, and shades that fall under his bleached blonde hair. “All of my friends thought I was so crazy for being into Korean culture, now it’s the thing.”

For Brian, who’s a fashion designer and illustrator, who had his own hat line, Shade + Slouch, then moving onto Los Angeles to work for Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s own apparel brand, skincare is more than a process using products. It’s an entire holistic lifestyle. As Brian will tell you, it’s become a part of his identity and provides him with confidence.

To get all of the secrets to Brian’s flawless complexion, we got ready with him recently. Here’s his entire morning regimen.

1 Cleanse.

Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam ($11): Gentle and extremely effective! You only need a pea-sized amount as it’s a water-based cleanser and lathers into a heavy foam. I like to use this in the morning and at night after I’ve used an oil cleanser.”

2 Tone. 

Simple Cleansing Micellar Water ($5): When I’m traveling, I like to keep a small spray bottle of this product with me. The Simple line is great because it is all-natural and extremely affordable. The micellar water is great as a toner or even as a cleanser when my skin is extra sensitive. A couple of sprays and I’m good to go!”

3 Moisturize.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion ($14) & Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($5.49): This is one of my favorite beauty hacks that I’ve been using since I was 14-years old! I have chronically dry skin so I make this combination when I need a heavier moisturizer then Cetaphil alone. Mix a pea-sized amount of Aquaphor with a few pumps of Cetaphil and “compound” the products in your palms – then apply! I make sure I get my face, neck, and collarbone area. I love this compound because the Aquaphor locks in moisture for the rest of the day. Especially great when I have a beard!”

4 Protect.

Solbar Avo SPF-35 ($14.36) & Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen ($13): The most important step in any skincare routine – sun protection. This sunscreen is super effective and leaves my skin with a silky smooth finish. I apply a liberal amount to my face and neck, then do a spray of Neutrogena around my neck, collarbone area, and ears. The Neutrogena smells great, feels good, and also gives a dewy glow to my skin!”

5 Enhance.

IOPE Air Cushion XP and Milk Makeup Coverage Duo: The IOPE is an air cushion compact with SPF 50 and has very, very light coverage. It essentially evens out my skin tone and gives my skin a soft, dewy finish. If I have dark under-eye circles or a breakout, I like to use my Milk Makeup Coverage Duo because it is so easy to apply and is made with natural ingredients that my skin reacts well to. The coverage is still light but enough to correct anything that needs correcting. Both products are designed to be easy and portable, so I usually keep them in my bag throughout the day. “

 6 Brow it out.

Glossier Boy Brow ($16): I finish with my eyebrows, which I brush and plump up using Glossier Boy Brow. The applicator has wide bristles so the end result is a natural-looking brow.”

 7 … and brush it out.

“Boar-Bristle Beard Brush: For the final steps, I brush my beard with a boar-bristle brush. I don’t apply any of the products on my beard directly, so the brush helps blend any remaining concealer into my beard (without discoloring my facial hair) and lock in moisture for the day!”

8 Clear your eyes.

ROHTO Cool Eye Drops ($8.29): When I wake up my eyes are generally a little foggy so I like to use eyedrops to help wake them, and me, up. ROHTO makes the best and most effective eye drops; just be careful because they can be intense for first-time users!”

9 Spritz it on. 

Le Labo Santal 33 ($83): I never leave the house without a spritz of my fragrance, ever. I’m currently wearing Le Labo’s Santal 33 which I love a little too much – I do a spray on each side of my neck, then one on my wrists. One might say this is overkill but I like to smell good so I just charge it!”

10 Keep calm, carry on with moisture.

“Voila! I’m complete! But for an important measure, I’ll obsessively carry Aquaphor with me at all times and like to apply it to my lips and eyelids for added moisture. Am I giving you dewy life, yet?”

John Mayer’s pimples need an intervention

(Photo courtesy

It’s no secret that John Mayer is our favorite beauty vlogger. Crooner by day, beauty enthusiast by night, we live for his every Snap and Instagram Stories’ update.

I mean, he is the genius who coined the term, D.A.T., which stands for Direct Application Technique, one where he applies product directly to his face so no product goes to waste. The application process, of course, isn’t anything new. My own Korean mother, for instance, has been using D.A.T. (lol) since the dawn of my existence.

But yesterday, John confessed on his Instagram Stories that even he, beauty guru extraordinaire, has questions when it comes to his own face. In this case, it was breakouts caused by what he thinks, was makeup.

“My skin was fine,” he says on his Stories. “I do an interview, they put makeup on to somehow get me ready for television. But then, I get zits from the makeup which sends me on a makeup loop and I wanna cover this one now.”

(Photo courtesy

It’s certainly a problem many guys who wear makeup go through. But was the blemish really caused by the makeup or something else? And if it was caused by makeup, what can you actually do? For these answers, we consulted our friend Alicia Campbell, a New York-based makeup artist and skincare expert known for working with the biggest rockers in the industry. These range from the likes of the guys of Metallica, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, among others.

According to her, John’s breakouts could have resulted in many factors.

Other than the obvious, working with a groomer who actually understands men’s skin, Alicia says that caking on makeup can definitely be a culprit when it comes to breakouts.

“Makeups artists tend to be heavy handed when applying face makeup to men, which isn’t necessary unless they’re appearing on television,” she says. “But less is better than more, even if it’s for HD television.”

Another possibility for the breakouts? Using a bacteria-infested, unclean makeup brush. “I would suggest he bring his own concealer and brush so he knows it hasn’t been in contact with anyone else and properly clean,” she tells Very Good Light.

To ensure his brushes are properly sanitized Alicia suggests that he tell the makeup artist to sanitize any concealer with alcohol before application. For anyone at home, simply washing brushes with a gentle hair shampoo and laying it out flat, will do.

Possibly most important than applying the makeup is how you take it off, Alicia says. “Keeping everything clean and sanitized and taking makeup off immediately after television or film is key,” she tells us. “Then, if you still have breakouts, a spot treatment will do.”

Here’s a list of products you should use, John:

For getting that acne to settle down, Nelson’s natural acne gel is a miracle. Simply apply after cleansing your skin and dab it on evenly across the face.
Then, use La Roche-Posey’s Effaclar Duo. It reduces all types of acne blemishes and has benzoyl peroxide that will fight acne deep in the skip. It’s non-drying as moisturizing as well, so basically, perfect.
If you’re looking to hide that zit, try Cle De Peau , basically the industry’s go-to when it comes to concealers. “It’s creamy and the most blendable formula and is a favorite amongst the biggest makeup gurus in the industry,” Alicia says.
If you’re looking for something matte, try Nars Immaculate Ultra-light Complexion Concealer , which comes in a tube. Simply apply on a specific area, dab with your fingers, and go.
Finally, Alicia suggests Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage . Its two tones allow you to blend up your perfect shade.
If you’re going through acne, Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer with treatment will do wonders. It’ll hide your blemishes while also treating it at its core.

Why this beauty app has me completely shook.

(Photo by Joel Alexander/Very Good Light)

Are certain beauty products killing you?

It’s a worthwhile conjecture, one that deserves to be further investigated. Though there are countless rules and regulations when it comes to food and drugs, the same isn’t applied to the cosmetics industry. In a study conducted in 2012, there were more than 400 brands that had traces of lead in its lipsticks. And it’s extremely disturbing to know that the FDA’s regulations when it comes to makeup is less stringent than those of Europe. In 2003, the EU banned more than 1,300 products, while the U.S. banned 11.

A horrifying fact, for sure, but one that’s far from new news. In fact, historically, makeup has been lethal for its wearers. Lead has been used in eye shadows from Egypt, where Cleopatra famously painted hers with lethal Kohl, to England, where Queen Elizabeth painted her face white with lead.

So when my friend Kaitlyn told me about an iPhone app that tells you exactly what nefarious products are sleeping on your top shelf or medicine cabinet, I immediately downloaded it. It’s called Think Dirty, an app by Lily Tse, who launched it a few years ago. At launch, it was able to scan the bar codes of over 70,000 products. Today, it has over 660,000 in its database.

The app is pretty easy to use. You simply type in the products you’re looking for or scan them into the system. It then tells you exactly what ingredients are found in them and how toxic it is from a scale of 0 (really safe) to 10 (extremely unsafe). While the system still doesn’t have new products like Milk Makeup, it has most of your drug store staples from the likes of CoverGirl, Almay, Maybelline.

When we scanned this brow and eye pencil from CoverGirl, we were shocked to find that it was at a rating of 10. While most of its ingredients were pretty safe and good for you, it was one ingredient, butylparaben, that gave it its rating. A quick tap onto butylparaben on the app shows that it’s use as a preservative and often used as a fragrance as well. Its health impacts seem extremely unsettling: It’s toxic to reproduction, is a hormone disruptor and a carcinogen.

Next, we scanned our favorite lip balm, C.O. Bigelow’s rose salve. It was rated an 8 because of one ingredient: Cinnamal. It, too, was a perfuming agent and was known to irritate your skin and cause immunotoxicity. Ironic, because it’s supposed to prevent and soothe chapped lips.

After scanning more products, it was clear that most of the ingredients that were toxic were perfumes or preservatives. While there’s certainly studies from what happens when you get into contact with large doses of these ingredients, when used sparingly, it’s “presumed safe.” This, according to the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976. While these are said to be toxic for you, there still isn’t conclusive evidence that deems it absolutely bad for you. Meaning, there isn’t a clear link between your moisturizer and cancer or illnesses. It’s a fact that allows me to sleep at night, knowing that I’ve been using “toxic” ingredients according to Think Dirty, for almost a decade.

While I’m not completely getting rid of my entire beauty closet, I have definitely consulted with this app before purchasing anything new. For any a beauty lover or user, I strongly suggest you download this before you put anything else on your face or body.

The next trend with Korean couples may surprise you.

(Is couple’s makeup the next in big beauty trends? Photo courtesy Elle Korea)

There are basic couples. Then, there are Korean.

For South Koreans, being in a relationship isn’t situational. It’s all-consuming. Meaning, couples’ lives completely revolve around each other. No wonder then, there are special milestones that are widely celebrated, from the first 100 days of one’s relationship, Valentine’s Day (where the girl gives the guy gifts), White Day (where the guy gives the girl the gift), to secret two-way messaging apps for couples only.

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To go a step further, Korean couples intertwine their lives completely together. Meaning, they even dress alike, in a matchy-matchy fashion craze that’s been well-documented in the past few years. 

Who needs matching socks when you can match each other’s exact skin tone?

While western publications have touted this as a recent phenomenon, this trend has been going on for more decades. The idea is simple: To feel more connected to your lover, you wear out clothing that is matchy-matchy, from shoes, socks to your shirt and trousers. It’s a sign of devotion, sure. But it also has a practical element to it, warding off any potential rivals who will get the hint that the girl or guy you’re standing next to is definitely taken.

(Photo courtesy:

(Photo courtesy:

But matchy-matchy couple’s dress has been going on for a few decades and isn’t anything new. What’s next? Couple’s makeup. Give it up for Korean couples to really take it to the next level. Yep, Koreans are now purchasing makeup and skincare works for both of them. Who needs matching socks when you can match each other’s exact skin tones?

The latest in Kbeauty? Couple’s makeup. (Photo Courtesy: Cosmopolitan Korea)

“Korea is a very communal society, so you can feel quite out of place if you’re not coupled up or with family,” says Charlotte Cho, the co-founder of the Kbeauty e-commerce site, Soko Glam, to Very Good Light. “It’s common to see couples wearing matching outfits from head-to-toe, to declare their ‘oneness.’ So using the same skincare/makeup products is actually a very smart tactic that I can see succeeding in Korea.”

In a country where men are completely obsessed with skincare and appearance, where over 70% of military men have a sophisticated grooming regimen, and where most men have over 13 beauty products they use monthly, it’s no surprise that guys are as into makeup as their girlfriends.

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“Men in Korea are more secure about using beauty products because at an early age they have been part of a society that highly values appearances, first impressions and a skin first philosophy,” Charlotte says to Very Good Light. “Applying sunscreen, mists and hydrating tinted moisturizers is just part of being hygienic, and don’t see self care or beauty products as necessarily a masculine or a feminine practice.”

(Say no more, babe. Let’s paint our faces identically today. Photo courtesy Vogue Korea)

The trend reached fever pitch during White Day this past March 14, where brands were touting “self-gifting.” The premise is simple: Buy a gift for your girlfriend, and be able to use the products for yourself. And since men are as obsessed with makeup and skincare, it’s one that seems completely genius.

Brands like The Body Shop launched in-store campaigns to sell their “No-Filter cushion” compacts. “The No-Filter Cushion is a product that’s great for using as a couple,” the signage reads. For 29,000 Won (~$22 USD), getting that matching glow like the girl or guy you’re infatuated with, seems like a steal.

(Photo by Hana Pak/Very Good Light)

Others, like April Skin introduced products that promote sensuality. Their couple’s “Lip Treatments” come in a set of two, one is strawberry flavored and the other, milk, hopes to have couples making out a little more. While the flavors stand on their own, consumers can only really get the full flavor, strawberry milk, when they mix it together. Meaning, you’ll need to taste someone’s lips to get that strawberry milk taste. “You can get a more romantic experience with your significant other by wanting to kiss each other’s lips even more,” the brand touts. 

Then, there are unisex skincare brands that have bubbled up in the past few years to cater to this couple’s trend. Brands like +Dr C are touting their brands for men and women to use in their own bathrooms. The brand believes that skincare is completely sensual, especially when you’re using the same product together. The skincare brand says that the brand not only is paraben and silicone-free, but includes ingredients that are great for any skin type.

Whether it’s makeup, skin care, or something gimmicky, couple’s skincare actually makes sense. Skincare is a very intimate experience. And applying skincare to another person, means you’re not only bonding with one another, but doing so in a sensual manner.

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“Couple’s outfits are cutesy and all but when you’re wearing the same products, you feel connected, even if you’re apart,” a friend from Korea recently told me via Kakao talk. “So when I use the same skincare, it’s like I can feel my girlfriend. It’s that connection we’re looking for.” Totally makes sense.

Skincare making relationships even stronger? Hey, we’re all for that.

This is the genius shaving cream you never knew you needed

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Shaving cream? What’s shaving?

If you’re anything like me, you take to a razor probably once in a blue moon. That is, once a month when your face looks like a prickly cactus, shriveling underneath a Brooklyn radiator (is it summer yet?). At least, that’s what I look like. Admittedly, I’m not the most genetically gifted when it comes to sprouting real facial hair (though I do have more than the average Korean). Call it a gift or a curse, whatever the case, it’s definitely saved me having to go out and spending $$$ on beard oils, razors, shaving creams and after shaves.

SEE ALSO: I’m an Asian and have major beard envy

So when I do go for shaving, it’s usually with a generic shaving cream that I have to pump out of a boring can, or an artisanal Brooklyn shave gel that’s worth more than my entire week’s worth of bagels (that’s like, a lotta bagelz).

Which is why I was super intrigued when Pacific Shaving Company sent me a bag of single use mini pods. Literally, I remember being tickled at how clever this grooming product was. More so, just how useful it was. The bag is full of 40 mini pods that resemble detergents for your dishwasher or laundry.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and enhance the shaving experience,” explains CC Sofronas, co-founder of Pacific Shaving Company, to Very Good Light. “With that said, inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. So after seeing the single-dose success stories across the food, laundry and dish detergent categories, we realized the potential for shaving cream.” Yes, so genius!

“No need to think about portion control for shaving cream, instead use that brain power to figure out how much toothpaste to use!” Toothpaste? That’s another story.

The bag comes with 40 pods in total. I’d highly recommend you refrain from grabbing any with wet fingers, as it’ll ruin all of the pods altogether (amateur mistake I made). Mistake #2 was putting the bag in an exterior bag in my check-in luggage for a flight. A lot of the pods popped, leaving a bag full of sad, crushed, dead morsels. But for the ones that survived (there were a dozen or so!), they were resilient to hold in your hand. That is, until coming in contact with water. That’s when they burst into a freshly mint-fragranced handful of perfect shaving cream.

When you lather the product into your hand, you realize this isn’t just a gimmick. It’s real shaving cream that feels even better than any I’ve come across. It’s goes onto your face smooth, thick, but not like traditional shaving cream that has that foamy texture. It’s almost like a thicker moisturizer that gets super soapy but still coats you, protecting your skin from any razor burns or cuts. After rinsing off the product, I realized just how supple my face still was. It wasn’t dried out from the shave. Then while applying a toner afterwards, I had zero burn. Huh.

This product definitely changes the way I’m shaving. Bad news for Pacific Shaving Company: 40 pods will last me around 4 years since I’ll be using only one per month. AKA what a great investment for me.

Buy Pacific Shaving Company Shaving Cream Minis here for $8.99

I love donuts so much I glazed my face like one

I’m on this new workout regimen that allows me to eat donuts.

Not that it’s like, a real diet or that my instructors know that I secretly gorge on glazed, fried, circular puffs every other night. Working out, in my mind, is all about being allowed to then eat any and everything in sight without remorse.


Chiseled abs < puff pastries. Ketosis diet? More like Cheetos-sis, pass them over, diet. Lol.

The other night, while admiring a perfectly rotund glazed donut, I realized just how beautiful it was. Not only did it shimmer in the dim light, it glowed like someone who had baked their face for hours on end. Forget highlighting, forget strobing! This glazed donut was onto something. What was its secret?

Thus, was born my own inspiration to glow in a natural, subtle, delectable, donut manner. After researching glazes, I found that the sweet sugar would seep through my pores and cause acne. The next best thing? Marine salve. It’s one I found from the brand MAKE Beauty, and is completely edible. The salve is for using on anywhere chapped, from your hands, fingers, to face and perfect for my own.

(Make Beauty’s Marine Salve is edible, and also perfect for glazing your face. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Instead of using a strobe or grabbing my usual highlighter, I simply added a sheer layer of BB cream and dabbed a few dollops of salve onto my cheeks and my eyelids. It cut my entire regimen in half and I didn’t have to feel like I was too caked on.

(A pea-sized amount will get you really far.)

Step 1: Dab onto cheekbones and eyelids

Step 2: massage it into your skin

Step 3: Do the glow test by finding that light. You’re ready!

To test out how glazed I could be, I used this method at my friend Stevie’s 30th birthday party. Or, more precisely, his funeral mourning his 20’s. Sure, your face would glow in the daytime, but could it work at night? Would you shine like you’re a hormonal teen or exude that dew in the most healthy of ways? Donut, I will not let you down, I declared!

That night, I got ready in less than 3 minutes. I put on a pair of ripped jeans and an Alpha Industries flight jacket and headed out the doors downtown to the Lower East Side. Making my way to pose for two photos, I waited to see if my glazed donut face would do any justice. And after looking at the results? Well, see here for yourself.

Here I am with Dan Michel, fashion editor at Men’s Health getting hungry from my complexion.

(Photo by: Adrian Cabrero)

And here I am cropping out all my friends, glazing.

(Photo by: Adrian Cabrero)

At the end of the night, I came home and reviewed my photos while eating the glazed donut of my dreams. Yas, donut, yas! I did it. I was you. You were me. I think I made you proud. How’d I do, guys? Comment below!