“Finally, the idea which unites everyone: the idea of Beauty…”
— Holderlin, 1796
On a Sunday night, at their Logan Square apartment in Chicago, @dewydudes and I talk about Instagram. Vintage tennis rackets and a Frank Lloyd Wright drawing hang above the television. An exceptionally dusty pile of New Yorker magazines occupy a small corner in their stylish bathroom. Much to the chagrin of the Dewy Dudes, the mirror in the bathroom is not a medicine cabinet. It’s just a mirror.
The dudes are Evan Shinn and Emilio Quezada, and yes, they are dewy. Shinn, an event strategist at the local firm Creative Republic, works in event marketing, and Quezada is a Chicago-based music producer and actor. But first and foremost, they are skincare sages.
Dewy Dudes is a universe of masculine-identifying folk who care about skincare. That universe takes the form of an Instagram meme account, with their first post launched at the Glossier Chicago Pop-Up this past September. Their social media following is modest (a certifiably vegan 2.1k and counting), but some exciting brands (like Glossier and Hims) have promoted their content so their network is growing daily. On the horizon is a publication, podcast, and several budding brand partnerships.
Their project is an attempt to change the male perception of beauty and skincare, while trying to promote a certain kind of masculine vulnerability.
They don’t see skincare as something exclusive and reserved only for certain groups of people, but rather come from the belief that beauty is a routine — part of a greater lifestyle of holistic wellbeing that’s for everyone. “We want to dismantle masculine constructs, without displacing feminist spaces,” explains Shinn.
The two want to talk about something more than the superficial, something greater than what’s out there in the magazines and on Instagram. To them, beauty is not aspirational.
“People associate beauty with negative things — like manipulative marketing, or a certain look — but it should be an internalized thing that you feel,” says Quezada. “A lot of messaging says you’re not doing enough, which is intimidating and obviously negative. We want to make people feel comfortable enough to care and participate. It’s an effort to create a community. People send us photos of themselves feeling themselves and it’s cool and we want to encourage that.”
But is beauty a revolutionary idea? Or is it inherently conservative?
Shinn and Quezada aim to be role models in a time of influencers — and they are. Considering the mindblowing amount of toxic sludge propounded by people that use the Internet, it’s nice that there are some people trying to share something positive.
They want their project to be inclusive and intersectional, affirming and encouraging people who had not felt welcomed by the beauty and wellness community. “It starts by getting people comfortable enough to give a shit about something as simple as skincare,” states Shinn.
Quezada encourages starting out small. The point is to find what works for you, not to get the most expensive or popular solution.
A super basic starting point they recommend is to get a cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliator, and, of course, sunscreen. Quezada uses the Elemis sensitive cleansing wash, Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb, and Biore UV Watery Essence sunscreen, while Shinn uses the water-based Skinfood Tea Tree Oil cleanser, Glossier’s Milky Jelly cleanser, and Neogen Green Tea Exfoliating masks once or twice a week.
For those who already have their basics down, the partners recommend taking on the winter with Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner, Shiva Rose Radiant Rose Water (from The Fullest SHOP), Timeless Vitamin C serum, Fresh Rose face mask, and Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin mist.
But most importantly, they recommend treating your body like the beautiful house that it is.
“We want to start by making these ideas accessible,” says Shinn. “At the end of the day, we’re not saving the world. There are serious conversations to be had about the beauty illuminati and we’re just the jesters in the room.”
Photos by: Kristina Pedersen.