• UO Interviews: David Yi of Very Good Light

    Celebrating men's beauty bloggers is just as important as celebrating women's beauty bloggers, which is why we were immediately drawn to David Yi's website Very Good Light. Started less than a year ago, Very Good Light "aims to redefine masculinity and men's beauty standards" by making makeup and skincare a lot less scary for men. With articles ranging from bronzing tutorials to essays about feeling comfortable in BB creams, there are tips for all kinds of men out there. We recently met up with David to talk about where he sees the beauty industry going, his own skincare regimen and what he hopes guys take away from his site.
    Photos by Frankie Marin, shot at Chapter 2 and UO

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog Very Good Light?
    I'm a fashion journalist turned beauty editor and now a newly minted entrepreneur. I've been in the industry for almost a decade now, as a reporter for publications like the New York Daily News, Women's Wear Daily and launched the first fashion vertical at Mashable. After honing my writing and reporting craft, I realized my bigger calling was to create a hub for young men that was not only inclusive but empowering. Very Good Light was born out of the idea that beauty comes from the inside out. Grooming, then, is only a funnel to redefine masculinity and men's beauty. We cover topics from how-to guides in the form of Gifs, the best products to try, but also have the human aspect. From stories about what it's like to be a Muslim-American teen in a post-Trump fueled era, to the politics behind wearing a turban, I want to tell stories that need to be told. I think that that's my responsibility as a journalist to continue pushing culture forward. That's what I hope resonates with younger men. 

    What made you decide to start your blog?
    I saw a void in the market for smart, compelling and progressive grooming. I knew that beauty was a huge aspect of my own life, but there weren't any websites that I could go to really learn about makeup, skincare, and techniques. So many publications out there are limited to being hypermasculine and boxing themselves in this small, confined heteronormative space. Where was a guy like me supposed to go who didn't fit into that mold? I decided to carve my own path and to devote my career to this younger, more progressive guy who always felt like he was an outlier. I wanted to empower him and let him know that he's not alone and he's awesome how he is. 

    You think guys shouldn’t be afraid of skincare or even makeup. What do you think is a good skincare brand for guys who are just starting to get serious about skin? 
    I think a good go-to brand is Laneige. It's Korean, so we already know it's forward-thinking. But it's also now sold in places like Target, an amazing retailer that's not only progressive but approachable. I love Laneige for its price points, but I am so enthused about it because it's a brand I used growing up. It worked for me and know it can work for others who are embarking on their journeys. 

    We were talking about how a neutral eyeshadow or a subtle highlighter doesn’t have to be scary for guys. Do you have any tips for someone who’s just starting to dabble with makeup?
    I'd say try using a BB cream. It's super sheer, doesn't cake on like foundation and is hardly noticeable. The next step would be trying a concealer. Bobbi Brown has an amazing retouching wand that airbrushes any of your blemishes much like Photoshop would. I'd then start using a cushion, which is essentially BB cream in a compact. It goes on light, is super hydrating and most are multitaskers, meaning, they will treat your skin at the same time. 

    What about favorite brands? Any product recommendations? 
    I'm a sucker for any brand that promotes skin care and is a multitasker. That is, it does more than one job. It works hard for you! These days I'm into Make Prem's Black Cleansing Water. It cleans your skin while hydrating at the same time. I also love Huxley's anti-gravity cream. It hydrates while also fending off your skin from pollution or any environmental stress. Other than that, I'm a sucker for face mists. Ren has an anti-pollution mist that I'm really into, but anything rosewater or coconut water is also my go-to. For face wash, I will always be a huge fan of Cetaphil. It's made by dermatologists and for those who want something gentle but effective. 

    Can you walk us through your own skincare routine?
    In the morning I will have a 5-step process. It starts with a cleanser, then a toner mist, some essence, eye cream and then SPF. If I'm looking for coverage, I'll use BB cream as a base, dab some concealer, massage it into my skin with my cushion and then throw on a highlighter to create the dewy look that's so popular in South Korea. At night, it's a bigger process. I'll double cleanse, mask, spray a toner mist, add essence, eye cream, hydrating cream and will sometimes use a sleeping mask. It takes love and care to truly get good skin. I'm all about being plump and supple. 

    You were telling us a little bit about a young almost-pastor who finally let his alter-ego, Stella, out, which is really inspiring. Do you have any other people you look up to in the beauty or fashion world?
    I look up to so many heroes in this industry. One is Aliza Licht, formerly known at DKNY PR Girl and power woman with the bestselling book, Leave Your Mark. She's now the ‎EVP Brand Marketing & Communications at alice + olivia. Aliza spotted me as a young 22-year old nobody and always sat me front row at DKNY and Donna Karan. We've kept in touch throughout the years and she's always had nothing but inspiring words that propelled me forward. I don't know what I've done in life to deserve such kindness and the belief that I truly could do whatever I set my mind to. Very Good Light was a small idea and Aliza gave me that confidence to move forward. I hope to make her proud. 

    What do you wish guys knew about skincare and/or makeup?
    I wish men knew that skincare and makeup are their friends, not foe. There is definitely nothing to be afraid of and grooming is here to stay. It's like menswear in 2010. Guys were a little hesitant to delve with both feet in but thanks to the NBA and hip-hop stars like Kanye West, dressing up and being interested in fashion wasn't just trendy, it was a given. Grooming is following suit. Just as you would brush your teeth in the morning, you'd want to put on SPF. 

    Finally, what do you hope to see in the fashion/beauty industry in 2017?
    The boy beauty movement we are a part of is not some trend. It's here to stay. It's a true movement of men who are taking control of their own lives and pampering themselves in the process. Men's grooming is a $60 billion worldwide industry and in the U.S. we're seeing that more and more guys want to dabble into it if they already haven't. I'm so proud to be a part of this industry and humbled to be allowed to tell these stories. I hope that our readers will be with us for the ride. After all, they always come first!

    To see more from David, follow him on Instagram