“A lot of Instagram accounts about skin care, I think can sometimes talk over people’s heads. And either that they sound a little too expert, or, sometimes to me, they sound a little too much like an ad for something,” says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, dermatologist and founder of the eponymous brand. She was not aware of Dewy Dudes when the two invited her to be a guest on the podcast, but even as a dermatologist with 40 years in the business, Ciraldo found their approach instantly appealing. “I loved it. I am the mother of four young adults, they’re all in their 30s, and I felt that it was super relatable.”
For all their use of head-empty, heart-full himbo posturing, Shinn and Quezada attribute expert guests like Ciraldo with inspiring them to shape up their skin care knowledge. But the episodes that draw the most attention, they say, feature guests whose expertise lies elsewhere, or who court controversy. Take Caroline Calloway, the influencer who has made a career turning public gaffes into clout, who went on the pod to discuss her turn to OnlyFans and the launch of her face product (the appropriately named Snake Oil).
In general what makes the show entertaining has little to do with learning which products will actually make you dewy. An episode might also discuss bidets, Rihanna, or any subject tangentially related to skin care—which is to say any human with a face. “Everyone has a skin care journey,” Shinn says.
The choice speaks to the way in which the concept of “beauty” has expanded in recent years to contain an all-encompassing wellness experience. “It’s not enough just to have normal or good skin, but now you have to be glowing, you have to be snatched, you have to be dewy, all of that. And I do think also it has to do with a re-found obsession with wellness, because skin is a reflection of your health,” says the beauty writer Sable Yong, who has appeared on the podcast.
This expansion of beauty to mean more than just “looking pretty” has gotten more men, and especially straight men, into beauty and skin care. But with that also comes the reductive praise that straight men are “challenging beauty standards,” praise which rarely acknowledges that those same men are able to dip their painted toenails into traditionally feminine practices without actually being beholden to traditional femininity’s exacting beauty standards.
“Men in general are lucky that the pressure is less,” says Kareem Rahma, a comedian who has also been a guest on the podcast. “It’s like, I feel good about what I’m doing. And I feel good that I’m taking care of myself, but I don’t feel like I have to really modify myself or try unbelievably hard to get something that I simply can’t achieve.”
But while the bar is perhaps lower for men in terms of aesthetics, there is still quite a bit of stigma against caring for themselves at all, either aesthetically or emotionally. Dewy Dudes posits that straight men can not only engage in self care through the ritual of skin care, but talk about it openly. This is still something of a novelty in a world where a guy curious about how to look more attractive is liable to stubble across genuinely toxic spaces where ideas like “looksmaxing” run parallel to incel and men’s rights discourse.
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