The New Normal: Dissecting the Male Ideal

TEXT: Alexander Sauve 

Similar to the female standards of beauty, the male ideal is nearly impossible to achieve and maintain. It’s a standard that continually evolves and is driven by the media and entertainment industry. With Pride month well underway, Novella takes a look at the emerging new standards of male beauty and we find that one size does not necessarily fit all.

1960s: Liberated and Outrageously Sexy

The 1960s was a decade of significant cultural and political upheaval. Before the gay liberation movement, it was absolutely imperative to “pass” as heterosexual. After the Stonewall Riots of 1969, coming out became an act of defiance against the anti-gay establishment. Men in greater numbers would break free from the traditional clean-shaven, perfectly quaffed and overly conservative mold of the ’50s. By the early 1970s, gay men found inspiration in uber-masculine male stereotypes — the lumberjack, the cowboy, the biker, and the construction worker would become the epitome of the masculine ideal.

1970s: A decade of Decadence

In the era of Studio 54 and Bowie and Warhol, a period of decadence and self-expression rolled in. Although the uber-masculine ideal was in full swing, many gay men would begin to defy old-school gender binaries by experimenting with makeup, tight clothes, and longer hairstyles. The look was androgynous, young, and free-spirited. The underground Drag Ball culture of New York was gaining popularity and would eventually become synonymous with the worldwide LGBT community.

1980s: The Athletic Ideal

As the fitness models exercised, sweated, and posed in various states of undress in Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 smash hit Physical, the athletic male ideal was born. Men were muscular, athletic, and tanned to a leathery golden crust. Essentially the “All-American Look” of the 1980s fitness craze would have a tremendous influence on male beauty, fashion, and grooming ideals. A body that is fit, healthy, and lean remains the most sought after body type for both men and women alike.

1990s: The Era of the Supermodel

Arguably the last generation of the true supermodel-models Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss was the envy of every young woman and gay man in the 1990s. But a crop of top male models — Marcus Schenkenberg, Mark Vanderloo, and Tyson Beckford — would set the standard of male beauty in the era of perfection. With their chiseled features and tall and well-defined physiques, these guys were the new epitome of the masculine ideal.

Early 2000’s: The Metrosexual Man

By the early 2000s, we saw an increase of confident and stylish men taking greater pride in their appearance. In this era, men enjoyed high-quality grooming products, designer threads, and perfectly styled hair. The metrosexual is usually found in urban jungles where grooming and shopping is easy. Most often heterosexual, these stylish and well-groomed men put some of their gay counterparts to shame.

2010: The Casual Hipster

In many ways, the hipster would set a new standard for male grooming and style. From full and thick beards to plaid shirts and oversized frames, their casual and uber-sexy style is one of the most sought after styles for millennials. Noted to be somewhat overly trendy, the hipster loves all things organic, distinctive, and individual. Unfortunately, the individuality thing only goes so far, since the term ‘hipster’ goes as far back as the 1940s and saw an reemergence with a different meaning in the 1990s.

Today: The Bearded Beauty

Today it’s all about lumberjack. The new male archetype is bearded, uber-masculine, and is good with an axe (probably not really though). An ode to the lumbersexual and anti-establishment of the 1960s and 70s, beards give a rugged and enigmatic appearance to even the prettiest of male faces. Think Ryan Reynolds in The Amityville Horror (2005), without the crazy.

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Review: Caudalie Vinoperfect

As I’ve mentioned in other skincare reviews that I’ve done, my skin is a rather tricky thing. More recently my skincare routine has graduated from a mediocre and lazy 2-step wash and moisturize system to a more advanced regime of makeup removal, cleanse, tone/peel, and moisturize. So things are looking up. But just when I thought I had finally mastered the art of skincare, things like essence and serum were thrown into the mix.

I discovered that a Korean skincare routine could involve anywhere from 10 to 30 products (which is completely mind boggling to me because who on earth has that much spare time to wash their face). Anyway, most North Americans, including myself, are accustomed to a 3-step “cleanse, treat, and moisturize” system. Simple. It only begins to get complicated when there is an attempt to throw in a few Korean skincare steps, particularly the essence and serum part.

Let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms. An essence is a highly enriched, lightweight formula to be applied to the entire face, traditionally after washing and toning, to prepare the skin for oncoming products such as a serum. A serum is a concentration of nutrients to be applied for a particular purpose such as brightening, anti-aging, or to combat specific problem areas of the face like dark spots or acne.

Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

To be completely and 100% honest, I had no idea what an essence was when I started using this product. Is it a toner? Micellar water? Cleansing milk? Serum? Do I drink it? Pour it on my face? What? I didn’t understand. Essence is a somewhat vague and pretentious word to describe skincare if you ask me. Once I did some research and discovered what I was supposed to do with it, it began to make more sense to me.

This stuff is like citrusy, magic water for your skin. Applying it feels like you’re infusing your face with refreshing spa water. The soothing formula includes white peony to brighten and grape water to moisturize. Don’t worry, it’s not another product that feels good but does nothing for you. The Glycolic acid gently exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells without the need for rough cleansers or harsh deep cleaning face masks. Did I mention it smells incredible?

Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

I’ve used a couple of serums in the past and they never really made a huge difference to my skin, so I kind of lost faith in the power of serums. I think the combination of the essence with the radiance serum is what restored my faith. If this product is used solo, the results take longer to show, and the effects are less noticeable. I think that to really notice the benefits it should be used consistently and hand-in-hand with the essence. This product is great for help correcting dark spots and evening out your overall complexion to give your face a more healthy and glowy appearance if it is used after the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence.

Final Thoughts

I don’t have a lot to say. This stuff is like my new skin care crack. I’m addicted. I can visibly see and feel the difference in my skin’s tone and texture. My face looks healthier and glowy, and because of this I feel more confident not wearing makeup. If you’re going to add any of these Asian inspired skin care steps into your routine, I recommend adding the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence. It is definitely worth a try if you’re struggling to get rid of your dull, vitamin deprived skin.

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Novella’s Fathers Day Gift Guide: For the Well-Groomed Gentlemen Found in all Our Dads

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

If you’re looking for something a little bit different for Father’s Day this year, these high-quality skincare brands and grooming tools are bound to impress. So skip the tie and dress shirt and give him something he really wants.

Les Industries Groom

If you have been searching relentlessly for the perfect gift for dad who also happens to be of the bearded variety, look no further than Les Industries Groom’s Beard Grooming Kit ($90.00). This multifunctional kit includes everything your dad will need to rock his beard this Father’s Day.

Tough on dirt and grime, Grooms Conditioning Beard Wash is formulated to deeply clean and condition the beard, yet gentle enough to protect the skin from dryness and irritation. Certainly something all dads can appreciate. It’s naturally fragranced with clary sage, lime, juniper, and pine.

Groom’s uber-masculine Tobacco Beard Oil is lightweight but dense, and works well for all beard types. Beard oil tames those unruly whiskers while keeping it healthy and conditioned. The key ingredients include sandalwood, spikenard, and tobacco.

For optimum results, follow with Groom’s game changing Beard Balm to style and shape the beard. High-quality ingredients include cedar wood, bergamot, lavender, and pine.

For other fine grooming products search www.lesindustriesgroom.com

American Crew

Cool and refreshing, Crew’s Revitalizing Toner ($16.68) soothes and hydrates freshly shaved and prepped skin. This lightly scented toner tightens pores, evens skin tone, and smooth’s out the complexion. Skin is left feeling rejuvenated, clean and polished. Apply directly after shaving for best results.

Crew’s Moisturizing Shave Cream ($15.95) gives an extra close shave without over drying or irritating the skin. Its rich and hydrating lather is ideal for all skin types and works well for clean-shaven dads or those in search of the perfect beard line.

Similar to the amazing benefits serum brings to the face, Crew’s unique Beard Serum ($19.63) offers an incredibly soothing yet highly effective blend of high-quality ingredients that soften, smooth, and condition the beard. This fast absorbing serum instantly leaves the beard healthy, well nourished, and free from breakage.

American Crew products can be found at salons throughout the Toronto area and online at www.americancrew.com

Clinique

Clinique is a great example of a beauty and grooming brand that understands the skincare needs of both men and women. Recently, the skin gurus at the iconic brand have launched the Maximum Hydrator for men  ($46.00), which hydrates the skin for an astonishing 24 hours due to its highly activated water-gel concentrate. It tightens and firms the skin while minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s formulated for all skin types and is 100% fragrance free. Apply to face in the morning and evening.

For high-quality men’s skincare, shop www.clinique.com

Esquire Grooming

Since 1933, Esquire Grooming has been a leader in men’s grooming and styling tools. Known for their high-performance Thickening Creams, Firm Gels, and Pomades, Esquire understands life is hectic and complicated enough for our dads, and that his grooming and styling regimen shouldn’t be.

Esquires 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash ($17.50) is guaranteed to save your dad a few extra minutes in the morning before his important meeting. Fragranced with Oud, this multifunctional wash cleans and moisturizes the skin without leaving a heavy or oily residue after use. This 3-in-1 time saver is also a perfect companion for after the gym or a quick get-away to the cottage.

Esquire grooming products and tools can be found at www.esquiremensgrooming.com

Philips Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer

Unfortunately, there comes a time in every man’s life where general grooming will reach far beyond styling the beard and shaving the face. Dads of a certain age can all attest that eventually hair will begin to grow in the most unfortunate of places. From pesky ear and nose hair to unruly eyebrows, the Philips Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer ($19.99) allows for painless and easy hair removal due to its advanced ProtecTube technology and angled design.

Find this product at www.bestbuy.ca

Conair Even Cut: Cordless Circular Haircut Kit

With his fast paced and hectic lifestyle, there is bound to be a time when dad needs a quick touch-up between barber visits. The Conair Even Cut ($49.99) gives a straight even cut every time without the fuss. This cordless little wonder, with its unique rotating blades and easy to use design, allows for easy cutting along the sides and back of the head. Perfect for the classic military cut or other tightly cropped hairstyles.

The Conair Even Cut can be found online at www.conaircanada.ca

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Review: Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range

I can’t think of anything more frustrating and irritating than a shitty hair day. If your hair looks bad, you immediately feel uncomfortable and out of your element. It is like your safety blanket is damaged and unable to protect you. According to Viviscal, a woman spends nearly $50,000 on hair maintenance during her lifetime, and over 1/3 of women admit they’ve canceled plans because they don’t like how they look, and 1/4 women avoid going on a date when they have a bad hair day. It’s safe to say that having good hair is important to us women.

Viviscal has been researching hair for over 20 years, and have developed the most researched 100% drug-free hair supplement. The new shampoo, conditioner and elixir work with Viviscal’s clinically proven hair growth supplements as a unique dual-action system for thicker, body-boosting volume to attain gorgeous locks. Viviscal’s new Gorgeous Growth Densifying hair care range aims to work from the outside to make your hair look thick and luscious. Each Gorgeous Growth product contains Viviscal’s proprietary complex Ana: Tel™,  which contains clinically tested ingredients from natural sources, including pea sprouts, and nourishes strands with Biotin, Zinc, and Keratin to leave hair looking thicker and fuller. The Shampoo cleanses with a light, creamy lather and rinses out easily. It has a refreshing botanical scent that lasts. The Conditioner has a weightless formula that moisturizes the hair. The Elixir is a lightweight, body-boosting leave-in treatment for thicker looking hair.

My Experience

I’ll be honest, after my first time using Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range (the shampoo, conditioner, and elixir) I didn’t notice a huge difference in the thickness or denseness of my hair. Since I naturally have thick hair, the first time I used the product trio I only noticed that it gave my hair some added texture. It wasn’t until I gave the shampoo, conditioner, and hair elixir another chance that I began to see more noticeable results. Like I said, regarding thickness, my hair is already fairly thick, so it was hard to notice changes at first. But after the second, third, and fourth time using the products I began to see that not only was my hair given extra texture, but it was also starting to be more voluminous, specifically at the roots. I always struggle with getting enough lift, body, volume, and texture in my hair, especially at the roots where I flip my front layers over to the side. I like to have full-bodied hair, and sometimes products leave my hair looking too soft and flat at the time. These products would benefit those people who are struggling with fine and flat hair. For those of you who already have relatively thick hair and are hesitant to try a densifying range of products, I would still definitely recommend giving the Viviscal’s Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range a try. It doesn’t make hair feel puffy or frizzy, but rather enhances volume and texture. Say bye-bye to bad hair days!

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Cold and Amazing: Recent Events to Celebrate Surfing in Toronto

Antonio Lennert says his company Surf the Greats partners with some local exclusive brands for their new surf shop in Leslieville that will open on June 29th. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Even though many Torontonians think they have to travel far to surf, the local community of wave riders is growing in popularity. More and more people are popping up on the boards in the midst of lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie.

The adventure and lifestyle company Surf the Greats is going to increase the excitement for the new obsession even more with a couple of big surf events. The screening of Under An Arctic Sky at The Royal (608 College Street) welcomes its renowned adventure photographer Chris Burkard this Thursday. The other — opening of a surf shop/cafe in Leslieville next month — will get surfers everything they need for their soul and body.

Over the past three years, Surf the Greats has been fostering the local surfing community through film screenings, art exhibitions, beach cleanups, surf lessons on the Great Lakes, and surf camps in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Costa Rica. This year the company partnered with Chris Burkard Studio to present the documentary Under An Arctic Sky by Burkard and filmmaker Ben Weiland. The film follows six surfers in the most remote corner of Iceland.

Surf the Greats’s CEO Antonio Lennert said he’s excited to meet Burkard in person for the first time“[Burkard]’s been a big inspiration for us to get outside, explore the nature and take beautiful photographs,” he said.

In order to spread the world about surfing in Toronto, the event will also screen two local short films: On Days Like These You Must Surf by Jake Kovnat and Sweet Water by Andrew Wyton“They were the best short films on Great Lakes surfing we’ve seen so far,” said Lennert. “I thought it would be a great opportunity for local filmmakers to show their work to the big name surf-photographer and filmmaker.”

Kovnat and Wyton were each going to their surf spots over the course of Novella’s interview with them: to Hawaii and to Lake Erie, respectively.

“I feel so amazing! I feel high every time I come in from the surfing on the lake,” said Kovnat. “No matter what else is going on in my life, it feels incredible.”

His black and white documentary tells the story of Larry Cavero, who, together with Lennert, introduced Kovnat to surfing on the Great Lakes. Every time Kovnat shares his surfing experience, the excitement grows in his voice: “I heard about surfing in Toronto around 2013, 2014…And in 2015 I met Antonio and Larry. That was the first time that I went to surf by myself. In the process, Larry actually sold me my first wetsuit and he let me borrow a surfboard just for free. So, I went out on lake Erie and I did horribly, but it was so cool to be out there in the water. And water is really cold. You were always told to be careful and safe in the water, and then you are out there, you feel amazing.”

Kovnat said, as his film was self-funded and all the participants donated their time, the most difficult part for him was the production and getting everyone together:

“When you do a ‘passion project’ like this with basically no money but a really great story, you have to work around the schedule of your crew and schedule of the waves, which is completely unpredictable.” The best part for him was getting shots of Larry and his daughters in Larry’s house and seeing Larry “living his life outside of the water.”

For Wyton, who has shot videos about surfing before, the weather was always one of the most challenging things. “You can never shoot in the wind because your lens will be drowned in the water,” he said. “It’s frustrating just keeping your lens clear all the time.”

Wyton said he enjoyed observing nature and capturing its mystery, which inspired him to do even bigger projects in the future. “I’m happy, but I’m never satisfied,” he said. “I’d like to make another one [film], but I’d like to get more professional surfers.”

The screenings of the three films will be followed by a Q&A with Burkard and a 20-minute presentation about the documentary. The guests will be able to talk to Burkard and purchase his new book. 

Lennert added that they wanted to organize a similar event in 2014 when Weiland and Burkard released their film The Cradle Of Storms. However, it took them a long time to build the network with the Californian producers. “We just opened our company, so we didn’t have enough connections to make it happen,” Lennert said. “We’ve been in touch with him [Burkard] since then. And when we saw he’s releasing his new film, we reached out to him and his producers in California… It took us a while to find the right venue in Toronto that could accommodate 350+ people at an affordable rate. It was a big risk.”

During the event, Surf the Greats will also announce the grand opening of their new shop in Leslieville on June 29th. Lennert said his shop will have everything surfers need: boards, wetsuits, and exclusive clothing brands from Tofino, Montreal, California, and New Jersey. It will be a kind of surfers’ hub with a small cafeteria and space for workshops, yoga classes, and live screenings of surf competitions like the World Surf League (WSL).

“Now we have only one surf shop in Toronto,” Lennert said. “And we don’t actually have the space where the community can hang out outside of waves. So this is going to be a kind of a community’s home.”

VIP-tickets are sold out. Click here to find a last-minute GA ticket. 

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