Behind every micro-influencer’s aesthetically pleasing Glossier canyon photoshoot is a suffering significant other—and the anonymous brain behind Glossier Boyfriends is here to give them a voice. What was first conceived on a simple whim to expose the phenomena of males being dragged against their will by their counterparts, created a cult-following of men and women alike striving for their #glossibaes to be featured on the page.
Through a quick run-through of the page, you can notice an immediate transition from glum boyfriends to men not just enjoying themselves around the showroom, but actually enjoying themselves as they try some of the products for themselves. Are Instagram pages like Glossier Boyfriends to thank for opening the discussion of the male perspective in a millennial pink-themed world of beauty? Below, we discuss the relationship of man and Boy Brow and more with the anonymous creator of Glossier Boyfriends.
COOLS: How did you come up with the concept of Glossier Boyfriend?
Glossier Boyfriends (GB): For the longest time, people didn’t know if I worked for Glossier or not, and I just want to let people know that I don’t. I actually live across the street from the LA store, and I recently found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. And from my trips to the store, I always found a lot of bored boyfriends hanging on the sidelines, and at first it was just a funny tweet. Then I thought it would be a fun idea for a coffee table read, and then from there I decided to search to see if it existed on Instagram. I realized that it didn’t, so I started the Instagram to record all of these bored boyfriends. I took a few pictures and whipped up some entertaining captions in the beginning, but now it’s completely crowdsourced by people who find my page. First they would find it through the geotag, but now they just find me and send them in.
COOLS: Why Glossier in the first place over other beauty stores, like Sephora?
GB: Glossier showrooms are such a highly curated experience, and it was jarring to see the juxtaposition with something so pink and happy and millennial with these boyfriends who look like their in physical pain in the corner of the store.
COOLS: But scrolling through your Instagram, it doesn’t look like all of these boyfriends look upset with being in the store.
GB: I noticed as the account grew that the submissions became a little happier. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or not, but it’s pretty funny to see.
COOLS: In the New York store I see all of the bored boyfriends, husbands, even dads, too. But something I’ve noticed is that men are starting to play along and dabble with the products.
GB: That’s what I’ve also learned from the whole process. A lot of the men at first seemed so bored and looked like they were in agony, but now a lot of the submissions I get are guys fooling around in the store, or even trying the products on their own.
COOLS: How would you describe the perfect “Glossier Boyfriend?”
GB: Somebody who is willing to go into Glossier in the first place without putting up a fight. He should also be the one taking the canyon selfie, which is so important. He should be joining in, not just in the corner.
COOLS: As lighthearted as this page is, it’s pretty barrier-breaking. It shows that guys can enjoy not just Glossier, but beauty as a whole.
GB: It definitely removes the stigma for guys. Guys don’t talk about what products they use, or how they keep up with their own self care routines, so this definitely opened up a platform for them to express those things. I remember that I posted my “top shelfie” as a joke, because it was simple and not aesthetically pleasing at all. There was no face washes or candles, just a regular top shelf with a Glossier sticker on a shaving cream, but there was actually such a huge wave of support around it. People called me out on the gross toothbrush, but other than that people found it very relatable.
COOLS: It’s ridiculous that I even have to say this, but you broke down the stigma of the shelfie.
GB: I never thought of it like that, but yeah. And it’s interesting because when I started the account sending a bigger message of beauty for men wasn’t my initial intention, but in a way it sort of opened up this niche demographic for Glossier. I don’t think they ever marketed to men before, but now actual boyfriends and men in general are becoming interested in the brand. Some guys comment, “I just bought Boy Brow and I can’t wait to use it on my moustache,” and Glossier never even said that you could do that. It’s just such a crazy discussion that I see on this page.
COOLS: The page opened the divide for cisgendered men to become familiar with Glossier.
GB: I have no idea if Glossier is going to capitalize on this and take advantage of the fact that men are interested, but I wonder how many boys are actually going out and buying the product for themselves as opposed to sneaking them into the bathroom when their girlfriends aren’t looking.
COOLS: Maybe pages like this are the opening for men to start buying more beauty products, and can help make the industry less constricted to gender norms. Who knows, Glossier may one day open a men’s line or go genderless because of this.
GB: That would be cool, but I think we have a long way to go before the main target guy of the Glossier boyfriend, which is a man talking about skincare and football in the same group text. Will they be buying Milky Jelly Cleanser now? Probably not, but maybe one day.
COOLS: Men want to take care of themselves too. Skincare is self care, regardless of gender.
GB: I did a takeover at Glossier for Instagram, and I did a face mask with one boyfriend and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He’s a converted customer, for sure.
COOLS: What advice do you have for any men who want to be a #Glossibae?
GB: So Glossier Boyfriends are made, not born Glossier Boyfriends. It takes time and patience on not just the boyfriend, but the girlfriend, too. I think patience and being open to going to the store in the first place is a big part of it. Also, learning about what the products are would be the biggest factor. Listen to your girlfriend when she talks about what her favorite products are, and actually engage in conversation about it. Don’t be afraid to ask what Lidstar is, or what a Lash Slick is. And you as the significant other may have to take it further and explain what mascara is, because a surprising amount of men don’t know what that is. But they’ll eventually get there.
COOLS: Would you ever create pages dedicated to other brands?
GB: I think I’ve pigeonheld myself into the Glossier. What I’ve learned from this is that men are interested in beauty too, but there’s a whole dating and relationship component in this that tends to get looked over. Shopping not just at Glossier but in any store is a bonding experience, and the page created an interesting lens to see it through. It’s just so crazy that I even got it this far, because I just started it on a whim when I was very bored. In just five days Emily Weiss reposted my story, and my following just exploded.