It's Saturday night. The late summer sun had just gone down and at Nicole's birthday shindig, the music is lively, snacks are devoured and a swell of conversations overtakes the little apartment. A girl gang is assembled on the couch when Brad appears, plunks down in the centre and turns to me.
"I wanted to pitch an idea to you. I think you should interview me to talk about Jack Black on your blog. I have so much of it and I love that stuff."
Cut to one week later and we're back in the mod wonderland of an apartment. Beatles posters, vinyl records and an impressive collection of books and memorabilia set the stage.
My immediate question? What is it about Jack Black products that inspired him to literally ask to talk about it?
"Well what really happened was that I noticed how many of these blue bottles I had in my bathroom, and was like 'wow I’ve really evolved'. I’ve had other lines of products before, but I realized I’ve moved to being a Jack Black ambassador or something."
"Full disclosure, I’ve been using [skin care] products and things since I was in high school. Like using my mom's Oil of Olay and what have you. And then eventually as stuff like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and David Beckham became cool and more people were aware of this demand and men’s lines became available. So I’ve been using stuff forever.
I typically have more products than Nicole (laughs), always have."
He informs me that he's a year away from 50. As I express my disbelief, he humbly notifies me that I'm not the only one who finds this surprising, and gives credit to this attention to good skin care.
"Genetics has something to do with it, sure, my mom looks young even into her 70's. Still, she’s always used skin care and moisturizer as I have. I can’t argue with it. Since high school I’ve been doing it. When people say I look 15 years younger than I am, it makes me want to keep using good products."
Brad is one half of local photography duo DB Photographics. Their work focuses on the two wild worlds of weddings and theater productions. He discovered LUX through his partner Nicole, my friend and local fashion designer. Though he needed no help entering the world of skin care, she inspired his awareness and devotion to cruelty-free products.
"I never really knew about the cruelty-free aspect until Nicole. [My first product] was Face Buff, and I saw it had the little rabbit on it! That’s when I thought I should look for other products with that. At the same time, while I certainly want to be friendly to animals, it’s still got to be a good product. Same as vegan cooking, I would love to eat more vegan food…it just has to taste good.That’s I think probably the winning combination. It’s the fact that they are cruelty-free and still really good."
With a full array of items at his disposal, I asked what his holy grail products were and how they work into his lifestyle.
" I have what I call my shave system; I'll start with Face Buff. They say you should only exfoliate a couple of times a week, I only shave a couple times a week so that works out. It also helps with the shaving itself, it smells great and it’s not too rock-like and you know, peeling my face off.
And then the Beard Lube is so good because you can actually see where you’re shaving, especially with the side burn area. Which is fantastic.
I used to get bad razor burn so I used to shave before bed so I could have time to let my face cool down so I could go out in public, but with the Post Shave Gel…Oh my God it’s just like, bang, put that on and 20 minutes later it’s back to regular skin. It feels really cooling and smells good as well (laughs). So that little trio is like so perfect. That’d be my favourite thing."
"I’ve noticed better shaves, and that whole process is just easier. That’s a big thing. I hate shaving, if I could have a laser treatment I’d get it all gone (laughs). So I don’t like to shave to begin with, but its improved so much because of this."
Living downtown with so many options, I have to ask about his shopping at LUX and how it has affected not only his routine, but discovery of products too.
"I've found so many products through samples. I love that it doesn’t matter if there’s like an actual sample or not, you’ll make one. That’s important to me. You go elsewhere and you just get whatever they have but if I’m curious about something you make me a sample and it’s the best way to test it out and actually use it. And I like that I can also get real life feedback from the people that work there, even who are not male.
I’ve got what, 5 products here and I believe they are all regularly stocked, where other places might have the moisturizer or might have the shaving cream, it’s the selection there too. I love supporting local businesses. And that’s what I love that a local company like LUX had products that I could actually buy.
Being a local photographer I understand that the community needs to support each other. I also feel I need to look my best while working so that counts too. I love working in this city with the arts community."