Internet | June 2, 2022 6:30 am

Daily Lifestyle Vlogs Are Motivating Men to Take Better Care of Themselves

They’re aesthetically pleasing. They’re also helping normalize male self-care.

A collage of TikTok users posting self-care content.
The content creators promoting self-care regimens.
TikTok

The hashtag “selfcare” has 21.9 billion views on TikTok. Under the tag is a vast mix of content, though many of the videos feature the daily routines of the app’s users. From shower and skincare routines to morning/nighttime routines and weekend “refresh” routines, these videos typically depict an idealized but highly sought-after version of life through short, edited clips of moments from a user’s day. 

A pristine apartment with natural lighting is often the backdrop of most of these videos. Creators — both men and women — are shown making their beds with clean linens, prepping coffee and breakfast before heading to the gym (their workouts also documented) then getting ready for the day, which usually starts with washing their faces and detailing their skincare routines. 

Again, the likelihood that these users live aesthetically pleasing lives 24/7 is low. This type of content has been rightfully criticized for being unattainable and unrealistic, yet many viewers would probably agree — watching other people have their shit together (or at least purportedly have their shit together) intrinsically makes you want to get yours together too. 

“It could give the idea to people that they don’t have any margin of error. Which could be harmful,” admits Daniel Duku, who posts lifestyle and wellness content to his 403,000 TikTok followers under the handle @mrduku. “But I also think that for me, particularly as a guy, there’s a stigma around guys and self-care.”

Duku is one of many men posting lifestyle content and daily routine vlogs to a sizeable following on the video-sharing platform. Other creators like @alex.sless and @lifewithnt3, who have 432,000 and 32,000 followers respectively, post similar content to Duku: “GRWM”s (which stand for “get ready with me”), gym regimens and the skincare products they use daily. Compared with female users posting similar content, however, these male TikTok creators are definitely a minority. Still, they’re making an impact on viewers. 

Duku tells InsideHook he began posting on TikTok in 2020, but in the summer of 2021 started to take his account more seriously. He notes, though, that he’s still having fun with posting daily self-care videos and believes he’s found success on TikTok. 

@mrduku

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“The reason why I know [my account’s] been really successful is that I have people that reach out to me now,” he says. “A lot of guys will reach out to me on Instagram. They’re like, ‘Hey, I really love your stuff. I wanna be able to start doing these things, but I don’t know how to start. I don’t know what face wash to get.’ Stuff like that.”

“So while I’m still doing TikTok for fun, it has allowed me to inspire other guys to also embrace self-care,” he adds. “I don’t want to sit here and act like I’m the self-care coach or whatever. I just think that [TikTok] has enabled other guys and people who were sort of scared of doing these things or worried about being labeled as ‘feminine’ to take part in skincare and other kinds of self-care routines.”

Norms around men, particularly cis-het men, and self-care have evolved over the last couple of decades. More men are taking an interest in their appearances, whether it’s by getting Botox or simply washing their faces at night. The same goes for having a good-smelling space and clean bedsheets

However, stigmas around men taking care of themselves still persist, as evidenced by some of the comments left on Duku’s account. He says he’ll still receive comments calling him “gay” or “feminine” for washing his face or having candles in his room. But he doesn’t necessarily blame those users. 

@tjbanks_

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“It starts from childhood, it stems from societal norms,” he offers, adding that lots of men aren’t taught proper hygiene or grooming practices like women are while in adolescence. 

“You’d be surprised by the kind of messages that I get from [teenage boys] that say, ‘My parents never taught me how to brush my teeth,’” he says. “Someone told me it’s because it’s not ingrained in their brain. They wake up and then just go about their day. They don’t see brushing teeth as something that needs to be done.”

For Duku, having a proper self-care routine he abides by is more than just fodder for content; it’s about personal responsibility. 

“As a grown man, if I’m not able to take care of myself, my skin and set that standard for myself, in the future if I ever have a responsibility of a family, how do I expect myself to take care of my family? And that has been my motivation,” he explains. “Brushing your teeth and washing your face eventually becomes a habit. Then you understand yourself better, you understand how to take care of yourself. So you have some idea of what taking care of someone else would feel like. I’m not saying it’s the exact same, but you know what that responsibility feels like.”

Still, it does make for engaging content, and judging by how successful lifestyle and daily routine content performs on TikTok, creators like Duku could very well inspire other male users to adopt and post their own self-care videos. 

At the very least, though, male-specific lifestyle content is helping normalize and promote male self-care, and hopefully help eradicate those tired, outdated norms. 

“I’ve seen a lot of videos on TikTok of guys participating in self-care and I really love it,” Duku adds. “I think more men are going to be exposed to that and eventually, I think my generation will probably have a different impact on our kids in terms of parenting and morals, so I’m excited about it.”