Millennial burnout, changing seasons, and the stressful state of current events all can take their toll on one's inner and outer beauty. Brought on by various sources of stress, these duller moments can feel inevitable, and though our wellness-obsessed culture often promises paths to a glowier outlook, it can be hard to figure out how to fit a 20-step skincare routine into each day, let alone conceptualize its impact being worth the excessive effort. In addition, gender bias in the beauty and wellness space has often wrongly assumed that women should spend their days applying countless creams and taking supplements while men who want similar benefits should do...almost nothing. Luckily, it seems there's now a solution—a system, rather—to make skincare an easy process (and more accessible to the masculine side of the spectrum) so men can finally embrace a healthier and more attractive version of themselves, which will give them more time and energy to share that radiance with those around them.
Oli Walsh and Josh LeVine share the same mantra—when you are the best version of yourself, everyone around you wins. This philosophy inspired the duo to start ASYSTEM, a new kind of men’s wellness brand that finds its roots in both betterment and community. Embracing increased interests in both self-care and redefining masculinity, the new company offers both supplements and skincare to make sure its target audience can take a moment for themselves to look and feel good both inside and out. Jumping on the subscription box trend so trying the products is literally as simple as a click, the easily accessible system promises to get those who use it into an optimal state and, in turn, help them to perform better in daily life. Here, the duo walks us through the inception of their new brand and why the definition of men’s wellness is constantly expanding.
First things first: let’s talk about the name. What’s behind the brand name ASYSTEM?
Josh LeVine: We men are simple creatures. We like routine within our lives. The idea of creating "a system" for guys like us to look, feel, and perform at our best was really the genesis of ASYSTEM as a brand. When we came up with "ASYSTEM," we immediately loved it. It felt masculine and scientific, whilst making complete sense within the context of what we are doing. There are also fantastic interplays and word associations such as “Assist Him” and our community of “asysTEAM” members.
The mission behind ASYSTEM is almost the antithesis to those who do not relate to the hyper-masculine grooming and supplement brands of yesteryear. How did this idea come to life?
Oli Walsh: Our opinion, more than anything, was that the idea of hyper-masculinity, in the historical sense, was just completely outdated and becoming more irrelevant by the day. It was not our version of masculinity, nor was it that of most of our friends, family, or colleagues. We decided that ASYSTEM should embody our version of what we think is “masculine” in the modern sense. This is a concept we call “Betterment”. “Betterment” means to us that when someone is at their best, everyone around them wins. Your wife, partner, friends, kids, colleagues, and so on benefit the most when you give your best self to them. So, knowing this, why wouldn’t you want to be your best self? Historical norms established male self-care as something that wasn’t masculine, but this has changed. It’s now normal, if not expected, for men to have a self-care or wellness routine – and why shouldn’t it be? Why shouldn’t a man take care of himself? Why shouldn’t he want to be his best self, day in and day out? Why shouldn’t he set himself up to succeed and in doing so, give his best to those around him?
Tell me a little bit about how ASYSTEM works and the product offering.
JL: To begin, we have created two key products: Superhuman Supplements and Performance Skincare. We’ve combined the two to create the first inside-outside program that we call Total Body. It’s designed to optimize men from the inside out, in the easiest way possible. The truth is, you can no longer depend on getting all your nutrients from food, no matter how healthy you eat. Our Superhuman Supplements deliver everything you need to optimize your body’s function in five capsules. Containing vitamins, minerals, and clinically proven supplements in bioavailable forms, each pill pack is designed to boost energy, stamina, recovery, focus, and sex drive. Our Performance Skincare is formulated specifically for men’s skin from powerful clinical ingredients. It is made up of three products—Twice Daily Invigorating Cleanser, Daily Defense Moisturizer, and SPF 30, Overnight Rebuilding Cream—which work together to firm, smooth, and make you look healthier. We took a “Best of Science, Best of Nature” approach to the formulations and made sure we kept out the nasties (like preservatives or fragrance) that are present in most products and kept our formulations clean—developed to the standards of the European Union. Couple that with clinically backed ingredients with natural origin stories, and we believe we have created a state-of-the-art offering that takes less than a minute a day to use.
You have a content hub titled The Betterment Project. Why did you feel it was important to launch this aligned with the product?
OW: The Betterment Project is really the kickoff to a much larger dialogue around this concept of betterment – which will manifest itself as the content arm of ASYSTEM. For the Betterment Project Book, Volume 01, we reached out to 48 guys who inspire us on a day-to-day basis. We asked them the same questions around the idea of being one’s best self, what systems they have in place to set them up to succeed, the advice they would give their younger selves, what drives them, and so on. We wanted to celebrate these men and bring their experiences and words of wisdom together to share with others. This ties into the notion of creating a product designed to help you be your best partnered with conversation, community, and content that inspires the same. As we move forward, we plan to develop this community and dialogue through podcasts, video, writing, the continuation of book publishing, collaborations with like-minded brands or people, events, and so on.
Together, you have quite a varied work history. How did the two of you meet?
JL: Oli and I have been friends for about 8 years now. I met him the very first time I went to London to put together what became Frame. At the time, he was running Wednesday, the agency business he founded. We were introduced by a mutual business partner and had a beer and became fast friends. Flash forward to the summer of 2017 and for the first time since we had known each other, we found ourselves at the same place at the same time professionally, having each stepped down from our day-to-day roles at our previous businesses (at this point, Oli was the CMO of Aritzia) and starting to think about what comes next. This gave us the opportunity to work together. Over that summer, we would speak bi-weekly as we traveled with our families (Oli throughout Europe, Josh throughout Central America). We quickly came to the realization that we wanted to create a product in the health and wellness space, but do it our way.
In terms of product categories – will you be expanding to any new pillars?
JL: Yes, that is absolutely the plan as we progress forward. We intend to tackle the bigger-picture aspects of men’s lives. As a betterment brand, our idea is to help men be the best version of themselves – therefore, what type of product can we create to help them achieve that from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed? Our plan is to create products that address issues such as pain management, sleep and recovery, anxiety, depression, or sexual well-being. These are real problems men face on a daily basis, and they need real solutions. Subscription services make our lives easier.
What products from the line do you two subscribe to? And when do you use them? How have they improved your lives?
JL: We use both the Superhuman Supplements and the Performance Skincare on a daily basis! The best way to use the supplements is to take them ideally within 30 minutes of waking to coincide with your body’s natural hormone cycle. It’s also the perfect time to cleanse your face with the Invigorating Cleanser and apply the Daily Defense 09+SPF30 moisturizer. That’s our morning routine, and it should be yours as well! In the evening, usually after getting home, having a bite with my family, helping the kids get to bed, and starting to unwind, I take the minute needed to again cleanse my face and then apply the Overnight Rebuilding Cream before bed. This simple routine–honestly, less than two minutes a day–has dramatically improved my life both internally and externally. Externally, my skin feels and looks the best it has in years and internally (and as a whole) I feel like I’m living at peak performance, on top of my game, focused, and ready for anything life may throw my way.