Illustration: Men’s Health
Walk into any drug store, and you’ll find aisles dedicated to skincare products: acne spot treatments, deep-skin cleansers, dark spot correctors, anti-aging creams, cleansing masks, moisturizers, blemish pads, scrubs, toners.
All of these choices are supposed to help you devise a skincare routine that can lead to smoother shaves, clearer skin, less-visible aging, and a decreased risk of skin cancer. Unfortunately, the endless selection can have the opposite effect for many men.
“When there are too many options, guys just skip it,” says Michael Gilman, founder of upscale D.C. grooming salon Grooming Lounge.
Gilman’s advice: Start simple.
With the help of Angela Lamb, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Gilman took the guesswork out of the equation. They’ve listed the necessities—as well as the bonus products—that you should use daily, weekly, and monthly.
Your Daily Skincare Routine
Must have: facial cleanser
“A targeted facial cleanser is the gateway for taking better care of your skin,” says Gilman. (And he’s not talking about the bar of soap you just used to clean your body.)
You should wash your face twice a day—morning and night—to remove oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. The Multi-action Face Wash from Lab Series is good for all skin types.
Must have: moisturizer
After you wash your face, apply a dedicated face moisturizer. Don’t use a body lotion on your face—it tends to be thicker and “comedogenic.” In other words, it will clog your pores.
A face moisturizer not only keeps your skin hydrated, it actually serves as protection against daily dirt and grime. Opt for one with built-in SPF to battle UVA/UVB rays and pollution all-year round.
A toner, usually a liquid applied with a cotton ball, removes any excess oil your cleanser didn’t pick up, and it shrinks the size of your pores.
There are different toners for specific skin types: Oily skin will benefit from a shine-control toner (we recommend this one), while normal to dry skin will benefit from a more mild formula (like Lab Series’ Water Lotion). Apply after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Bonus: eye cream
Washing and moisturizing are your two essential steps, but you’d be doing yourself a big favor by adding in an eye cream once or twice a day—especially if you’re prone to dark circles under your eyes, says Lamb.
The skin in your eye area is the thinnest on your entire body, so it’s one of the first spots to show aging. Regular care will help slow the visible signs of aging and fatigue.
(Looking for recommendations? Check out some of our favourite anti-aging products for men.)
Your Weekly Skincare Routine
Must have: exfoliating product
Gilman recommends exfoliating twice a week to help keep skin clear and prevent ingrown hairs. A good exfoliator gets rid of dead skin cells—crucial for clear skin and a smooth shave—but can irritate the skin if you use it too often.
To avoid irritation, use a mild formula, like Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish. Apply to a wet face, using gentle circles. Scrubbing will just aggravate the skin.
Bonus: face mask
We know, we know: Are we seriously recommending a facial mask for men? Hell yes we are. Who doesn’t want a little pampering?
Plus, it’ll help clear up your skin and give it a healthy glow, especially if you have oily skin, says Gilman. Just put one on once a week before you Netflix.
Your Monthly Skincare Routine
Bonus: a facial
Getting a facial is a luxury, says Lamb, but it’s great for extractions—that is, getting out stubborn blackheads from your nose.
While there are complex, targeted facials that aim to treat specific skin types, you can never go wrong with a standard facial. If you want something more individualized, talk to the esthetician to determine what type of facial will give you the best results.