A few weeks ago, a piece from MEL Magazine hit the internet like a brick. Entitled "All the Insane Ways Men Do Skincare," it had started as a fairly basic set of interviews about how men perform skincare rituals. The overwhelming end result was one of shock and disbelief: most men don't perform skincare and when they do, it's... well, it's a little frightening.
Some of the responses include things like:
- Washing their faces with as hot of water as possible, with the belief that the hot water sanitize
- Vigorously brushing their beards
- Using bar soap, but only on the sides of their noses
- Using body wash on their face or, if they feel greasy, using antibacterial hand soap at best or dish soap at worst
Skincare has become a big business in the last year. Some women have taken to using spreadsheets to track their skincare routines, their reactions to skincare, and the items they like best. All in the pursuit of perfect skin, we've fallen head over heels for Drunk Elephant, despite the steep cost of nearly all their items, and the Ordinary, despite the fact that we know their CEO (and other leaders) are maybe not the best humans on the planet.
This trend is just starting to bleed over to men. As we become increasingly aware of the desire of men to wear makeup, we should also be aware that many men probably want to start a skincare routine. Men have skincare concerns too, from dry skin to acne. Who doesn't want to improve their skin? And besides, skincare is ultimately just daily pampering; if it makes me feel good to put on my oils and serums and moisturizers at night, why can't it feel good for my husband?
So, if you're a man (or just identify as one, or you're a woman who is new to skincare too,) and you're looking to start a very basic skincare routine, here's everything you need to know to start.
1. Start with Face Wash
Skincare starts with the most basic of all basics: washing your face. Most men, it seems, do this, even if it just means splashing their face in the shower or (worse) scrubbing with dish soap. Please, please do not wash your face with dish soap!
Men have thicker skin than women, in general, as well as more collagen (lucky), but men's skin is still thin on their faces, just like women (just not as thin). That means it is delicate. And that means that you can damage the pH balance of your skin really badly by using inappropriate cleansers.
- For oily, acne-prone skin, try the Body Shop's Tea Tree Face Wash.
- For dry skin, try Ren Evercalm Cleansing Milk.
- For combination skin, try Philosophy's Purity Made Simple Face Wash.
2. Moisturize & Use SPF
Moisturizers are usually divided into day moisturizers (which include SPF) and night moisturizers (which don't). For those just starting a skincare routine, it's easy to get overwhelmed--so for now, let's stick with one moisturizer and SPF for both day and night.
Men need to wear SPF every day, just like women. Sun damage can occur pretty much any time you're outside--it doesn't have to be sunny. I've been nagging my husband to wear SPF for two years now and he is finally taking me seriously! Here are some suggestions:
- For skin with redness, try Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C with SPF 30
- For dry skin, try No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Moisture Day Cream with SPF 30
- For acne-prone skin, try Mario Badescu's Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 30
3. Pick a Mask
My favorite part of skincare is masks. I think every skincare routine should have at least a weekly mask that you enjoy using and helps improve your skin. There is really nothing more relaxing than reading in the bathtub while wearing a face mask! Here are some suggestions.
- For dry skin, try the Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Kit
- For acne-prone skin, try the Body Shop's Tea Tree Mask
- For combination skin, try Tony Moly's I'm Real Peach sheet mask
4. Get a Beard Care Kit
One of the best gifts I've ever gotten my husband was a beard care kit. He loves that kit! It came with a jojoba and almond oil mix that he started using not just on his beard, but on his face to help moisturize. If you have a beard, taking care of your beard is part of your skincare routine. Here are some suggestions.