Being a man has never been more complicated, especially when you think about your grooming and personal care routine. Back in the day, things were simple: shower with some harsh bar soap and damaging shampoo, follow with chemical filled big foaming shaving cream and finish with a stinging alcohol based aftershave - done. No guy ever thought about taking of their skin, what was in their products, and looking good for years on end. And there was no need. Life expectancy was half of what it is today, probably because of all the chemicals we put on our bodies and ingested through TV Dinners.
Times have definitely changed, but most men’s routines haven’t. According to Mintel almost 80% of men use a dedicated facial skin care product. And according to Euromonitor 80% spend less than 5 mins a day using said skin care products and shaving. Can this be true, with all the random products on the market, that would take an average of 13 minutes to use (we tried them all for 3 months). What we’ve found is that most men use 1 product and don’t see the benefit because it isn’t part of an overall best practice routine.
Some men use a face wash, then follow that up with a harsh shave cream. Others wash with a bar of body soap then use a basic lotion. Others use a sunscreen on days they perform outside activities, but not daily. Only a small handful of men utilize four or more products as part of their routine.
But what “should” a guy use? What are the best practices? Like everything, there are differences between best practices and extreme acceptance. You can be healthy and not be a bodybuilder, right? We’ve distilled down what’s trending in the men’s skin care, grooming, and shaving world to bring out the best practices vs extreme vs complete BS:
- Face Wash: Body washes and soap tend to have higher pH levels as bi-product of how they’re made. Nothing wrong with that on your thicker skin body areas, but on your face this will lead to dry, flaky, cracking skin. A gentler, dedicated face wash is recommended.
- Shaving: The death of shaving has been greatly exaggerated, but it’s definitely been on the decline for years as now only 50% of men in the US shave on a daily basis. If you are a shaver, most commercial shave creams, gels, or foams contain harsh chemicals that produce the foaming effect for nothing more than visual appeal, not a closer/smoother shave. A shaving product should be dedicated to creating a slick barrier for a razor to glide across without damaging the skin.
- Moisturize: Moisturizers can take many forms, from aftershave, to serums, to creams, to other purely made up names. Only a couple of things actually matter: hydrating your skin and not causing oil buildup or clogged pores. A moisturizer should be lightweight and effective.
- Sun Protection: Experts have weighed in and the one thing they all agree on - sun protection is key to prevent cancer, skin damage, dark spots, and even wrinkles. Even if you don’t go out in the sun, a daily sunscreen prevents sun damage from sitting next to windows or going outside when it’s cloudy. It’s recommended to use at least an SPF 30, avoid oxybenzone and apply 15 minutes before exposure.
Pro Level Ad Ons:
- Face Scrub: To help your skin’s renewal process and reduce ingrown hairs, some people recommend using a scrub a couple times per week. A scrub and help skin feel smooth, but overdoing it can expouse your skin to more problems. If you’re a shaver, you are already shedding skin as your blade takes care of your hair and the top layer of your skin, so be careful if you’re adding a scrub to the mix.
- Night Cream: If you’re an overachiever, diligently sticking to a face wash 2 times a day, and protecting your face from the sun, you could super charge your regimen with a night cream. The reason most night creams are not supposed to used during the day is they contain some form of retinol, which causes skin sensitivity to light. If you’re advanced, with time and money to dedicate a night cream could be a good ad on.
Don’t Believe the Hype:
- Aftershave: With the right moisturizer, an additional aftershave isn’t needed. The old school days of using a screaming aftershave have passed. Treat your face to some good hydration that provides quality aftershave benefits.
- Toner: If you’re properly washing your face and don’t wear make up, the marginal benefit of toner is 0.0.
- Eye Cream: Yes, the skin under your eyes is a little more sensitive than the rest of your face, so be gentle when applying anything there, but if you check the labels on eye creams, they’re 99% the same as creams for the rest of your face. To get rid of bags and circles, you want to be hydrated inside and out, and get plenty of sleep. If you’re being sold anything more, you’re over paying.
- Serums: Basically just concentrated formulas that costs 3x the regular stuff. Unless, you’re shooting your GQ cover next week and have money burning a hole in your Venmo account, don’t waste your money.
It took me and my team thousands of hours to research and test our men's skincare products so a guy gets everything he needs and nothing he doesn’t. Sure we could have created way more products and charged a lot of money for them, but that’s not our style.