An Intro to Men’s Skin Care

Is your idea of skin care that old bar of Ivory in the shower? If so, you’re using the same product on delicate facial skin as your armpits, feet, and ass. Alkaline bar soaps remove natural oils and reduce the acidic film that keeps out bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. Soap also leaves behind invisible residue which dulls the skin’s surface. For healthy skin with less blemishes, pores, and wrinkles, a basic skin care routine is a must.

For men with and without beards, the top and bottom half of the face are living in different worlds. Regular shaving exfoliates the chin, revealing the smoother skin below. For many men, this is also a source of irritation, bumps, and ingrown hairs. For the bearded, hair adds extra oils to skin. The rest of the face is at the mercy of the elements and in need of care.

Men’s skin care doesn’t mean your bathroom will be overrun with expensive products. For most skin types, including dry, oily, and combination, all that is required is a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. An optional step is an exfoliating product for an occasional deeper clean and satisfying scrub. The most important time to wash your face is at the end of the day, after it has gathered grease and been exposed to the elements. You can also wash in the morning in the shower or before shaving if required.

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If this all news to you, an easy way to find products that work best for your skin and smell to your liking is trying out starter or travel kits. This way you can try a range of different products and brands before investing in full sizes.

1. Jack Black PureScience Jet Set Traveler – $25.00

For sensitive skin, this skin care and shaving set is this set free from parabens, sulfates, colorants and synthetic fragrance.

  • Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser
  • Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather
  • Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20

2. Kiehl’s Men’s Starter Kit – $42.00

  • Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap
  • Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men
  • Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
  • Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
  • Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

3. Billy Jealousy Travel Kit – $24.00

  • White Knight Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser
  • LiquidSand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser
  • Hydroplane Super-Slick Shave Cream
  • Fuzzy Logic Hair Strengthening Shampoo
  • Cashmere Coat Hair Strengthening Conditioner
  • Illicit Pearlized Body Wash

Here’s what to look for. Any time you’re checking out a new product in person, give it a sniff. If the fragrance isn’t for you, try something else. Another essential is a moisturizer with SPF. Sun protection on a daily basis goes a long way to keeping skin young and healthy, especially if you live in parts of the country with constant sun or high altitude.

That doesn’t mean sun protection should be skipped elsewhere though. The UV rays that burn and damage skin are still present on overcast and cloudy days. Many moisturizers don’t have SPF or not enough protection (15 is the minimum recommended SPF but not adequate in many parts of the world). In that case use a sunscreen in the morning and moisturizer after washing your face in the evening.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors for work or recreation, a higher SPF sunscreen is a must. This new Neutrogena SPF 70 Stick is invisible and couldn’t be easier to apply. Just roll the deodorant-shaped applicator over the face, hands, neck, and body. You can do this without a mirror and never end up walking around with streaky patches or a white glob stuck in the ear.

When trying out a new product, take note of how your face feels after a wash. If skin feels dry and tight, that formula is not right for your skin. This might seem like a good idea for oily skin but removing all those natural oils is a signal to skin to step up oil production. Instead, a homeopathic approach of applying a facial oil (at night) can help greasy skin.

If you find a product line you like, that’s great and makes things easy but it’s also fine to mix and match based on your personal preferences. All brands recommend using their complete suite but what works works. Not all the best skin care is the most expensive, so it can be easier on the wallet to combine products of high and low price points.

If this is still too much, check out Birch Box! You can sign up for a subscription and receive high-end grooming samples every month. This is a low-risk way to try a range of products suited for your skin type and lifestyle before investing in full size products.