Skin care and men are two words that people generally don’t associate with each other. But there is nothing “girly” about skin care — all genders have skin that needs taking care of. And the truth is, taking care of your skin doesn’t have to come with a million steps and products attached. Below, we go over a simple and low-maintenance skin care routine that will leave your skin looking fresh and prevent it from aging prematurely.
Before you do anything, find out your skin type
Knowing your skin type is the first step to taking care of your skin. This will tell you how your skin reacts and help you choose products that will address the individual concerns of your skin. Don’t worry, it’s not too hard to find out. Just take this short skin type quiz for starters.
Now that you know your skin type, we can get on to the routine.
Skin care routine for men: The AM Routine
Step 1: Cleanse
What it does
Cleansing the skin removes sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night.
How to do it
Wet your face with cold to lukewarm water, nothing too hot, as it can dry out your skin. Apply your cleanser in an upward, circular motion to get the blood moving in your skin, a simple act that lifts the face and helps prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.
Word of warning
It’s best to steer clear of harsh bar soaps when cleansing your face, as they dry out your skin and cause it to overproduce sebum, the natural oils your skin produces for protection but can also end up clogging your pores and causing breakouts.
Step 2: Shave
When it comes to shaving, there are several steps you can take for a cleaner shave free of dry skin, ingrown hairs or unwanted nicks and cuts.
It may sound unnecessary but before shaving, it’s always a good idea to exfoliate. Scrubbing your face with an exfoliant will help remove dead skin cells and strip away bacteria and dirt that can get pushed into your pores with your razor.
Steam it up
Shave in the shower or right after getting out of the shower. Not only will this save you time, but the steam moistens your face and helps open pores. This makes hair follicles stand up better, which makes it easier to get a closer and smoother shave.
Always use a shaving cream
Shaving cream protects and moisturizes your face. Look for a rich shaving cream that contains moisturizers like Vitamin E, shea butter, coconut oil and argan oil. If possible, avoid shaving creams with alcohol as alcohol dries out your skin.
Go with the grain
Maybe your dad already gave you this lecture in high school, but always remember to shave with the grain, using short and even strokes. While shaving in the opposite direction may feel like you are getting a closer shave, what it is actually doing is cutting the hair to below skin level. This can cause ingrown hairs when the hair grows back.
Aftershave may seem like a relic of the past, but it is actually an essential step for keeping skin moisturized after the irritation of shaving. Aftershave has a come a long way since the 1900s. Today, many contain natural astringents like witch hazel and aloe vera, which help soothe the skin and close pores.
Not shaving? Consider a beard oil
If you are growing or maintaining a beard, a beard oil can help keep hair groomed and soft while moisturizing the skin underneath.
Step 3: Moisturize
What it does
Moisturizing provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth, healthy appearance.
How to do it
Choose a moisturizer based on your skin type — it can be a cream, lotion, gel or oil—and gently rub it into your skin in an upward motion, being careful not to tug on the delicate skin around your eyes. Once the moisturizer is applied, give it time to sink in so you receive its full benefits.
Word of warning
Look for a moisturizer with a SPF of at least 15 for the daytime, an important factor in preventing skin cancer and keeping your skin healthy as you age.
Step 4: SPF
The biggest aging factor is the sun. The sun’s powerful UV rays damage our skin’s DNA, causing wrinkles and increasing our risk for skin cancer. That’s why it’s vital to apply SPF every day, even if you aren’t headed to the beach. Look for a moisturizer that contains SPF or apply sunscreen after your moisturizer. Choose a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays and use a factor of 30, or at minimum 15.
Skin care routine for men: The PM Routine
Your evening routine will be the same as your morning routine except you can skip the shaving and SPF. It’s still a good idea to exfoliate after cleansing though, in order to remove the oil and buildup from the day. Before you go to bed, make sure to apply a richer moisturizer or a serum that you can let sink in overnight. This will give your skin an extra boost of hydration while you sleep.
The extra mile
If you are ready to take things to the next level (don’t worry, it’s not too scary), consider adding a toner to your daily regimen. After cleansing and scrubbing the skin with an exfoliant, toner will remove any left-over residue while smoothing and tightening the pores. You can also add a clay mask into your routine a couple times a week. Simply apply the mask and let it sit until it hardens. Wash off for a refreshed complexion. This will help deep-clean your pores while adding a huge dose of extra moisture.
These are the first steps to caring for your skin. Over time, you’ll learn more about your skin and how it behaves and can further adjust with additional treatments and practices that work for your individual skin type.