Men’s skincare has, until recently, been pretty much ignored by the beauty industry. Those interested have had to figure things out through products that were designed for women; therefore, male-specific concerns such as facial razor bumps were not addressed by any products.
Perhaps the pandemic did achieve one positive thing for the beauty industry: the world of skincare blossomed during the year of endless quarantines, and men finally seem to be part of the narrative. An increasing number of social media pages exclusively tackled skincare, with even a rise of dermatologists using various platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to advocate for healthy skincare.
It seems that 2020 was the catalyst for men’s skincare, as many have realised that there are better options to the ‘all-in-one’ product.
As the skin is an organ, most people would want to ensure that it is taken care of – as one would perhaps take care of a kidney by drinking less alcohol and more water. However, skincare has historically been marketed as feminine and through sexist metonymy; as a vain and superficial activity, dismissed as something that only women (and possibly gay men) could enjoy, and something inherently un-masculine.
If skincare still seems like a foggy concept, but you wish to hop on the wagon, here are some recommendations from our team and some fellow men on how to be kind to your skin:
At the very top of this list is face wash, and for a very good reason. This is arguably the most important step of your routine, and one of the three things you should not be skipping along with moisturiser and sunscreen (according to dermatologists).
Just because you may not wear makeup doesn’t mean your face doesn’t need washing. Over the course of the day you accumulate different kinds of gunk, from pollutants to sweat residues, that you really want to wash away.
No matter whether your skin is dry, oily or mixed, you should moisturize your skin every day. This will ensure that you are properly hydrated and healthy – but you will also see a major difference in the way it looks.
Our very own Theater Editor Jay Darcy now uses the ExCetra cream, which he finds to be soothing but not greasy. He would also recommend products from Child’s Farm, which are for children, but happen to be wonderful. Mael uses the Avène Cleanance Expert Moisturiser.
Next up we have sunscreen. While it may seem like an unnecessary addition to your morning routine or a waste of money, you should wear sunscreen every day, all year, even in Manchester when it rains. UV rays don’t suddenly disappear during the colder months, and while you may not burn, it does not mean your skin is protected from harmful exposure. It may seem futile now, but you will thank your younger self in a couple of years when you age slower than those who foolishly ran after a tan.
We recommend Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, as it was designed to be worn all year round and will not leave you with ashy skin.
This is not in itself revolutionary – you have probably used lip balm before – but investing in a good one will change your life; or, at least, make your lips softer and smoother.
If you struggle with acne, there are plenty of products on the market to help you clear your skin – but we recommend going to a Dermatologist, since they are professionals, and will give you the best products for your specific skin type.
Mael uses the Epiduo Face Cleaner, which is a doctor-prescribed product and is quite harsh but very effective. If you want to try an over-the-counter product in the meantime, try the Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Blemish treatment.
David would recommend switching from single-use razors to a metal razor with individual replaceable blades such as these. While it may be a bit of an investment up-front, you will not regret it, especially if you have sensitive skin. Plus, it’s a lot better for the environment. He uses the Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream in complement.
All in all, those that have tried the little things that work, never go back.
In David’s words: “There are some basic things everyone should do, like wash your face and moisturise it. You should research what you use because everyone has different skin and some products might be too harsh for some or not effective on others. I don’t use much. Just the essentials.”
And while you may start skincare out of necessity, it might evolve into a form of self-care, like it did for Maël: “I got into [skincare] because my acne physically hurt in high school. It’s slowly transformed into a form of self-care and a way to take care of myself. I mostly do it to relax now.”
We hope some of these suggestions help perfect your skincare routine!