The No BS Guide to Easy-to-Follow Skin Care for Men (2022)

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Minimalist tips for any man looking to invest in self-care

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If you’ve been skipping out on skin care, it’s time to talk. You don’t need to do much to repair, protect, and even pamper your mug. We’re recommending the most basic adjustments for long-lasting results. Come learn how to combat breakouts, shaving irritations, and those fine lines that’ll creep out of nowhere.

Plus, a little shine on the outside treats the inside, too.

Here’s how to get started — or how to brush up your game, because there’s always something new to help buff up your glow.

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As with anything we do and expect results, skin care requires consistency. But developing a routine can seem daunting if you don’t know what to do or use.

That’s why we asked Dr. William Kwan, a board-certified dermatologist in San Francisco, California, to streamline skin care. Here are the three most important steps he highlights, ones that men usually skimp on.

(Video) The No BS Guide to Skin Care for Men

1. Cleanse

One thing dudes have gotten right is not washing their face every single morning. This is because washing too much can ruin your skin’s natural oils.

But this only works if you wash every night. We start each day with a clean slate, so why not let your skin end on a fresh note, too? Don’t let dirt and pollution soak into your pores overnight.

Kwan recommends using a mild foaming cleanser before you shave to help reduce surface oil. As long as you don’t have sensitive skin, you can alternate between an exfoliating cleanser for an enhanced shaving experience and a mild wash.

Pro tip: If you have oily skin, you can use a hot towel to clean your face in the morning. Splash with cold water for a refreshing boost.

2. Repair

Our skin takes a beating over time, thanks to free radicals causing oxidative stress. Without going into a chemistry lesson, oxidative stress relates to our bodies’ negative reaction to bad things like:

  • air pollution
  • cigarette smoke
  • industrial chemicals
  • UV rays

“An antioxidant serum, for example, like vitamin C, is helpful to reduce damage and should go on in the morning underneath moisturizer,” Kwan says.

Apply after your shaving routine.

Pro tip: Before bedtime, Kwan recommends a retinol cream for those in their 30s and up. “Retinol helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles,” he explains.

3. Moisturize and protect

In the a.m., follow up your antioxidant serum with a moisturizer that has at least SPF 30. Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach or outdoor sports. Incidental sun exposure, like the time you spend walking to the train or sipping a beer on the patio after work, adds up and causes skin damage.

At night, opt for a lightweight moisturizer without sunscreen.

Pro tip: You don’t have to moisturize at night if your skin isn’t dry! Moisturizing is a lot like drinking water. Do it when you need it.

How to pick products

(Video) No BS Simple Skincare Routine- Men & Beginners

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From luxury beard oils to tasty, pocket-friendly lip balms, more products have hit shelves with men in mind. Now the dude-specific skin care industry has been more on-point than ever. Which is great — but the influx might also leave you feeling at a loss for what to buy.

Here are a few things to consider.

1. Know your skin type

“Men tend to have oily and thicker skin, mainly due to the effects of testosterone,” Kwan says. Many products for fellas will be formulated to combat oil. But if you have flaky, dry skin, seek out products that address that. For dry skin, Kwan recommends a cream cleanser and a heavy moisturizer.

You may also have a mix of oily and dry patches. If so, look for products formulated for combination skin. And if you have sensitive skin, you may be prone to burning, stinging or irritation. Choose products listing as few ingredients as possible.

Take this quiz to learn your skin type.

Pro tip: Try “cocktail moisturizing.” This isn’t a fuss-free way to do skin care, but it can be game-changing for combination skin. Instead of using an “all-in-one” moisturizer, try tackling your individual skin concerns with targeted products.

Products to try:

2. Forget gender

“Men-specific products are nice, but many skin care products are unisex and typically are suitable for men and women,” Kwan says.

Don’t limit yourself to skin care lines based on packaging. If you’re hoping to avoid scents, look for fragrance-free products. Or opt for items with earthy or woodsy essential oils, like sandalwood or cedarwood. These can also have a calming effect.

3. Consider your ethnicity

Your heritage may affect your skin type and skin care needs. “African-American men tend to have more ingrown hairs, usually related to the natural curl of the hair,” says Kwan, a specialist in ethnic skin. “For these men, I often recommend using a depilatory instead of shaving to reduce razor bumps.”

“Asian and Hispanic men are more prone to irregular skin pigmentation,” he continues, “so they should be careful of sun exposure and perhaps add a skin-brightening product to their regimen.”

(Video) No Bullshit guide - simple tips to great skin

Products to try:

4. Experiment

“Choosing skin care is often as easy as trial and error,” Kwan says. “If possible, buy products from a store that allows returns, or start with samples.”

If you’re still at a loss for what to put in your medicine cabinet, one way to play around with products is to order a subscription or sample box that sends you a selection of travel sizes based on your preferences.

Products to try:

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Bumpy textures are usually the biggest concern guys face when it comes to skin care, Kwan says. He often treats men for razor burn, ingrown hairs, or pimples.

Shaving is one of the most common causes of irritation, but a proper skin care routine in conjunction with shaving can improve skin.

“Start with something simple, like a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide wash in the shower daily,” says Kwan. This type of cleanser will help treat most bumps, like folliculitis, ingrown hairs, and acne. “I do recommend electric razors if you get ingrowns or too irritated from shaving. They tend to be a bit easier on the skin.”

Should you choose salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide?

  • Salicylic acid acts as pre-shave exfoliant because it removes dead cells from pores and the skin’s surface. It’s also an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant that can combat redness and damage.
  • Benzoyl peroxide battles bacteria that may cause bumps, but it’s harsher and might make sensitive skin sting or burn.
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The market for men’s personal grooming products is projected to grow to more than $60 billion by the end of the decade. That stat should tell you that more guys are giving up outdated ideas skin care and pampering should be left to the gals.

Research shows that skin concerns or disorders can affect self-image, relationships, and performance. But it’s never too late to develop a skin care routine.

A master thesis out of Karlstad University in Sweden found that men, from ages 15 to 45, are taking control of their appearance and hygiene and embracing ideas of self-care. Guys are buying products as a way to solve skin issues and boost self-esteem.

Working to solve skin concerns, if any, gives you a bit of control over them and helps you build confidence.

Women have long used skin care habits and products as a way to ready themselves for the day or to decompress at night. Fellas should follow suit, if they aren’t already.

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Even a simple regimen can become a part of what you do for your well-being. If you think skin care habits are frivolous or vain, then take a cue from f.c., blogger behind Simple Skincare Science. He’s a prolific male skin care blogger who battled years of skin issues and now shares his insights regarding various products and techniques.

He writes: “I urge you to remember that part of our skin journey is about practicing self-love.” Self-compassion is linked to how we treat and care for others, so you’ve got nothing to lose by being kind to your skin.

Jennifer Chesak is a Nashville-based freelance book editor and writing instructor. She’s also an adventure travel, fitness, and health writer for several national publications. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill and is working on her first fiction novel, set in her native state of North Dakota.


What is a proper skin care routine for men? ›

The Baseline Regimen: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize
  1. Cleanse twice a day. Use face wash first thing in the morning, to wash away any product applied the night before, as well as any sweat and bacteria you accumulated during the night. ...
  2. Exfoliate twice a week. ...
  3. Moisturize morning and night, with SPF as a daytime priority.
13 Sept 2022

Can men use simple skincare? ›

We need less stuff to worry about in our lives, not more. That's why a simple skincare routine for men is essential. If you're a minimalist with your grooming products, or if you're wondering which products are mandatory for a blemish-free face, then take note: There are three key steps in any guy's skincare regimen.

What is the easiest skin care routine? ›

This Is the Bare-Minimum Skincare Routine You Should Be Doing Every Day, According to Pros
  • Use a gentle daily cleanser. Getty Images. ...
  • Moisturize twice a day. Getty Images. ...
  • Exfoliate occasionally, not every day. Getty Images. ...
  • Don't overthink it. Getty images.
17 Sept 2021

Do guys need a skincare routine? ›

The answer is yes. It's especially important for men to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and use SPF protection. Cleansing and exfoliating are important steps in a typical men's skincare routine because it regulates oil. This can prevent clogged pores and acne.

What skincare products should men use? ›

In addition to shaving products, the following skin care products should be in every man's bathroom, says Manley:
  • Sunscreen for body.
  • Cleanser.
  • Toner.
  • Moisturizer with SPF/antioxidants for daytime.
  • Moisturizer with retinol for nighttime.
  • Eye cream.
  • Lip balm.
  • Light hand lotion.

Is Drunk Elephant good for men? ›

Give your face a little more pampering and hydration with DRUNK ELEPHANT. Description: "Babyfacial™ is a pro-quality AHA /BHA “facial” that resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, improved skin texture and tone, and a more youthful-looking radiance."

Is vitamin C serum good for men's skin? ›

Yes, the Vitamin C Serum is known to deal with acne. It also helps in dealing with dark spots and making the skin tone even.

Do men need toner? ›

Do guys need to include toner in their skin care regimen? Not necessarily. If you already have a simple skin care routine that works, there's probably no point in messing up a good thing. Adding a toner—especially one with harsh ingredients—to your routine could cause more skin problems rather than fix them.

What are the 5 basic of skin care? ›

The Basic Skincare Rules Everyone Should Know
  • Cleanse Once and Then Cleanse Again. Double cleansing requires washing your face not once but twice. ...
  • Always Layer Products in the Right Order. ...
  • Know Your Skin Type. ...
  • Take the Time to Exfoliate. ...
  • Always Wear Sunscreen.
15 Jan 2020

How should I plan my skin care routine? ›

Here are the steps for a good skincare regimen:
  1. Wash your face. Morning and night, rinse your face water and rub a small amount of gentle cleanser between clean palms. ...
  2. Apply toner. ...
  3. Apply serum. ...
  4. Apply eye cream. ...
  5. Use spot treatment. ...
  6. Moisturize. ...
  7. Apply retinoid. ...
  8. Apply face oil.
7 Jun 2021

How do men clean their face? ›

Follow our 8 step daily routine for washing your face
  1. Step 1 - Make sure your hands are clean. ...
  2. Step 2 - Wet the face with warm water. ...
  3. Step 3 - Dispense face wash into your hand. ...
  4. Step 4 - Apply face wash to your face. ...
  5. Step 5 - Wash your face for 30 seconds. ...
  6. Step 6 - Rinse the face with lukewarm water. ...
  7. Step 7 - Pat dry the skin.
8 Jul 2021


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