Taking care of your looks is elementary as Sherlock would say. Now that you have read the ultimate skincare guide, another quest arises. Where to begin?
You should get a cleanser, maybe a toner depending on your skin type, definitely a moisturizer and also a scrub. But this can be harder than you think. It is easy to get lost between the aisles of skincare products.
For that reason, we have assembled a guide to make your life easier.
How Did We Choose The Products
The thing with skin care products is that people have very different preferences. Take, for example, smell. Some prefer unscented products, while many enjoy the light sandalwood odor.
While creating this list, we decided to rely heavily on user experience. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t something better out there for you. But if its good for a large portion of men then it is more than likely that you will enjoy it also.
Besides user experience, the following characteristics were preferred:
- Light smell / odorless
- Suitable for all skin types (except moisturizers)
Feel free to leave commentary if you know something that you have enjoyed. By sharing this information, this guide will become even better and more comprehensive.
Best Cleanser For Men
A cleanser is the first step in every skincare routine. We already covered why men should use cleansers in the men’s skincare guide. The answer is simple – to clean your face from daily sweat and dirt.
In truth, you could use bar soaps like Castile soaps. But they come in many varieties, and most of them tend to dry your skin. So if you have dry skin or atopic eczema, you would be doing more harm than good.
For this reason, it is better to use the proper cleanser. These are designed to minimize the drying effect while still providing excellent cleaning properties.
Jack Black – Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser
Jack Black is a great cleanser that has a light sage smell and leaves no oily residue. It comes with a pump that is convenient to use. While it may feel pricey at first glance, it lasts you for a long time. With regular use about a year. That’s not a bad return on your investment at all.
The cleanser has an added benefit – it also acts as a toner. This means that it will reduce oil production on your skin. Making it especially suitable for men with oily and combination skin. The downside is that the same ingredients can dry your skin. So if you have very dry skin or it is sensitive, this can aggravate the situation.
Best for normal, oily and combination skin
I would go with a smaller bottle if possible at first If you happen to have dry or sensitive skin. Or try to get a sample
Insta Natural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
nsta natural is another great product. It is mostly free of the known chemicals we want to avoid in our skincare products. It leaves no greasy residue and has a light citrus smell. After washing, it leaves your face feeling fresh thanks to the Aloe in it.
It is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and green tea extract if you believe in such. As somebody once said, “a belief is the cornerstone of every cure.”
It also acts as a mild exfoliant. Lactic acid inside will help you to peel those outer layers of dead skin. This again can be an unsuitable trait for those who have sensitive skin.
Best for normal, oily and combination skin
If you have sensitive and/or dry skin, I would be cautious. If you are interested, then trying a sample at first would be my recommendation
TruSkin facial cleanser Vitamin C
TruSkin is a well-liked brand. The cleanser has very modest smell, which makes it great if you are sensitive in this regard. It comes in a gel-like consistency and is best used with a cotton pad. It doesn’t foam very well, which I find unfortunate as I like the soapy feeling.
Because it is oilier than the previously mentioned products, you need to be more thorough when washing your face with water. It can still cause problems though. If you have oily acne-prone skin, it can aggravate the situation. On the other hand, this makes it great for men with dry skin. It costs less than some other, but it also comes in a smaller bottle. Most likely, you will need to replenish your stock every 6 months or so.
Best for dry and normal skin
If you have oily or combination skin, then this can cause breakouts
L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Gentle Face Cleansing Foam
L’Occitane is a huge brand and develops most of its products and ingredients in line with the organic cosmetics specifications of Ecocert. The cleanser comes with a pump that produces very light foam which rinses off easily. It leaves no oily residue and is suitable for all skin types.
It has a touch of flowery smell that evaporates quickly, and it doesn’t conflict with my cologne after a morning wash. The downside is that it is a little bit pricey. Also, if you use water-resistant sunscreen or makeup, it struggles to remove that.
Suitable for all skin types and sensitive skin
If you use daily waterproof sunscreens, then this cleanser may fail on you removing it
Best Scrub For Men
Scrubs are a great way to improve your skin complexion. The problem, though, is usually finding the one that suits you. Most men think that scrub should feel like sandpaper against their skin. After all, it says scrub, right? It is like the abrasive feeling validates the efficiency of the product.
The problem with this mindset is that it can do you more harm than good. Logically if it feels abrasive on your skin, then it must also include bigger particles. And this can remove not only the outer layers of dead cells but also reach underneath where the healthy skin is. Your face may end up being sore and covered with micro-cuts that can lead to breakouts.
So you see gritty scrub isn’t always the best solution. Men with sensitive or just dry skin can benefit more from micro-abrasive scrubs. While oily and combination skin usually needs something little bit more abrasive.
We are looking out for all of you guys. So we made a list keeping in mind the varied needs of different skin types.
ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub
Suitable for all skin types and free of known harmful chemicals. The consistency is less grainy than some others, yet you can still feel the particles when rubbing your skin. The particles are small enough, so it is safe to use two-three times a week. It also has a rather pleasant smell and leaves your skin feeling hydrated.
The thing with products that are suitable for everyone is that they end up being in the middle of the spectrum. Let me elaborate on what I mean by this. Men who have acne scars or active acne may need coarser scrubs. These men tend to have oily skin, clogged pores, and layers of dead skin cells trapped under the sebum produced by the skin. Smaller particles won’t cut it. The opposite is true if you have dry skin. Any scrub containing visible particles can be too harsh for their skin.
It is suitable for normal, combination and oily skin
It is not great for men who have sensitive skin as the particles can further irritate the skin. Nor if you have very oily acne-prone skin, you might need to try something with a more grainy texture
Brickell Men’s Renewing Face Scrub for Men
Brickells face scrub for men is another excellent product that we recommend. It is free of chemicals that may cause harm in the long run and comes in a great 4-ounce jar. The scrubbing effect is achieved by combining pumice and jojoba beads. Pumice is a volcanic rock ground into microscopic particles while Jojoba beads come from jojoba shrub. These two combined give a great exfoliating effect. You can feel the particles, but it feels very mild on your skin. It has a very light citrus smell that isn’t overpowering.
It is suitable for most skin types if used a few times a week
Men with sensitive and dry skin should be careful. Because it is mechanical scrub, it can irritate your skin. Once a week is a good starting point. But it may still be too harsh and uncomfortable on your skin
Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Face Exfoliator
It has little bit generic pharmacy look about it that’s true. But other than that it is a great exfoliator. Microdermabrasion means what it supposed to in this case – it is a very mild scrubber. If you have oily, uneven skin or acne scars, then this is most likely too gentle for you. On the other hand, if you have very sensitive skin, then this definitely something you should consider.
Though it says that it should be used once or twice a week, you can safely use it more regularly. Assuming your skin doesn’t feel irritated.
It has a light, pleasant citrus smell and it isn’t oily so that it washes off very easily — overall great product.
It is suitable for men with sensitive or very dry skin. There are men and women out there alas, whose skin is so sensitive that any form of scrubbing is just too harsh. These individuals should consult a cosmetologist or dermatologist. Professional help may be warranted
It is not suitable if you have uneven acne-prone skin, acne scars, or just very oily skin. Bigger guns are needed in this case
Best Toner For Men
Companies aggressively market toners. They claim to have a range of properties, which makes it confusing to understand what they are really for. So let me address this once more – toners first and most important task is to reduce your skins oil production.
This is often achieved by alcohol, which can dry your skin. There are now toners that are also alcohol-free yet accomplish the same thing. Unfortunately, they still tend to cause skin dryness. Even oily and combination skin can get flaky. So men with dry and sensitive skin should be especially careful and avoid them altogether.
If you have very oily skin or you live in hot, humid climate toners can be useful. They reduce the sebum production hence remove the sheen from your forehead and nose. If this is something you struggle with, then these products should be included in your skincare routine.
Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-free Facial Toner
While toners often claim to have miracle properties, the most important thing from men’s perspective is the capability to reduce the shining-forehead complexion. Neutrogena is very mild in this regard. One might even say after looking at the ingredients, how does it work at all? It is suitable for dry and sensitive skin as it has a lot of hydrating ingredients and very little oil reducing ingredients. Also, the smell is somewhat overpowering and noticeable.
It is suitable for dry and sensitive skin in a hot, humid climate. But as I said in the introduction, toners are best for men with oily skin. This product is too mild if you have really oily and acne-prone skin
It is not good if you have very oily skin
Thayers Alcohol-free Unscented Witch Hazel Toner
Another great choice is Thayers toner. They come in varied smells, but I prefer the unscented one. It is also alcohol-free, so it doesn’t dry your skin. That is why it is suitable for men with sensitive and dry skin.
The oil reducing effect is achieved by witch hazel, an astringent. The other essential ingredient is rose water, which is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because of these properties mentioned earlier, it can also be used to soothe razor burn.
What is also great about Thayers toners is that they are free of most known harmful preservatives like parabens and PEG-s.
It is an excellent choice for men of all skin types
While it is free of alcohol, the witch hazel can still cause some skin tightness around the eyes where the skin is thinner. Men with dry skin should be aware of this. Then again, men with dry skin don’t really need toners anyway
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner
Now I know that I have said it before that you don’t need a toner if you have dry skin. As the whole point of a toner is to keep the oiliness at bay. Something that men with dry skin are lacking. But you can still suffer from acne and blemishes.
If simple face washing and scrubbing doesn’t work for your acne. And believe me, I know it doesn’t work for everyone, then you can add a toner to your skincare routine as well. Here is where Klairs toner steps in. The consistency is slightly thick yet not oily. It has a great moisturizing effect, and thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps to soothe the skin.
It is suitable for men with dry and sensitive skin that suffer from blemishes and acne
It is less effective on oily skin
Best Moisturizer For Men
Moisturizers are an essential element in any skincare routine. After removing the daily debris from your face, you also remove the skins natural protective layer. To replace that and to keep moisture in your skin, you should always use moisturizers.
Here as with other skincare products, it is essential to know which type of skin you have. The oily, cold cream type of cream is preferred if you have dry skin. Vanishing type of cream is suitable for those who have oily skin. We will give recommendations for both of you guys!
As with other products we recommend, we try to find the best balance between user experience, quality and price. There are plenty of cheap creams out there meant for men. While these work in most part, they are often filled with harmful ingredients. Hormone active conservatives like Parabens are a hotly debated topic, and the industry is moving away from these. It also means that you need to replace those common cheap ingredients with something safer and, unfortunately, more pricier alternatives. That is why there is a considerable price difference.
Brickell Men’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer
This light lotion is excellent for men who have normal, combination, or oily skin. It absorbs quickly and leaves no residue. Though it is scented, it has a very light smell. But if you dislike scented products, then there is also an unscented version available. It is also free of many known harmful ingredients that are better to avoid if possible: Namely petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, PEG-s and silicone.
It is a little bit too runny and because it comes without a pump, it can be bothersome to poor out of the bottle. The other issue is the price. It is not exactly a cheap product. You could buy of course something much more affordable like Nivea Men Creme. But you would also cover your face with parabens and petrochemicals. So the extra cost minimizes health risks, and it also has antioxidative properties if you believe in those.
If you use this once a day, then the bottle lasts 6 months easily. Divide that with the price, and you actually end up around 20¢ a day. And finally, I wouldn’t recommend buying vast quantities anyway. Products, if opened for long periods, can get contaminated with germs, which can lead to an unpleasant smell.
It is suitable for men with normal, combination and oily skin. Better suited for climates not too extreme nor too sunny. And also for men with darker skin color as this comes without sunblock in it
It is too light for men that suffer from very dry and sensitive skin. Also, if you live in sunny, arid or very cold climate, you may need something thicker and with an SP factor. At least for those months when the temperature is in its extreme and UV index is 3 and more
Jack Black – Double-Duty Face Moisturizer With SPF
Another non-oily light moisturizer, free of parabens, sulfates or phthalates. It is also taken in by your skin quickly and without residue. The smell is light and nothing pungent. And as with the previously mentioned product, it is most suited for normal, combination and oily skin.
It has a few advantages over the previously mentioned Brickell Men’s Daily Moisturizer though. The first one is obvious – it also acts as a sunblock. While it protects from both UVA and UVB, the SPF20 is a rather weak sunscreen overall. Especially if you have very light skin and tend to sunburn easily. Nevertheless, it is something and you can always add an extra layer of sunscreen if you wish to do so. The other “not-so-obvious” advantage is the pump. It makes applying the lotion much more convenient.
Now some of the things we are not that happy about. The same pump we praised in the previous paragraph seems to break down on some people. Also, the sunscreen included in this moisturizer isn’t waterproof. Sweating will wash it straight off from your face. And even if it didn’t, SPF 20 means that most light-skinned gentlemen should reapply this every 1-2h to avoid sunburn. And finally, men with dry skin might find this again too light for their needs.
It is suitable for men with normal, combination and oily skin. For men with darker skin and for those who live in a more average climate
It is not suitable for dry and sensitive skin. And men who have very light skin should use something with a higher SP factor in it. Or your hobby means getting wet a lot then you need a waterproof sunblock
Eau Thermale Avene Rich Compensating Cream
First, don’t get discouraged by its feminine look. Second, this is definitely one of the pricier products recommended here. Regrettably, there are fewer choices if you suffer from dry and sensitive skin. Most moisturizers are too thin to establish a proper barrier for these men. So you have to use thicker creams. Also, dry skin is usually sensitive, and avoiding known irritating ingredients is a good practice.
The cream isn’t too heavy and has a delicate but pleasant smell. The non-comedogenic properties make it attractive also for those who suffer from whiteheads and clogged pores.
Now to the downsides. There’s the obvious one, the elephant in the room – the price. You get a rather small amount for the money you pay. If you are price-sensitive, then I urge you do try out the previously mentioned products. But if you have dry, flaky skin. Or live in a very cold or arid climate. Then more than likely, you will need something that is more fine-tuned for your needs. And as mentioned, this comes with higher cost.
It is suitable for men with dry and sensitive skin. The non-comedogenic property of this makes it also an excellent option for men who suffer from acne
It is not exactly unsuitable for men with oily and combination skin, but there are cheaper options out there for these men
What About Combination Products?
Many of the products sold claim to do more than one thing. You have scrubs that will moisturize your face. Cleansers that also act as toners. Moisturizers that have sunscreen in them. And almost every other product will also protect you from oxidative stress, among other things.
It makes sense to use as few products as possible on your skin. After all, they are all chemicals. The way to do it is to use 2-in-1 products just like hair shampoo and conditioner often come as one product.
The real question is, which is the right combination. Take cleansers and toners for example. Both tend to try your skin. And if you use them both daily, this can quickly become a problem for your skin. I personally believe that toners should be used separately. This way you can skip a day when your skin gets too dry.
Many toners, scrubs, and exfoliants also claim to moisturize your skin. This can be the case, but it can also be a sham. Some of the products have a high concentration of glycerol (glycerin). This acts as a humectant and also as a smoothing lubricating ingredient. Humectants are molecules that bind water from the surrounding. It means that water is drawn from deeper layers of skin to the superficial stratum corneum. And because it also makes your skin feel smooth under your fingers, this can falsely be regarded as “hydrated skin.” But in reality, they use chemical properties and human psychology to mislead us. The truth is that your skin can get even dryer after using these products.
Where I do recommend using combination products is moisturizers. It makes sense to use one with sunscreen in it. Especially if you live in a sunny climate. Excessive sun leads to premature aging and is a skin cancer risk factor (to be more precise – the ultraviolet (UV) radiation) . Then again if you happen to live in a country where the sun is as rare as a unicorn, then you might want to forgo this advice.
There is no such thing as a perfect skincare product for everyone. Any product can cause breakouts or skin irritation no matter what the package says. So watch out for the signs that the product is not suitable for you.
Don’t be afraid of experimenting. Great products are being made all over the world. But also keep a critical mind. There is a reason why some products cost way more than others. It is not just the brand and marketing but also expensive quality ingredients.
By analyzing the ingredients, price and user experience, we can give you the best chance of getting a product you will be happy with. And I hope this article has achieved this.