While some men may hate to admit it, there’s a growing popularity for male grooming and skincare regimes in the modern age – and there’s a good reason for it too.
In fact, The Independent has reported that the UK is one of the seven top ‘boom’ markets in men’s toiletries, with the number of men who claim to regularly maintain their appearance having reached 44% on these shores.
While this pales into comparison to some countries, the number has increased markedly in recent times, while the number of men who routinely spend on skincare products across the globe has increased from 17% in 2015 to 21% last year.
But adopting a good skincare routine isn’t just for vanity – it’s vital for keeping your skin healthy, clear and preventing signs of early ageing (plus, good skincare does make you feel great).
In this post, we’ll offer some top skincare tips for guys who want to make the most of their appearance and join the growing army of skincare enthusiasts.
1. Use a Gentle Daily Cleanser
Whether you’re male or female, every viable skincare regime starts with washing your face with a cleanser everyday.
We’d recommend washing your skin with a gentle cleansing product every single night. Whether you choose to use a cleanser in the morning will depend on your skin type and what works best for you.
For those with oily skin, a gentle cleanser twice a day might be a good option, but if your skin is on the drier side, you might want to refrain from using cleanser in the morning, and opting to just splash your face with some water instead.
The reason for this is simple; if you have dry skin, washing your face too often may irritate your skin and strip it of its natural oils, so you may be better off only washing with a cleanser in the evening to rid your skin of any dirt accumulated throughout the day.
In terms of products, use a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling clean but not tight, while avoiding products that use typically abrasive ingredients such as alcohol (such as traditional soaps).
If you have sensitive skin, you should also invest in a natural cleanser that has been specifically formulated to suit your skin type. This will minimise the risk of irritation and prevent the skin from tightening noticeably over time.
One of our favourite facial cleansers is the MANTL Face + Scalp cleanser, which uses top quality ingredients such as aloe, allantoin and willow herb extract to soothe and moisturise your skin as it cleans. It’s great for all skin types and is priced at $17 a bottle.
For some of our other favourite cleansers, check out our guide to the best face washes for different skin types.
If you’ve noticed that you have particularly oily skin, it may also be worth using a hot towel to clean your face in the morning before using a splash of cold water to reinvigorate your pores.
2. Moisturise Every Morning and Night
While you might want to avoid washing your face twice a day – the same can’t be said for moisturising your skin. You should be using a good, hydrating product both morning and night!
When it comes to the type of moisturiser you use (cream or gel, oil or water based etc.), much depends on your skin type and its precise needs. How dry your skin is may change at different times of the year, and you may have specific skin concerns such as acne, dryness or oil, creating the need for an agile skincare regime that changes according to the circumstances.
If you have particularly dry skin, for example, it’s worth moisturising with a rich cream product every morning and evening. This will help to rehydrate your skin on a constant basis, minimising dryness and protecting your skin from the most extreme weather conditions.
On a similar note, we’d also recommend using a natural and non-abrasive moisturiser that boasts a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 all-year round (we’ll have a little more on this below).
This will help to protect you against disguised and incidental sun exposure, whenever you pop down to the local shop or make your daily commute.
In the evening you may want to opt for a slightly richer moisturiser than during the day (although, again this will depend on what works for your skin), that doesn’t include sunscreen to allow your skin to restore and rejuvenate overnight.
3. Use SPF Everyday, Even in the Winter
The importance of SPF should never be overlooked, and for those of you who don’t use a moisturiser that already contains SPF, you’ll need to take additional steps to help protect your skin.
This rule applies even during winter months, as UVA and UVB rays are always present, so any period of time spent outdoors can trigger prolonged sun exposure and lead to the gradual development of wrinkles, age spots and (in the worst case scenario) skin cancer.
So, before spending time outside of the home, take the time to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin, whether this is in the form of a specialist sun protection product or the type of moisturiser that we’ve discussed earlier in the post.
The best practice is to apply a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen product with an SPF of 30 or higher, while taking the time to reapply this after activities such as swimming or being caught in a particularly heavy downpour.
If you have a shaved head, hats can also provide an additional layer of protection for your skin, while shade and sun-protective clothing may provide similar assistance in this respect.
While this may seem like an unnecessary step (and is often overlooked) it’s vitally important and can help to safeguard your skin over time.
4. Stop Using Face Scrubs
While face scrubs are increasingly used by men in the UK, these products can actually be quite harmful for your skin, and shouldn’t be used to exfoliate the gentle skin on your face.
The main reason for this is that (even if you feel like it’s working), face scrubs are often too harsh on the skin, The large particles used in face scrubs can cause micro-tears on the surface of your skin, which might not be visible to the eye, but will cause damage to the skin with each use.
The most common culprits include ground-up shells, fruit pits and (more likely) volcanic rock, and the micro-tears caused by these agents will gradually weaken your skin’s natural barriers and make it more prone to redness and dry, flaky patches.
Instead, we’d recommend using a liquid exfoliant that utilises “Alpha Hydroxy Acids” (AHAs), which contribute to a far smoother product that sweeps away dead skin cells and leaves your skin looking more radiant. We’d recommend looking for products that use glycolic acid as the main active ingredient, which is suitable for a wide range of skin concerns.
Liquid exfoliants that use AHAs such as glycolic acid are often far more effective and less harmful than traditional scrubs, and less likely to cause damage over time.
To use a liquid exfoliant, all you need to do is pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and swipe it over clean skin and leave to dry before applying your moisturiser.
5. Learn How to Choose Skincare Products
As we can see already, there’s a wide range of skincare products available on the male grooming market, from moisturisers and SPF to cleansers and exfoliants.
It’s also clear that some are preferable to others depending on your skin type, with each will play its own unique role as part of an integrated and considerable skincare regime.
From a general perspective, however, men tend to have oily and thicker skin, mainly due to the effects of testosterone. As a result of this, most skincare offerings for males tend to be formulated to combat oil, but it’s important to understand your exact skin type and any noticeable issues that exist before determining your choice of grooming products.
Dry or sensitive skin may require specialist products, for example, where those of you that have a combination of oily and dry patches should seek out cleaners and moisturisers that have been designed for ‘combination’ skin.
Ultimately, the key is to understand your skin type and research the best products to suit your own unique needs before making informed and hopefully considered skincare decisions!
6. The Dirty Dozen – What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
We’ve already touched on the need to avoid abrasive agents, with alcohol arguably at the top of this list.
Other serious offenders include aluminium, which is actually a toxic metal that has oestrogen-like effects in our systems and can actively disrupt the healthy functioning of the endocrine system.
Interestingly, you may also want to avoid skincare or grooming products that contain mineral oil, which is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic and can clog the pores in some instances.
Mineral oils are commonly found in creams, lotions and cosmetics, and they should be avoided where possible as they can interfere with the skin’s ability to eliminate harmful toxins.
As a more general rule, be sure to avoid any skincare products that include any synthetic or artificial ingredients.
This includes synthetic fragrances, which tend to comprise hundreds of additional, non-natural ingredients that aren’t listed on the label and could expose you to a huge range of potentially harmful toxins.
Widely found in skincare products for both men and women, synthetic fragrances represent a great unknown and should be avoided if you intend to look after your skin successfully going forward.
The Last Word
Ultimately, creating a viable and comprehensive skincare regime is no easy feat, while it’s one that requires knowledge, research and a clear understanding of your skin’s own unique needs.
However, this guide should hopefully help you on your way, by providing a clear foundation from which you can create a suitable and manageable grooming regime that can stand the test of time.
From here, you can have your skin looking and feeling great in no time, while also joining a rising trend for male grooming in the UK!