Make your skin smile!
Effective skincare takes more than just washing your face with whatever soap you have lying around and hoping for the best. It’s like anything worthwhile: it takes commitment, consistency, and care, not to mention a healthy amount of experimentation till you find the right products for you.
And anyways, building a skincare routine from ground zero takes only a few simple steps, and you’d be surprised by how much of a difference you’ll see after just a few weeks of following them.
Step 1: Facial Cleanser
When we think of clean skin, we’re conditioned to expect a dry, squeaky-clean feeling, but that’s a sign that you’ve over-cleansed, and that is a bad thing. It means your skin’s protective barrier is disrupted, and you’ve stripped away good oils that keep it moisturized. Instead, use a specific facial cleanser designed for your skin type. If you have dry skin, look for a cleanser with moisturizing ingredients and if you have oily skin, use a gel cleanser with oil-controlling ingredients like salicylic acid. Use your cleanser morning and night for the best results.
Eye cream is like the Swiss army knife in men’s daily skincare: it is a simple tool that can solve many problems. Dark circles? It can help get rid of them. Puffy bags of late-night rage? Are you starting to see wrinkles and fine lines? Eye cream will help you look fresh. The skin around the eyes is thinner than the rest of the face. Therefore it requires more concentrated ingredients and tends to lose moisture quickly and easily. Start using the eye cream in the morning and evening after cleansing.
The biggest reason I’ve heard guys say they don’t use moisturizer is that they don’t like the way it feels on their faces. I understand. Who wants to feel like your mug is covered in mud all day? But finding a moisturizer you can tolerate is easy (lighter formulas are coming out every day), and using it will at least keep your skin feeling dry and, at best, help it maintain moisture that will hold it in. It looks suitable for years to come. If you’re a beginner, look for words like “lotion” or “gel” instead of “cream” on the label. Apply it after the eye cream to trap moisture.
The final step is most important: no matter your skin tone, you need to be wearing sunscreen every day. Seriously. UV rays from the sun, which we all encounter every day unless we are shut-ins or vampires, not only cause skin cancer but are also the most significant factor in our skin’s aging. Daily sunscreen is the most effective anti-aging product we have. But most guys don’t wear it for the same reason as a moisturizer (“I don’t like how it feels” *crying face emoji*). That’s no longer an excuse. Instead of using a moisturizer with a tiny SPF, look for a sunscreen with skin-hydrating ingredients. That way, you can wear it over your moisturizer (more hydration never hurt anyone) or on its own occasionally, like when it’s hot.
Regular exfoliation is essential because it gets rid of dead skin cells that stick around on the surface of our face where they can clog your pores, keep products like moisturizers from working their best, and make your skin look dull. But before everyone comes at me saying that exfoliation should be in the beginner section, hear this: men exfoliate every time they shave. That means some of us exfoliate every single day without realizing it. If you are going to exfoliate on purpose (which most of us should do about once a week), don’t use the scrub, which can be too harsh. Instead, look for an exfoliator containing alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid, which will slough away dead cells more gently. Use your chemical exfoliator once or twice a week after cleansing before applying your other products.
There are hundreds of different kinds of masks, and what they all have in common is that they’re meant to supplement our core skincare routines. They’re like serums in that they deliver more concentrated ingredients and target specific skin concerns. The best mask for men, especially beginners, is a clay mask. These masks use ingredients like clay and mud to cleanse deep into your pores (deeper than your twice-daily cleanser can go) and remove built-up dirt, oil, and debris. But, also like serums, you can find masks that do almost anything – so no matter what you’re looking for, there’s a mask for that. Most veneers should be used once or twice a week.
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