It’s hard not to notice that face care exists. The maelstrom of advertising mixed with our adolescent insecurities dealt a blow by various skin problems during the most important years of our lives, meant most of us are familiar with some form of Men’s Face Care.
Thankfully, as Men’s face care has become less and less of a cliche, more and more products are available to us and talking about them is much less frowned upon. I’ve been through years of learning the hard way. With problemed skin from my early teens to adulthood, I’ve spent hundreds on skincare from cheap to expensive, been to skin specialists, dermatologists and clinics, taken pills, topical solutions and even applied neat disinfectant all in an attempt to fix the issues.
Now much older, I understand that to beat skin issues comes down to much more than just what you put on your face, it’s about what you put into it and the body that it covers. In a soon to materialise series on Healthcare + Fitness, I’ll cover how perhaps the number 1 treatment for bad skin is diet, in particular reducing sugar intake.
Basic Face Care
Having a good skin care regime is still very important but understanding where to start is tough. What does it all mean? What should I buy? Obviously whoever I ask in a store is going to push their products so how do I know I’m getting the best product? They are so expensive, I can’t try them all! Forget I’ll just go with the almost cheapest and what the packaging promises.
In an attempt to help you understand what you’re looking for, here is a quick guide to the basics of men’s face care products. If you are like me and enjoy cleaning the car – I’ve matched the function of the skincare to the function of car care products. It’s amazing how similar they are!
They are in order of how you would apply them –
Pretty self explanatory and what most Men’s face washes will be labeled as. Actually this isn’t fair. Not all face washes are the same. As outlined next, there are Cleansers, Clarifiers and Exfoliators. You need a clean surface to start any regime.
Car Care Equivalent – Shampoo
Face Wash – Cleaners
The most general and versatile face wash is just there to clean the skin. Remove everything on the surface and clean out the surface of pores. There are loads of them. They should be used as a minimum. Facial skin is different to skin elsewhere on the body. there are more pores and they are more sensitive.
Car Care Equivalent- Shampoo
Face Wash – Clarifyers
The idea behind these is to clarify the skin unsurprisingly, but what does this mean? They are designed to strip the skin of everything on it and leave it clean and very clear. Bringing definition to the colour and further clean out the pores, much deeper than a general cleansers. Most Clarifiers will also contains some ingredient to not hurt the skin, like a natural moisturiser, else the skin will go really tight straight away.
Car Care Equivalent – Combined Shampoo and Polish
Face Wash – Exfoliators
These should come with a warning, especially those sold to men. In my experience they are much harsher in “men’s” products than in women’s or non-gender specific products, as though men need nails to carve the dead skin off their face! We’re not in 300. The job of an exfoliator is to remove dead skin from the face. It’s a good idea to use for your body in general. Dead skin build up sticks to the surface and ends up clogging pores and “getting in the way” of any products you put on the skin. You shouldn’t generally exfoliate everyday.
Car Care Equivalent – Shampoo and T-Cut
– Beads – there are exfoliators with little beads or particles in that physically scrap dead skin off the face. These are good for tough skin but will massacre sensitive or thin skin. Sometimes good to use once a week for a good scrub.
– Chemical – doesn’t have beads but exfoliates using chemicals. Better for sensitive skin or more complex skin but do some research to get something that matches your skin type and needs.
Not just one for the girls. Cucumber eyed, mud covered mugs are as much a part of men’s face care as it is female face care, because it’s the same!! A face mask is applied wet to the face a left to set for about 15 minutes. This works really deep into the skin and dries on the face, pulling all the rubbish up and out of the skin. Do it once a week max and be prepared for 1. odd looks and 2. an onslaught of bad skin – things must get worse to get better.
Car Care Equivalent – Hard Wax
Like the Clarifying face wash, a toner is meant to work pretty deep and clean the skin. Toner also help hugely with skin pH and help restore balance to the minerals is the skin prior to moisturiser. Some Toners do the exfoliating and some are designed to further remove dirt. Using a cotton pad to wipe all over the face, you’ll see the extra stuff that comes off – it’s surprising, especially since you just washed it. Sometime I use just a toner to clean my face if I’m in a rush.
Car Care Equivalent – Quick Wax
I love serums. They have changed everything. I used to get fed up of moisturiser not working well enough. Serums are a highly moisturising base layer for moisturiser. The prepare the skin and delay the absorption of moisturisers into the skin. They deal with the skins immediate need for moisture and make the following moisturiser go much much further. While I compare this to a car primer, it’s perhaps better to describe a serum as a post workout protein shake. You give the body exactly what is needs to feed off so as to not damage the muscles and find instant sustenance. It’s not the proper meal that will follow, but it is what you need and it will make your post workout meal go much further.
Car Care Equivalent – Primer
This is probably the most well known form of advanced men’s face care. Despite the array of products listed, moisturiser is probably the first and last venture into “proper” face care most men take. “Keep your skin hydrated” – the mantra of all specialists. To deter irritation, soreness, dry skin and to protect from the outside world, we need to use this as the bare minimum of skincare. The moisturiser you use will usually create a barrier over the skin and slowly sink into the skin, hydrating from the outside in. There are probably thousands of moisturisers on the market, and finding the best one is hard. Consistency is the most important thing for me as now I use serums, all day hydration isn’t a problem anymore.
Car Care Equivalent – Liquid Wax
Moisturiser – Anti-ageing
Unlike the difference between male and female skincare which is nothing, the difference between normal skincare and anti-ageing skincare is much more relevant. Anti-ageing moisturisers contain synthetic chemicals and compounds that are designed to “fill” creases in the skin, increase tightness without discomfort and replenish chemicals that the skin may have trouble producing by itself in it’s advanced age. Don’t use these too early in your years, they are expensively doing nothing for you. Like it’s car care equivalent, what’s the point using it on a new car.
Car Care Equivalent – Scratch Restorer
One of my most amazing discoveries and my first foray into proper skin care. The Loreal Men Expert Eye Cream Rollerball product was a saving grace for tired, sore and unhappy eyes. Eye creams are a moisturiser specifically for the skin around eyes. The skin around the eye is the thinnest skin on the face and if you over moisturise then you run the risk of getting saggy eye bags. For this reason most face products will say “avoid the eye area”. This doesn’t avoid getting it in your eyes, it means avoid the area all together. I use eye cream most of the time as a “pick me up”. It wakes the sensitive skin up and has the same effect as a slap across the face or stiff cup of coffee!
Car Care Equivalent – Tyre Gel
Get a routine!
That’s about it for Men’s Face Care. It’s a light hearted approach to something pretty important and entirely your responsibility. You have to look at it everyday, you can’t really forget it’s there. If you have troubled skin, have a regime, if you have perfect skin, have a regime to keep it that way. Drop me a line with any questions. I go over the correct types of products and care in style consultations, completely tailored to you and your skin.
A good skin care regime can be discovered by yourself, just try things, ASK for samples, speak to counter staff. I spoke to a lady at Clinique and she taught me loads. I changed a lot of the original products she advised but the knowledge is the same and I use other products by Clinique and other brands. The only male directed product I use now is the Loreal Eye Cream. If you really have a problem with a bottle that has a pink cap, Boots or Muji do blank empties, pour it in there with a manly scribble!
No excuse chaps, get on it.