Men's Grooming 101: The New Skincare Basics That Every Man Should Know
Upgrade your routine – and yourself.
Oct 20, 2022
Ashley Ogawa Clarke is an editor and writer, and a consultant for Humanery. Ashley is the former Deputy Editor of MR PORTER, the online menswear destination, and has previously written for US Vogue, GQ Style, the Telegraph, and the Observer among others. He has been writing about men’s skincare for ten years, and is currently based in Tokyo, Japan.
The bar for men is often said to be low. Low as a tavern in Hades depending on who you ask, or as low as the floor if they’re being generous. And at least partly to blame for the low expectations of our sex is the collective reputation we’ve cultivated for our grooming habits. Sometimes this is unfair, sure – but sometimes, well, we don’t help ourselves. Tales of men clipping their toenails at the kitchen table, washing their face with Fairy Liquid and turning their underpants inside out in lieu of putting them in the laundry are not uncommon.
Still, the times they are a changin’, and the soap on a rope and 3-in-1 concoction that haunts your shower isn’t going to cut it in 2022. What might have passed as “the bare minimum” ten years ago has switched up considerably, and there’s now plenty more to a good skincare routine than just cleansing and moisturising. With that in mind, allow Humanery to bestow upon you a few modern pointers you’ll want to take heed of. In other words, consider the bar raised.
SPF YOURSELF SILLY
First things first: no matter where you live on earth, if you spend any time at all in daylight, SPF is a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine. UV rays are still harmful when the mercury drops (that’s why you can still get sunburnt when skiing) and they can even cause damage if you sit in a sunny office. Wrinkles and premature ageing is the least of it; skin cancer is the worst, but a good sunscreen (or moisturiser with SPF) can help prevent both. And hey, if you need a little cajoling, just google ‘truck driver sun damage’ to understand the impact of UV rays on the skin’s ageing process. Ready to do some SPF shopping now? Right this way.
CRACK OUT THE CONCEALER
If the idea of putting on makeup terrifies, baffles or bemuses you, we get it. It is not 18th century France, and a man doesn’t need a beauty spot, a powdered wig and a fur muff to look his best. Still, there’s a revolution on the horizon – and there are nothing but benefits to be gained from a spot of concealer to hide those shadowy under eyes, or a subtle splodge of tinted moisturiser to cover up an uneven skin tone. If that’s made you curious, you’ll want to do some due-diligence on which brands will cater to you. Shakeup Cosmetics is an ideal gateway into men’s makeup – its BB cream is virtually undetectable, and handily comes with SPF 25 built in. Also check out BUG, which makes a concealer that has been designed specifically for male skin and is good for covering up hard-to-hide blemishes and dark circles. The results may surprise you, and you’ll wonder why you ever resisted in the first place.
STUDY UP ON SERUMS
Serums are somewhat of a late-comer to the men’s grooming game, but are no less important than the rest of your routine. A quick crib sheet on what they actually do, then: fortified with potent ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, serums are the step after cleansing and before moisturising that will make your skin look and feel healthier – and are particularly great if you’re after something to treat dark circles or fine lines, or to brighten up dull-looking skin. Haeckels’ Algae Plump serum is excellent for an extra hit of hydration, while Skin Generics has a range of serums that are worth checking out. Think of it like taking your daily vitamins, but with more tangible results.
PAY YOUR LIPS SOME SERVICE
Speak to any red carpet grooming expert and they’ll tell you that the first thing they send their celebrity clients off with before a big event is a lip balm. Attending a party with a crusty-looking kisser is not a good look for them, and it’s not a good look for you, either. Fortunately, lip balm is the kind of thing that once you get into the habit of using, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it. Augustinus Bader makes a god-tier option in a fancy matte-gold holder, while John Masters Organics has an excellent range of affordable and flavoured ‘Lip Calms’ that should be in every man’s dopp kit.
SKINCARE WHILE YOU SLEEP
If you don’t yet have a night cream or serum as part of your routine, you’re missing out on an important skincare investment. It’s a well-documented fact that our skin barrier regenerates and repairs overnight, and you can capitalise on this by making sure you have a good nighttime routine. Skin produces less sebum at night so keeping it well moisturised will mean you wake up looking fresher and more well-rested. Dr David Jack’s Good Night Cream is a failsafe option, and is infused with Vitamin A and green tea to gently enrich and restore skin, so that by the time you’re ready to take on the following day, you won’t need to tell your face.
DON’T NEGLECT THE NECK
There’s a reason this has been a mantra in women’s skincare for decades, and it’s time men started taking notice of our necks, too – even more so because we generally have more facial hair to contend with. The neck, along with the hands and the face, will show signs of ageing first, so it’s sensible to expand your skincare routine so that it also covers your neck. Start with paying attention to spreading any moisturisers and serums you use on your face to cover just below your adam’s apple when you wash your face, the hydration of which should also help soothe skin of any shaving rash. If you find your neck area needs extra care, look to holistic skincare brand D’ALCHÉMY, which makes a specialised neck & decolletage wrinkle cream to turn the tables on your turkey neck.
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