Build your best skincare routine from the ground up with our beginner’s introduction to men’s skincare.
The world of men’s skincare can be overwhelming. Moisturisers, hyaluronic acid, chemical exfoliants—no wonder most of us get confused. Strip your skincare back to the basics and discover what products work for your skin with our beginner’s guide to men’s skincare.
The Best Men’s Skincare Routine for Beginners
A good skincare routine consists of three equally important steps: cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising. These three steps, in that order, help your skin to wash away the day, reinvigorate and encourage the production of new skin cells and help to keep it protected.
Step 1. Wash your skin with a cleanser
Frequency: twice daily, morning and night.
Why you need to cleanse your skin:
Cleansing is an incredibly important step in your skincare routine. Your skin picks up all sorts of nasties, such as dirt, sweat, pollution, and more, which can lead to breakouts and irritations.
How to choose the right cleanser for your skin:
When choosing a face cleanser, you need to choose one that suits your type of skin. You might have oily skin, dry skin, or even a combination. If you’re unsure of what skin type you have, we suggest speaking with a dermatologist to see what will suit you.
Cleanser for Oily Skin
Oily skin can be due to several factors: genetics, stress, hormones, humidity, and so on. Many people make the mistake of over-cleansing their skin to remove the oil from their complexion. This often leads to a messy cycle, where your skin drys out and then overproduces even more oil to compensate for the loss. For most men, the best cleanser for oily skin is a gel-based or foaming formula. Keep an eye out for cleansers that contain hyaluronic acid (great for hydrating), and niacinamide (calms the skin). For an oily skin cleanser that protects as it soothes, look to Dermalogica’s Skin Resurfacing Cleanser or The Skills Anti-Aging Foaming Face Wash.
Cleanser for Dry or Sensitive Skin
Dry skin, skin lacking in water or oil retention, and sensitive skin are often a symptom of the same problem: a compromised skin barrier. Help your skin regain its strength with a cleanser that features a mild, gentle formula. Look for the word “ceramides” on the labelling, which helps to cleanse the skin without damaging the skin barrier more. We love the gentle-on-the-skin ingredients in the Dermalogica Daily Milkfoliant.
Cleanser for Combination Skin
If your skin is dry in some places, and then oily in others, you probably have combination skin. Combat an uneven complexion with a ceramide-infused formula that can help to remove excess oil, without stripping away the skin barrier. For a great combination cleanser, look to the All-In-One Multi-Action Face Wash from Lab Series for a scrub that hits all the marks.
Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin
Almost all of us will have some experience with acne during our lives. A proper cleanser with the right ingredients is an essential component of acne treatment. A cleanser with a concentration of benzoyl peroxide paired with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides can help acne-prone skin. For a good all-rounder, Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Gel has been specially tailored for acne-prone skin.
For many men, shaving is a fact of life. However, constant shaving can lead to irritation and ingrown hair. The simplest solution to solve ingrown hairs is using a cleanser with salicylic acid.
How to cleanse your skin:
Cleanse your skin in the morning to help remove any product from the night before as well as sweat or dirt that you might have picked up in your sleep. Be sure to cleanse again in the evening to wash away the day, and give your nighttime products a clean canvas to work on. To cleanse your skin, dispense a small dollop of your cleanser into your hands. Using cool water (hot water can dry out your skin), begin to lather and massage the product into your face. Avoid your delicate eye area. Wash the product off, and gently pat yourself dry.
Anti-Aging Foaming Face Wash
Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Gel
Step 2. Exfoliate Your Skin
Frequency: once or twice a week.
Why exfoliating your skin is important:
Did you know that men’s skin is up to 30% thicker than women’s, and also produces more oil? Without proper exfoliation, your skin can get a build-up of dead skin cells, grime, and more, which your regular cleanser won’t be able to budge. Over time, your skin begins to acquire a rougher texture, flaky skin, dullness, dryness, and even clogged pores. Exfoliating your skin helps you to get deep into the pores, shifting all the hard-to-remove debris and leaving room for your products to do their work
How to choose the right exfoliator for your skin:
You can exfoliate with either a chemical exfoliant or a physical scrub. A physical exfoliant is a product that contains small particles that scrub away dead skin and debris. For a chemical exfoliant, Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Thermafoliant and the Ultraceuticals Ultra Granule-C Microfoliant hit all the marks.
A chemical exfoliant, on the other hand, uses acids or enzymes to dissolve and loosen the cells. If you are dealing with acne or if you have sensitive skin, most dermatologists suggest using a chemical exfoliant to avoid aggravating the skin. We love Clinique’s salicylic-based, incredible gentle For Men Face Scrub.
How to choose the right exfoliator for your skin:
Exfoliating once or twice a week, in the evenings is best. Over-exfoliating the skin can strip away your skin’s oils, which can lead to irritation, so make sure you don’t get overexcited and scrub away the goodness.
Twice weekly, after using your cleanser, splash warm water onto your face. Take a small dollop of your chosen exfoliator in your palm, and gently rub the product between your hands to spread it out. Then, very softly, begin to rub the product into your face and neck area. Massage the product into your skin in circular motions, taking a little more time to focus on areas with facial hair. Wash the product off, and gently pat dry with a clean towel.
Ultra Granule-C Microfoliant
Clinique For Men Face Scrub
Shop Exfoliators Shop Skincare
Step 3: Moisturise
Frequency: morning and night, after cleansing.
Why moisturising your skin is so important:
Now, it’s time for the final step in your routine, the creme de la creme of the whole ritual, moisturiser. Moisturising your skin helps to preserve your skin’s natural moisture levels and also helps to deter threats to your skin barrier. A good moisturiser will help to boost your inner glow, keep your skin looking happy and healthy, and also work to heal any imperfections or irritations you may be facing.
How to choose the right moisturiser for your skin:
We highly recommend investing in two moisturisers: one for the morning with SPF to protect you from UV rays, and one for the evening without SPF. Your daytime cream will feel slightly lighter than your evening cream, as your night cream is the more proactive of the two in nourishing your skin.
To choose the right moisturiser for your skin, once again we return to skin types. While there are some one-size-fits-all creams, try to look for a moisturiser that will suit your skin type.
Moisturiser for normal skin
Normal skin may not have any glaring issues, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active in helping to protect it. Ensure your skin stays healthy with hydrating moisturisers that will help to keep your skin barrier protected. A great night cream for normal skin is the Men Revitalizing Cream by L’Occitane. For day cream, Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Brightening Moisturizer, followed by sunscreen will help to keep your complexion healthy.
Moisturiser for oily skin
When looking for a moisturiser for oily skin, look for products that are noncomedogenic (they won’t clog your pores) and oil-free. You also want to find a product that is ultra-hydrating and nourishing but not too heavy and greasy. To matte your shine while keeping it protected, look to Clinique’s For Men Oil Control Mattifying Moisturizer. For a day cream with built-in SPF, we love the Invisible Physical Defense SPF30 from Dermalogica.
Moisturiser for dry or sensitive skin
Dry or sensitive skin is calling out for products that help to rebuild your skin barrier. Moisturising your skin with the right ingredients in the morning and night will help to boost your skin’s water levels, and should, over time, allow for everything to stabilise. During the day, the lightweight formula of Natio’s Daily Defence Face Moisturiser SPF50+ will help to keep your skin happy and safe. For an ultra-intense night boost, Ultraceuticals Ultra DNA3 Complex Recovery Night Cream will be your go-to.
Moisturiser for combination skin
For combination skin (oily or shiny around the t-zone but dehydrated in other spots), a light, water-based moisturiser will help to restore balance. Clinique‘s Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Cream will help to soothe the skin. Or, for an SPF20 boost, Clarins’ Multi-Active Day Cream Gel.
How to apply moisturiser to your skin:
Apply moisturiser in the morning and night, after the cleansing and exfoliating stage. Take a small dollop of your cream, and gently apply it all over your face and neck. We suggest applying your moisturiser after a shower or bath for best results and making sure to avoid any sensitive areas of the skin.
Daily Defence Face Moisturiser Spf 50+
Cade Revitalising Cream for Normal to Dry Skin
PowerBright Moisturizer SPF50
PowerBright Overnight Cream
Shop Moisturisers Shop Skincare
Discover the best skincare actives and maximise your routine with expert advice from Ingrid Seaburn’s Cheat Sheet: A Guide to the Best Skincare Actives.