by Anthony Enright
Like most guys I do not have a high tolerance for a grooming routine, and despite the fact that I live with two women, I’m not really a fan of overly fussy skin care products. On the other hand, if there’s one thing that was drilled into my head by my overly-vain extended family, it’s the importance of proper skin care. It’s really remarkably easy to take care of your skin, so simple in fact that I’m surprised more guys don’t actually bother. Like exercise, proper skin care will not just keep you looking good in the short term, but also avoid premature damage. If you’d like to avoid looking ten years older than your actual age as you move towards your thirties and forties, there are two main lines of defense: exfoliation and hydration.
Proper skin care becomes even more important during our Minnesota winters when the harsh wind, punishing temps and dry conditions can really do a number on your face. Before winter is upon us, and as the season changes start thinking about caring for your skin and assembling some of the tools you will need to develop good skincare habits. It’s scientific fact that men’s skin differs from women’s. Men’s skin is thicker (no, that is not some misogynistic joke) and we have the effects of shaving to contend with, so there are compelling reasons beyond masculine vanity to seek out products specially formulated for men. A few of my favorite products ranging from drugstore finds to higher end specialty products are below. (Click the photos for links to buy.)
This essential step helps remove dead skin and expose the healthy layer underneath. If you typically use some kind of facial cleanser that does not exfoliate, you’ll want to add this step at least two or three times a week. I just use an exfoliating scrub as my standard face wash because I am lazy and can’t be bothered to stock two face washes (a man has his limits).
St. Ives Scrub is not glamorous or sexy, and you can find it everywhere, but damn if it doesn’t get the job done. It seems to calm my skin and definitely works in the exfoliation department. Make sure you get the type that says ‘Fresh Skin’ as there are a bunch of others that use those gross tiny plastic balls to supposedly exfoliate. The ‘Fresh Skin’ kind is the original that uses actual tiny bits of ground apricot pit and trust me, that’s the way to go. Also, it’s around $4; beat that!
The Zirth cleanser is a step up and has a nice clinical feel and smell. It’s much less “vigorous” than the St. Ives, so if you’re a guy with very sensitive skin this may be your product. It has Aloe and Sage, so it manages to be both natural and kind of masculine smelling. I used to be in love with this stuff before I discovered the product above and decided to save some dough.
Splurge (kind of):
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Scrub isn’t really that much of a splurge, and I should just buy it all the time because it is awesome. It has menthol in it which gives it that pleasant cooling effect, which mentally just registers as more clean to me (I know that’s illogical). It also has caffeine in it, which improves circulation somehow making you look more alert.
Hydrating your skin at least twice a day with an oil free moisturizer is an absolute must to keep it healthy (eating well and drinking plenty of water are also necessary, but that’s another column). Because everyone’s skin is different, getting the right product for you will probably take some experimentation. Nearly everything makes me break out, so I’m always amazed when I find products that work for me. No promises that these will be as perfect for your skin type, but they’re all gold for me.
Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Creme: Okay, this one I will admit to have stolen from a girl, but I’m addicted. It’s a really lightweight cooling gel rather than a creme and it seems to make your face smooth and even kind of plump your skin a bit (but not in a sci-fi way). It seems to last a long time for me and I even sometimes use it at night before I go to bed. (I can’t believe I’m confessing all of this). It looks completely girly, but actually smells kind of fresh and herbal.
Jack Black Double Duty Facial Moisturizer: I’ve used this on and off for a few years and typically rotate it in in the Summer and Winter as I like the SPF protection. It’s a wonderfully light weight product that disappears into your skin and makes it feel fresh and clean for hours. A great go to that’s just fancy enough to make you feel like you’re pampering yourself but not so fussy that you’ll be embarrassed to have it in the medicine cabinet.
This one came from my buddy (and l’étoile beauty columnist) Beth Hammarlund – I swear I would not purchase it on my own. But I may consider it when it runs out because I love it. It manages to make my face feel taut and the claim is that it reduces the size of pores (I haven’t noticed), which apparently are a formidable foe. It’s an antioxidant formula, so I’m certain it’s doing awesome things for me every time I use it. It’s spendy, but if you can afford it it’s well worth it.