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When you think of men’s skincare, what do you remember seeing if you think back to your dad’s (or grandfather’s) medicine cabinet? A three-in-one shampoo, conditioner, and body wash? A bag of disposable razors and a can of shaving cream? Aftershave? Brut deodorant, perhaps? As you may already know, the best men’s skincare has come a long way.
While there’s no doubt that there are still some die-hard gentlemen who believe grooming and men’s skincare products are one and the same, the past two decades have changed the way men are thinking about the health and appearance of their skin — and it’s only going to grow from here on up. The best men’s skincare of today is made up of results-driven formulas that make up an effective skincare routine for men.
Not sure what to look for in the best skincare for men? No worries. Here at The Derm Review,we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a skincare routine for men that’s safe and effective.
The Science Behind Men’s Skin
The skin is the body’s largest organ, so taking care of it is vital. But is men’s skin so different from women’s that it requires a separate set of products, or are clever marketing and social conditioning at play? The short answer is a little bit of both.
Scientific research suggests men’s skin is between 10 and 20 percent thicker than women’s (though some skincare experts claim it can be up to 25 percent) because it contains more collagen and elastin.
Androgens such as testosterone affect the thickness of the skin and how much sebum the skin’s sebaceous glands produce. Seeing as men produce more testosterone, their skin is thicker and oilier than women’s — though women have their own crosses to bear due to hormonal issues concerning their cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
While oil and thickness can help from a wrinkle-prevention perspective, it also means that it’s more difficult for a man to absorb the vital ingredients from skincare products than a woman’s skin.
Another great wrinkle-fighting perk is that a man’s skin tends to have more collagen than a woman’s. This doesn’t mean they’re exempt from wrinkles or other signs of aging, which is another reason why a solid men’s skincare routine is vital.
Skincare Routine For Men
We’re going to get into more detail about what men are looking for in a skincare routine next, but let’s just say it’s all about simplicity. While that might mean just a cleanser and a moisturizer for some men, adding in a few extra vital steps can significantly impact the health and appearance of the skin. The following routine takes just less than five minutes.
Cleansing is an integral step in any skincare routine, regardless of gender. Also, considering men’s skin is naturally oilier than women’s, cleansing removes dirt, pollutants, and excess oil that has settled inside your pores and the surface layer of the skin.
Cleanse twice a day (morning and night) and after exercise — if you work out in the a.m., your first can come after your sweat sesh. Work the product into the skin in circular motions for 30 seconds to a minute.
Best Cleanser for Men: Carrot & Stick The Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Toners have come a long way from the skin-stripping solutions of yesteryear. Today you can find formulas that hydrate, mattify, control blemishes, etc., so choose one based on your skin type and needs. Simply swipe a cotton ball or round saturated with toner across your face after cleansing.
Note that if you washed your face in the afternoon and exercise later in the day, you could use a toner instead of a cleanser so you’re not over-cleansing, which can strip the skin of its natural oils.
Best Toner: SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective
Using a serum may be a step you’re inclined to skip (or one you’ve never even thought about), but we recommend you reconsider. Serums are highly concentrated, and they can penetrate the skin at a deeper level to target skincare concerns that you are experiencing — from wrinkles and sun damage to oil and acne and everything else in between.
A serum should be applied day and night — you only need a pea-sized amount. Wait approximately one minute for the product to fully absorb before moving on to the next moisturizing step.
An eye cream, gel, serum, is another product you may skip out on to save time (it only takes a few seconds!), but since the skin around the orbital area is thinner and more fragile than the rest of the body, it needs a little extra TLC.
There are formulas to address common concerns such as puffiness, dark circles, dryness, and eye wrinkles. You only need a pea-sized amount for both eyes, like your serum. Apply gently — use your ring finger because it has the lightest touch.
Best Serum for Day: Carrot & Stick The Defense Serum
Best Serum for Night: Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum
A moisturizer delivers vitamins and nutrients to the skin while creating a barrier to protect your skin from complexion-compromising environmental aggressors like pollution.
Apply a moisturizer in the morning to replenish moisture lost during sleep and before bed to maximize the potency of the skin-strengthening nutrients while your body’s cells regenerate.
Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin: Carrot & Stick The Repair Cream
Best Moisturizer for Normal Skin: Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer
Best Moisturizer for Oily skin: Carrot & Stick The Water Cream
The sun may feel good on your skin and boost your mood, but it’s crucial to wear an SPF — or a sunscreen moisturizer — daily. It protects from harmful UVA/UVB rays that cause premature aging, maintains an even skin tone, and helps prevent skin cancer.
For the best results (and protection), you should reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating. If you work indoors and are not seated near a window, you may not need to reapply as frequently. Obviously, this is step can be skipped at night.
Best SPF: Carrot & Stick Carrot & Stick The Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
In most cases, exfoliating isn’t a daily step — but it is an important one because it helps remove the dead skin cells that are harboring on the surface. It also helps keep pores clean and refined and keeps breakouts at bay.
Depending on your skin type, you can use a face scrub formula or a non-gritty acid-based exfoliator (like an at-home chemical peel) to dissolve dead skin cells versus sweeping them away. Twice a week should do the trick, but some exfoliators are formulated to be gentle enough for daily uses. Be mindful of reading the instructions on the package.
Best Exfoliant: Carrot & Stick The Brightening Pads
The Best Skincare Routine for Men: What They Want
Regardless of the difference in men’s skin, for the most part, the concerns between genders are relatively the same and therefore can be treated similarly with skincare products for men.
Even so, while there’s nothing wrong with a man borrowing his significant other’s eye cream or face moisturizer, research shows that guys do have some specific requirements for a skincare routine for men, such as:
- Products that are easy to use and do the job without a lot of hassle.
- Products that disappear into the skin without any residue.
- Their own products, and not those used by women.
- They generally do not want strong scents — or any at all.
Men’s Skincare Products: The Statistics
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global men’s skincare products market is poised to reach 18.92 billion (USD) by 2027. That’s an estimated 6.2% CAGR increase from 2020 to 2027. One of the driving factors behind this upturn is the growing demand for skincare for men in the premium category, including organic and natural formulations.
While male consumers worldwide are dipping their toes in the luxury skincare pond, baby boomers make up a big piece of the pie, as they are looking for targeted solutions that go beyond shave care and fragrance. Though cleansers, face washes, and sunscreen have been on the upswing, in recent years, face masks and serums have been more in demand as well — and with some of the best men’s skincare brands.
Best Men’s Skincare Brands
Best Skincare: Carrot & Stick
Second Fav: Formulyst
Best Clinical: SkinCeuticals
Best Value: Kiehl’s Men’s Line
Best Premium: Shiseido Men
Best Natural: Brickell
Best Personalised: Geologie
Best for Simple routine: Lumin
Best Grooming for Sensitive Skin: Bevel
Skincare Routine for Men: The Bottom Line
Men’s skin is between 10 and 20 percent thicker than women’s (though some skincare experts claim it can be up to 25 percent) because it contains more collagen and elastin.
Androgens such as testosterone affect the thickness of the skin and how much sebum the skin’s sebaceous glands produce. As men have more testosterone, their skin is thicker and oilier than women’s.
Even so, a basic skincare routine for men should follow the same guidelines regardless of gender, meaning choosing products based on skin type, condition, and concern, versus packaging and branding.
Still, research suggests males are still seeking skincare products for men not used by women. They should be easy to use and get the job done without a hassle. Products that absorb quickly and don’t have a strong scent are also desirable.
What’s the Best Skincare brand for men?
Overall, we suggest Carrot & Stick.
While oil production slows with age, many men deal with oily skin because men produce more testosterone, and their skin is thicker and oilier than a woman’s. However, contrary, face oil is a good thing. We need sebum to help nourish and moisturize both skin and hair.
“Men’s Skincare Products Market Size Worth $18.92 Billion By 2027,” Grand View Research, May 2020.
“Male Versus Female Skin: What Dermatologists and Cosmetologists Should Know,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, September 2018.
“Skincare Tips for Men,” American Academy of Dermatology Association.
“Men’s Skincare Market Research,” SIS International Research.
User Original review: Jul 27, 2020.
Best Men’s Skin Care Tips
Cleanse twice a day (morning and night) to keep oiliness in check and help keep pores clear to prevent blackheads and other types of acne.
Exfoliate about twice a week with a physical or chemical exfoliant to unclog pores. Exfoliating will also help uplift facial hair to make shaving easier.
Use sunscreen every day, rain or shine. Men traditionally use less sunscreen than women. Once again, this may come down to women being socialized to care more about their skin or appearance in general.
Use a cleanser formulated with oily skin to cut through the excessive oil production characteristic of men’s skin.
Use a lightweight moisturizer (perhaps even a gel-cream) instead of a heavy cream to avoid clogged pores and worsening of acne.