This is my not-so-secret-anymore skin care routine of the moment for men. It may seem like an unhealthy amount of product, but I promise each one has a specific purpose. I haven’t discovered one product yet that does everything, especially when my skin changes season-to-season and stress fluctuates irregularly. Before I proceed (and before you take any advice on skincare), you should know my skin type and see if it aligns with yours prior to taking my below recommendations. My skin is:
- Typically dry, even more so in the winter
- Prone to redness and occasional breakouts
- Not suffering from acne or acne scarring (I know this is a huge concern for many guys, but I don’t have a fix for this simply because I don’t experience it; happy to explore more into this common issue and report back)
Keeping my face clear
My buddy Adam recently introduced me to this skincare line called Paula’s Choice, and it honestly helped clear my skin within days. Coupled with a few other products, here’s how I maintain not only great-looking skin, but healthy skin, too.
Cleansing and maintenance
- I exfoliate twice a week with a Clarisonic to constantly remove dead skin. I wouldn’t recommend exfoliating more than that or else you’ll irritate your skin (I learned that the hard way; you’ll see reverse effects otherwise). I use this cleanser whether I exfoliate or not (just know that if you use this cleanser, it will not sud; it’s more of a lotion, but it does the job of cleaning skin very well).
- Twice a day, I apply Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid with a cotton pad. This is the golden ticket product.
- Weekly in place of the above, I apply Paula’s Choice Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA with a cotton pad once a week (don’t do more than this).
- In the mornings, I’ll use a moisturizer/sunscreen combination (yes, even if it is cloudy out) like Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer with SPF 20 Sunscreen; and in the evenings, I’ll use a standard moisturizer (Lab Series has a great one, as does Baxter of California, but I’m not terribly picky on evening moisturizers).
- For breakouts of any kind big or small, I use Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil (here for a larger one) as spot treatment before I go to bed (face and body!) and wake up the next morning with a milder situation, or one that virtually gone. It’s an incredible product.
- For my nose, I use trusty Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips on a weekly basis. Just make sure you use it after your shower so that your pores are open from the steam. It’ll work much better.
Face masks: I use a few masks per week, each for different purposes.
- For deep cleansing, I love Baxter of California’s Weekly Treatment Clay Mask. You’ll feel it working on your face (in a good way) upon application.
- For redness, Origins Dr. Weil Mega-Mushroom Relief and Resilience Soothing Face Mask will be your best friend. And it’ll make your skin feel super smooth (you’ll notice how smooth it’ll feel on your fingers when you apply the mask to your face).
Collagen protein: Not all that goes into healthy skin is topical. A lot of it has to do with what you eat, the amount of water you drink, and — if you’re not getting enough vitamins — the kinds of supplements you take. I take collagen protein daily and put it in my post-workout shake or mix it in water first thing in the mornings on off-gym days. Not only does it substantially help with skin health, but it also helps with the health of hair, nails, joints, and bones. I recommend Vital Proteins (they also come in neat little travel packs, as well as one that’s infused with matcha green tea powder, in case you’re trying to ween off coffee).
Get out of the city: Unexpected, I know, but whenever I get out of New York, my skin looks and feels automatically better. I notice this when I go to France to visit my family or Mexico for a vacation. It’s a clear indication of what a heavily polluted, stress-induced metropolis like New York City will do to our skin. As much as I love this city, my body constantly tells me to take a break. So if you can book a weekend vacation once a quarter or head upstate in the Hudson River Valley for a few days, do it. Your skin will thank you.
Hiding problem areas
Don’t shy away from makeup. Sometimes the stress of the workweek, lack of sleep, or harsh environments can cause our skin to go haywire, and if you’ve got somewhere to be soon and you need to look/feel great, makeup will be your best friend. Is it a long-term strategy? It doesn’t have to be, but there’s no problem with that either. My makeup routine is quite simple for the moment.
Puffy eyes and dark circles: I, like many people, suffer from puffiness and bags underneath my eyes, especially in the morning. I love using Origins GinZing eye cream or Kiehl’s creamy eye treatment with avocado first thing in the morning when I get out of the shower. I then use YSL’s Touche Eclat and mix in a dab of moisturizer (again, not picky here on which type of moisturizer) to apply under the eye area. The Touche Eclat can have a bit of sheen, which is why I neutralize it a bit with a moisturizer, but if you want absolutely no sheen, then Glossier has a fantastic concealer.
Skin blemishes: For that annoying zit that’s coming in, or unexpected redness, use one of the above concealers (no need for moisturizer when targeting a tiny, specific area). Put a tiny bit on your fingers and apply directly to the problem area. Make sure it’s blended in well. You can apply concealer on top of spot treatment from Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil (after it’s dried) to get a head start on healing.
Caring for my beard
Well, it’s a 5 o’clock shadow; but some of the same principles still apply.
Trimming & shaving: I keep my beard at a comfortable 4 on the electric beard trimmer. Any longer and it’ll grow thicker than my eyebrows, which aren’t thick at all, and my face will appear bottom-heavy. I’ve seen myself on camera with this look and it’s a bit… shocking. Know your proportions, understand how your facial hair grows, and accept it to apply the best practices and look/feel your best. I then routinely use a razor with a shave lotion (Lavett & Chin Shave Lotion is awesome; so is Keihl’s Shave Lotion; not so much into shave gels) to shave my neck above the Adam’s apple and use the electric trimmer again fade the edges into the rest of my beard (I’m not a fan of harsh lines on my neck; I like to keep things natural looking). Less routinely, my beard sometimes grows into my cheek area, which I shave down the couple of hairs down with a razor to match the natural line of my beard.
Post-trim beard treatment: If you have a beard, you’ll need this to prevent itch, dandruff (if your beard is that long), and overall good shine. My favorite beard balm is one by David Mallett. It smells fantastic, makes your beard feel good, and instills a nice, natural shine.
Most of the above is also on my shop page under Grooming and Wellness, so be sure to check that out as well!