This year, just like any other, when I got to thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions, I immediately decided I needed to focus on my health. I sat down for a few good hours and put together a nutrition plan, a workout routine, and even a list of supplements and other things I would need to be successful. Then it hit me: I’m focusing so heavily on my physical shape and appearance, and putting no emphasis on my skin health. Every year when I’ve made resolutions to eat better and work out, I’ve made the mistake of neglecting the health of my skin, hair, and everything else on the outside. This year I decided to start working on a skin care routine, and let me tell you it has worked wonders.
In my research, I noticed how little information there is out there for men’s skin care, let alone a few GQ articles on the matter. I also noticed how few men actually have a set skin care routine, and those that do don’t do much. So I took it upon myself to gather as much information as I could and put together the perfect routine for myself, and today I plan to share with you what I’ve learned.
The Importance of a Skin Care Routine
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, “your skin is the largest organ in your body,” but how many of us really treat it as such? Not only is your skin the largest organ in your body, it is the only one that is constantly exposed to the elements. As tough and durable as it may be, a little TLC can go a long way.
A proper skin care routine ensures that you are starting and ending your day with the best possible health habits. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that book-ending your day with healthy habits makes it a whole lot easier to keep it healthy in between.
A good skin care routine makes your skin look really healthy (obviously). It also makes you look younger (or keeps you looking that way if you haven’t aged yet). The most noticeable difference on a day-to-day basis, though, is the way it makes you feel to follow a skin care routine. It’s just like when you start working out, and you immediately feel like your muscles have grown and your fat parts have shrunk within two days. The confidence you get from healthy skin radiates into the world and you get to set forth your best face every day (literally).
What follows is what I’ve devised to be the best routine for your skin that you can actually follow without breaking the bank, or a sweat trying to stick to it.
The first step for me is to shower in the morning. This is because I hit the gym before work, but if you shower at night, adjust the schedule as necessary. The best part about showering in the morning is that you can stand with your face above the steam and let it really open up your pores. This is an awesome first step because it allows you to not only clean your entire body, but really gives you the ability to clean your face better.
Once I’m out of the shower, I start my shave. The steam from the shower softens up the hairs on your face and makes them easily accessible for a super close shave. As you can probably tell from browsing around The Gentlemen’s Lounge, I’m a huge advocate of Wet Shaving. In fact, it’s the only form of shaving I’ve ever done.
Even if you’re a bearded gentleman like I am, you can still use this time to shape up the edges and shave your neck to keep your lines tight and your beard looking good. Follow up with aftershave to keep any nicks you may have clean and healthy, and to refresh your skin after passing the razor over it.
The first step of really cleaning your face is to wash it with a natural soap that won’t strip it of its natural oils. I also like to use a face wash in the morning with caffeine in it to help wake me up and rejuvenate my skin.
Use warm water to wet your face, and rub the face wash into your skin with your hands. Make sure to really massage your face muscles to help get the blood flowing and wake yourself up. It’s a great way to start your day and paired with the warm water it’s a luxurious, relaxing experience.
Exfoliation is a hugely important step that most men I know neglect. If you’re not sure what it is, it’s basically scrubbing your face with a slightly “gritty” substance that strips away dead skin cells. The benefits could be listed out in a whole blog post alone, but in short, they include softer skin, a more radiant look, a closer shave due to shaving against a smoother surface, preventing breakouts, reducing signs of aging, a more even skin tone, and deeper penetration of skin care products.
You don’t necessarily need to exfoliate every day, especially if you have sensitive skin or are using a more “rough” exfoliator. If you have a gentler scrub it can be used more frequently. At the least I’d recommend exfoliating every few days to keep your skin free of dead skin cells and looking and feeling soft, smooth, and even.
Under Eye Cream
Under eye cream is another very commonly over-looked step of a skin care routine. It has numerous benefits and is fairly inexpensive to purchase. When used twice a day, it will help reduce puffiness under your eyes, reduce bags, give a cooling tingling sensation that helps wake you up, and the best part is it makes you look like you’ve been awake for hours.
The skin under your eyes is more fragile and prone to dryness, so it’s a good idea to take some extra care in keeping it healthy. The eyes are the first thing people look at when they see you, so it’s especially important you leave an impression of a healthy, clean, well-kept appearance, even under your eyes. Under eye cream is really a secret in anyone's arsenal of weapons to fight signs of aging and it really works.
Rub the under eye cream between your fingers and massage it into the bottom of your eye lids twice daily for best results. A little goes a long way with this stuff, so use it sparingly.
The next step of a good morning skin care routine is to lock everything you just did in with a nice penetrating moisturizer. The most important part of your morning moisturizer is that it should include SPF. SPF is the ultimate anti-ager, and it makes a HUGE difference in the way your skin ages. A good moisturizer locks everything in under a layer of protection and even makes your skin keep a really soft and even look and feel. If you’re not moisturizing daily, you’re doing your skin a huge disservice.
This step is obviously not for everyone, but those of you like me who sport a beard every day, this step is just as important as every other one in this list. Conditioning your beard has countless benefits, namely stopping itchiness, healing flaking and dry skin, and promoting healthier growth of your beard. We offer a full line of oils and conditioners, you just need to pick one that has a scent you like and has the hold or shine properties you prefer. A daily condition keeps your beard growing, strong, and healthy.
To condition your beard, you can apply with your hands or with a brush. The reason I like to apply with a brush is that over time the bristles begin to retain some of the oils so every time you brush your beard (which for me is all the time) it spreads some of that oily goodness into the hairs to refresh the oils.
It’s important to wash your face twice a day because you will be able to start your day clean then go to bed knowing you’ve gotten all of the dirt and oils off of your face that shouldn’t be there. Something about sleeping for 8 hours with a day worth of dirt on my face really bothers me, so I start my evening routine just like I started my morning routine: with face wash. I massage it into my face to get the blood flowing and really get deep into my pores, and rinse it off with warm water.
Toner is something that not every man will need, but those that do will notice a huge difference using it. Toner balances the oils in your skin to help prevent break outs and overly oily or dry skin. It is also a great second step to washing because it helps pick up some of the dirt and grime that may have been left behind after washing. My preferred toner is Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner.
Toner is best for men that are prone to breakouts and acne, but I think everyone can find a benefit in using it.
Under Eye Cream
The next step in my evening routine is to use the same eye cream I used in the morning. It helps my face feel tight and fresh going to bed.
Serum is a product that has been increasing in popularity for men all over. Basically, serum is a potent anti-aging cream that delivers active anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients deep into your skin. It penetrates deeper than most products so it can work from the inside out. One thing to note is that this can be pricey (anywhere from $30-$200 for a bottle), but a little goes a long way and it will last you a good while.
Serum is probably not necessary, but for those looking to go the extra mile in taking care of their skin, this is the best way to do it.
At night you will want to moisturize again. This time, though, you need not worry about SPF (unless you sleep in the sun).The reason I like to use moisturizer at night is that it locks in everything you just applied and traps it under a layer of moisture that will keep your skin clean and moisturized the whole time you sleep. This lets you wake up refreshed with skin that looks like it just had a clay mask treatment.
Lip balm is a really important part of my daily routine, especially in the winter months. Virginia winters can be absolutely freezing one day, and balmy the next day. This causes your lips to get really dry and cracked and at times I'll wake up in the mornings and moving my mouth causes it to start bleeding. Not fun. My defense against this is to use lip balm multiple times a day and especially at night before bed. If you want an especially protective layer at night, apply some petroleum jelly to your lips right before bed time.
A clay mask is an excellent way to rejuvenate your skin. You may see your wife, girlfriend, sister, or friend using clay masks and think it's weird or not for you, but I encourage you to give it a shot. A clay mask, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a muddy substance you apply to your face and let dry. Once it dries you peel or wash it off and it pulls out impurities from your pores.
A clay mask should be used once a week and can even be used a bit more frequently. This will really help put your routine over the top, and keep your skin looking smooth, healthy and clean.
Gentlemen, this ends our skin care routine. I really hope you've learned something from us, and I especially hope you're able to incorporate some of this into your daily routine.