I get various texts and Facebook messages from dudes asking me about beauty advice. Yes, real men who want to know more about their skin and how to take care of it!
So here’s my annual “This is how to take care of your face, dudes,” post. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll keep you anonymous.
KEEPING THE MUG CLEAN
1. Exfoliate 1-2 times a week
You guys have it great because you exfoliate every few days — it’s called shaving. This instantly takes off layers of skin, plus your hair, so that’s why you guys look like you age in retrograde (George Clooney) and 55-year-old women in Hollywood have issues getting roles playing people their own age. Chances are, though, you aren’t shaving your forehead or nose (maybe you are? I’m not here to discriminate, as I shave my own face. I know you’re probably disgusted by me now, but there is no hair on this mug outside of my eyebrows), so you need something you can use once or twice a week to exfoliate your entire face AND prevent ingrown hairs after you shave.
Low-end option: Mix brown sugar with olive oil to make a paste, and use it to scrub your skin.
Middle grade: Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Wash, $22
High-end: Clarisonic. Yes, that contraption your girlfriend has. If you wonder how sexy beasts like Charlie Hunnam or Idris Elba have gorgeous, clear skin, chances are they have a Clarisonic. (I don’t know if they actually own one.) If your girlfriend or wife has one, get another brush head and share. It times your wash, so you know how long to spend on each area of your face. The brush bristles remove dirt better than a wash cloth and it’s kind of like a spa experience you can get down with in the shower.
If you buy your own, there’s a $99 travel option (the Mia) and the $149 option (the Mia 2) and the Aria ($199). I’m going to be honest: I don’t think there’s a huge difference. The Aria has 3 speeds instead of two, it’s bigger; the Mia is smaller. They all come with a charger and usually a face wash made by Clarisonic. You will need a cleanser to use with this, but use something gentle (not an exfoliator).
The rest of the week, you should be cleansing your skin twice a day, plus every time you sweat. (Don’t act like you’ve never thought about skipping a shower and going straight to the Playstation after a workout…)
You should have a mild cleanser that gets rid of dirt and bacteria. If you deal with breakouts, I’d suggest avoiding acne cleansers, because some tend to be too drying to use both morning and night. Spot treat instead.
A nice cleanser that has zero sulfates (which can dry out your skin) and a ton of aloe (hydrating) is Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash ($26). You need a dime size amount. Put on your fingertips, and lather it on to damp skin for a minute, then rinse with cool water.
BONUS: Are you getting old as sh*t? Or feel like you’re quickly approaching that point? Find a cleanser with alpha and beta hydroxy acids. It’s very easy to find these, because they literally say it on the bottle. Or, they’ll say they contain:
Salicylic acid (found in acne treatment products)
A great anti-aging face wash+ acne-clearing wash: Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel ($35 – but on sale here for $17).
3. Protect and Hydrate
I would separate these, but I figure if I can get you to wear sunscreen, I’ll try to make it easy on you. SPF MOISTURIZER SHOULD BE YOUR JAM. Melanoma has been on the rise for the past decade. If you are in the sun or drive a car, you are at risk of getting melanoma. Please wear sunscreen.
Minimum SPF you should be wearing: 30
Type of sunscreen: there are chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens. Try to go with physical sunscreens, which are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Many people complain of the white residue they leave behind, but I’ve found several that don’t — for women. Finding a good SPF 30 moisturizer made with physical sunscreen for men has been a doozy for me to find, so here are a few that combine both physical and chemical sunscreen:
MD Complete Anti-Aging Sunscreen Moisturizer ($25)
Dr. Lancer Sun Shield ($48) (just sunscreen)
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel + UV Guard ($38)
4. Breakouts and Ingrown Hairs
Do yourself a favor and get this Drying Lotion from Mario Badescu ($17). It helps take down the size of the blemish and the redness. If you have an ingrown hair, slap some on the sucker! It will make it come to a head so you can pop it and get the hair out with tweezers. (You’re welcome for that visual.) (PS: every dude should own this pair of tweezers. Precision is key.)
Like I mentioned earlier, the exfoliation step will help with your ratchet ingrowns.
Do you have blackheads? That’s disgusting. (Just kidding! Actually, it’s more distracting than anything, so fix it.) My brother is going to kill me for sharing this, but the first thing I do when I see him is give him a facial and get all of the effing crap out of his pores. It really makes all the difference.
Things you can do to help keep your pores clean:
Wear sunscreen! Seriously. Blackheads aren’t dirt. I mean, they are, but the reason why they’re black is because they’ve been oxidized by the sun. The more you know.
Use a pore strip once or twice a month. It’s disgustingly satisfying seeing all that gunk come out on it.
Use a face mask once a week! This is not a joke. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, get over to Target and grab a Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask ($4). The mud is going to help remove impurities from your skin.
However, if you want to go for the gold, Glam Glow Mud is the best. I’ve gotten all the guys in the office hooked on this stuff. It’s $69, but you don’t need much. Don’t pile on the mud. Instead, smooth a thin layer over your skin, let it dry, then wash off in circular motions.
6. Night time moisturizer
You need to moisturize your skin every night before you go to bed, because your skin is dehydrated between the hours of 11PM and 2AM. This will help with keeping your skin looking youthful, too. I’d suggest Clinique for Men, but if you don’t want to try it, head to the drugstore and pick up an anti-aging face moisturizer that women use (like Olay).
Clinique for Men Maximum Hydrator ($32)
And remember, if you really want to keep your skin in pristine shape, stay in a dark hole, alone, where you won’t be tempted to eat crappy food, be stressed, laugh or smile, since all of those can create wear and tear on your skin.