Taking care of yourself should not be gender binary. We're grateful to be living in a time where gender equality has probably never been more pronounced, a time when stereotypes are crumbling, so for all the men who are reading this - trust me when I say taking care of your skin & investing in a skincare routine doesn't make you any less of a man!
(Warning: It will however make you more attractive!)
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to do this post because let's face it, how much do I really know about Men's skincare? you might wonder the same. Well I don't & the reality is you don't necessarily have too! Clever branding makes you believe that some products are ONLY for men and visa versa, but at the heart of it, we all have the same skin concerns: Acne prone skin, dark spots, sun damage and ageing!
Here are some top tips to improve/include your skincare routine, and if you don't already have one, I'm hoping this will prompt you into action! Get on it soldier!
1) WEAR SUNSCREEN! - This is at the top of my list because I think it's probably one of those things that's the most obvious and yet implemented the least! Sun damage is real and unfortunately or fortunately, the sun does not discriminate when it comes to men and women, unlike gender pay! Most of us spend a lot of time outdoors playing sports and it's important to protect your skin from UV damage. One of the best sunscreen brands that I swear by is La Roche-Posay, they are unisex (well, the packaging is anyway!) and have several variations depending on your skin concern.
I personally use the 50 ml non-tinted tube version of the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine 50+ SPF, which I was introduced to by my friend Sonu in college! Since 2012, I wake up every single day and put sunscreen on (when I know I'm leaving the house - moment of silence for all the quarantiners!). It's got a great consistency, it's well priced and in the long run, you will notice a visible difference! Remember with sunscreen, it's only effective if you top it up every 2 hours and really massage it into your skin to make sure it's well absorbed.
2) Use an Aloe-Vera Gel or Pure Aloe - One of the main differences between Men and Women's skin is it's thickness. So if you're suffering from things like razor burn, redness or sunburn, skip the serums, they're not doing much for you! Instead invest in a pure Aloe Vera gel that you can apply once or twice a day after you cleanse & tone your face. This should help soothe irritated skin immediately! I personally love using Forest Essential's Pure Aloe Vera Gel, linked here: https://www.forestessentialsindia.com/light-hydrating-moisturising-facial-gel-pure-aloe-vera.html. It retails for INR 1425 and is also readily available on Nykaa, amazon, etc. If you have access to an aloe plant, then there's nothing like making you're own gel and it'll take you 90 seconds or less! (check out this super easy/short video to know how to extract aloe and make your own homemade gel :), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD6hfBnBj1c)
3) Keep Acne and Acne Scars at BAY! - No one likes Acne. It's one of those horrible rites of passage that ruin plans and your self esteem. For women, we can cover it up using make up, for men it's a little harder. One of the best ways to keep acne under control is to wash your face often (twice a day) using a cleanser which has Benzoyl Peroxide (clinically proven to be an effective acne fighting agent), for example something similar to, Neutrogena's Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Facial Cleanser, https://www.amazon.com/Neutrogena-Stubborn-Acne-Cleanser-Peroxide/dp/B00S49XI6M, that's less than $8 (Great buy!). Other tried & tested brands with good acne clearing facial cleansers you can experiment with are Dermalogica, Aesop & Kiehls.
With most skincare products, the only way to tell if it's really working for you is to use a sample size for a few weeks & observe any differences, before you commit to it! Most women do this, but I've noticed that men usually don't test products or read multiple reviews as they tend to want to keep things quick and simple with a one-time purchase. (much like their approach to relationships - Guys, take the time and make the effort, it all counts in the long run!) There's honestly no other way around this, as everyone has different skin, and what might work for one person, might not work as well for you!
If you're looking for a more natural (fewer harmful chemicals) and an even quicker option, try the Himalaya Neem Face Wash, available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Himalya-Herbals-Purifying-Neem-Face/dp/B007CZXGS4, I've used it before, and again it's one of those products that's incredibly affordable, accessible and a solid 7.5/10 for a cleanser. If you're struggling with acne scars, then it's definitely worth buying some vitamin E concentrate or oil from your local chemist/pharmacy and applying it once you've cleansed your face.
4) Try a Homemade Mask - Homemade masks are a great way to pamper your skin, they're super easy & definitely unisex! While masking might have a reputation for being a girl's spa day staple, you don't have to succumb to chugging a glass of wine, wearing cute shorts and using something from a sparkly tube to reep the benefits. Men tend to have larger pores than women, and more acne prone skin due to more sebum production. To tackle these two issues, I'd suggest an easy DIY pore tightening egg mask. All you need is an egg white, 1 tsp of lemon juice or lime juice, and 1 tsp of honey. Whisk it all up until slightly foamy & leave on your face for 15 minutes or until dry before washing off with warm water.
(here's a quick youtube tutorial just incase - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKI3ncq5ZSc)
Another great option is using Fuller's earth, or as we Indians like to call it 'Multani Mitti'. Now you must have seen some female relative at some point make this and you might have also made fun of her, but you gotta do what you gotta do mate! Use a tbspn of Multani Mitti, mix it with water until its a pasty consistency and leave on till dry & Voila! You'll have excess oil free, glowing skin! Once you've cleansed/masked, you can also rub a cube of ice all over your face as it tightens and closes pores with immediate effect making you look 10/10. The only thing to bear in mind while experimenting with homemade masks is to do a patch test, or make sure you're not allergic to any of the ingredients you're using. I normally have an easy way to determine allergies, 'if you can eat it, you're probably ok to put it on your face'.
5) Exfoliate - Ingrown facial hairs and clogged pores can be a real skin downer. The only way to tackle these problems is by deep cleansing and exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and pollution build up. Since Men's skin is tougher & slightly thicker, you can opt for a stronger physical exfoliator - i.e, something with a smaller grain.
I tend to use the Dr.Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant that I think would work very well! (It does for me!). I also love using the Fresh Cosmetics Sugar Face Polish, (it's actually a mask, but you don't have to leave it on, you can just go in, scrub it all over your face with your finger tips/hands and wash off with warm water). If you think this might get a bit too messy and you're looking for a chemical exfoliant, then I'd suggest trying Dr.Dennis Gross' Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (Normal or Extra Strength) a few times a week for best results! The days you do exfoliate, remember your skin will be sensitive so make sure to use a moisturiser after, and avoid going into direct sunlight for at least 24 hours.
I think another important thing to add into your skincare routine is hydration. We really underestimate how much our body needs water, and tend to substitute it with coffees, teas and energy drinks on a daily basis. This happens subconsciously, especially when we're at work or staying up late, but the best thing you can do for your skin is to use an app (Aloe bud, Plant Nanny, Aqua Alert are some of the better known ones) or set a reminder to have a glass of water every hour. This will definitely help with your overall skin appearance, reduce skin toxins and prevent wrinkles too! (p.s - being well hydrated also keeps your lips from being chapped and dry! Say hello to Kylie Jenner's luscious lips! - minus the fillers lol)
Hope you found this helpful! If you did, please follow my instagram page @alldressedupandnowheretogo20 and share this link with your friends & family!
and remember TREAT YO SELF! ;), Happy weekend loves xx Farah