Fellas, it’s 2018. In 2018, we care about our skin and how we look. It’s cool to moisturize and tone and use a sheet mask. It’s time for us to grow up and glow up.
I’ve always been interested in skincare but always thought it was too much of a chore and I was young, so I didn’t need to worry about my skin yet. Well guess what, I got older and now my skin doesn’t have that youthful, baby glow it used to. So what better time to start caring for my skin than around the manliest holiday of them all, Father’s Day?
The biggest disconnect between men and skincare is the lack of understanding of the different skincare terms and the staggering number of products you can use.
“What is combination skin?” “What is a toner?” “What are T-zones?” “Can I use a sheet mask over my beard?”
Let this blog be your Mr. Miyagi, your Phil Jackson, your Bill Belichick, your coach in this manly-man’s intro to skincare. We will go over the basics that will help us all make the most informed choice for our new skincare regi-MAN.
Get the Skinny on Your Skin type
Okay, you’ve decided to get your man pants on and try out this whole men’s skincare thing.
When starting your new skincare regi-MAN, finding your skin type is essential. Your skin is complex and delicate, so using cleansers and creams that are meant for the opposite of your skin type can yield negative results.
Using the wrong kinds of products can lead to signaling in your skin to produce more oil, when you already have an excess of oil in your skin, or to decrease oil production in your drier skin.
But before you figure out your skin type, let’s take a quick dip into the fountain of knowledge to learn about what the different skin types actually are.
First, there’s dry skin. That tight, flaky jerk that makes your skin feel uncomfortable and can be quite aggravating. If you’ve ever experienced dry skin, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Dry skin comes from many different factors, including genetics, dehydration, the weather, and lifestyle.
Next up is oily skin. And just like dry skin, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Excess oil in your t-zones (the area from your forehead down the middle of your face to your chin, it looks like a T, trust me) can clog your pores leading to breakouts. There is good news for those with oily skin though, the moisture can be a natural deterrent to those horrific wrinkles everyone is so worried about.
To most people it seems pretty obvious what combination skin is, but I had no idea until recently. Combination skin is the combination of drier skin on your cheeks and oilier skin in your T-zones (there’s that word again).
Sensitive skin is reserved for those who have a negative reaction to a lot of different chemicals and products they use on their skin. It’s important to find products and ingredients that work for your skin, look for anything free of parabens, fragrances, or detergents. A good way to test your skin’s reaction to a product is to do a “patch test” where you place a small amount on a less visible part of your body, like your neck or forearm, then wait and see how your skin responds.
Okay. So we’ve gone over the skin types, now let’s figure out which one we are. Determining your skin type can be as easy as a click of the mouse. There are tons of quizzes online that you can take to help figure out your skin type. Or you can do it the old fashioned way like your grand mammy and pappy used to do.
Start by cleansing your skin with any face wash you can buy at the store and wait an hour after drying to see how your skin takes. If you skin starts to feel tight and dry, then you most likely have dry skin. If your cheeks are dry but your T-zones are moist, then you have combination skin. And moisture all around is oily skin.
For those of you dying to know, my skin would be considered combination.
Tone Up on Your Knowledge of Skincare Products
You’ve finally figured out what skin type you are. You’re almost there! Now you just need to figure out what all the different kinds of skincare products do.
Moisturizers do exactly what you would expect them to. They hydrate and moisturize your skin while increasing its water content and reducing water loss.
Cleansers are designed to clean your skin and remove and oil, dirt, or any other nasty gubbins you don’t want on your skin. Cleansers can unclog pores and fight against acne, while leaving your skin with that fresh, immaculate feeling.
Toners work similarly to cleansers in that they are designed to cleanse and purify your skin, but they also help maintain proper moisture levels, and balance the pH levels in your skin. Toner is also applied differently than a cleanser, where a cleanser is applied all over your face then washed off, toners are typically applied around your face using a cotton ball and not rinsed off.
Creams vs. Lotions
Ah, the age old question of, what’s the difference between a cream and a lotion? While both moisturize to keep your skin at its optimal softness and smoothability, they are formulated differently and affect certain skin types differently. The difference in lotions and creams comes from their viscosity levels. Lotions are more common and thinner and work best with oily or combination skin, while creams tend to be thicker and oiler, making them perfect for dry and sensitive skin.
Serums are light moisturizers that are designed to deliver higher concentrations of active ingredients. Serums are used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin, along with combating discoloration, large pores, and loss of elasticity. Serums are typically the priciest types of skincare products, but they are also some of the most effective and scientifically-advanced.
While they may be terrifying and make for great Instagram story content, sheet masks are a huge trend taking the world by storm. Sheet masks are cotton sheets saturated in moisturizers or serums designed to boost hydration and provide lift to your skin to give you more youthful-looking, radiant complexion.
And for those bearded-bros such as myself, we can still use sheet masks, but just need to cut the mask where our beard hair is and only apply to the parts of our face not covered in man-Brillo.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
Just like every person on earth has their own unique fingerprint, everyone also has unique skin and reactions to certain skincare products. So if you are taking my advice and starting your new skincare regi-MAN, don’t be discouraged if the first moisturizer you try doesn’t work or you don’t react well to a specific cleanser. It takes time to find the perfect products for you, so don’t give up!
Once you find those products that are in perfect harmony with your skin, I promise you will be thanking me for making you glow like the star that you are!