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Men’s Skin Care Guide

Men’s Skin Care Guide

Firstly, I’d like to preface this blog by saying that men’s skincare is not exclusive to men and what is considered all other skincare is not considered a no no for men either. Choose and use what is best for you and your skin. However, I know that lots of men like to use products specifically designed for men’s skin, and often, for good reason.  Male skin is structurally different to women’s and therefore can benefit from the use of products specifically formulated for them. 


It’s not just the contents of the products that may be different. Packaging and the language used are often distinct too. Functional, easy to use packaging is partnered with language which is much more male orientated.  So instead of ‘anti-ageing’ (which, by the way, is a saying I loathe) a men’s skincare product may say ‘anti-fatigue’ or ‘energising’ for example. These products will encourage skin to feel fresh, give a healthy looking glow whilst providing comfort. And let’s not forget that they can pack a punch when targeting many skincare concerns such as fine lines, blemishes or pigmentation to name a few.


For many men, looking after their skin with a daily skincare routine is a relatively new phenomenon or it has passed them by completely. If we think about the main skincare priorities as a teenager they tend to be getting to grips with shaving and dealing with spots and for many the routine hasn’t changed a great deal. Washing faces with shower gel or shampoo whilst showering has been the norm for some, along with not moisturising or protecting skin from the sun.  The great thing is that, if this sounds like you or someone close to you, there are small changes which can make a real difference to the look and feel of the skin without costing the earth or taking hours to do. The tables are turning full speed because lots of men take their skincare seriously and the choice available now is better than ever. Our skin is the largest organ of the body, performing a multitude of functions, and as such needs a good deal of looking after.


I’ve written lots of blogs for Perfumery & Company and all are relevant to men’s skin so grab your favourite drink, find a comfy spot and have a read. I share lots of hints and tips about our skin, products to incorporate into your morning and evening routine plus the best type of products to choose and why. Within this blog I will be running through the differences between men’s and women’s skin, a little about skin types and conditions, plus the best ways of caring for your skin with a effective and efficient routine.


So how is men’s skin different to women’s skin?


A thicker skin

Testosterone causes an increase in skin thickness, resulting in a man’s skin being about 25% thicker than a woman’s. It is also tougher in texture too. So products need to be able to successfully penetrate those thicker upper skin layers.


Two facial zones

Men’s faces can be divided into two areas. The beard area from cheek bones down the neck which is well served by oil glands and benefits from their natural, age-protective action. Whereas the facial area, above the beard, may experience fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and fore head. Both areas may need to be treated differently. Above the beard men’s concerns are often similar to women’s.


Increased sebum production

Sebum (oil) production is greater too which tends to mean male skin is oilier and, in some cases, more prone to long lasting acne.  But this can also be an advantage as it might not show signs of ageing as much as a drier skin.


Hair growth

An obvious one but due to this fact there is an increased risk of ingrown hairs. This is where, instead of the hair growing out of the skin, it grows back on itself within the skin layers. This causes lumps, bumps, boils and general irritation. Shaving is a big cause of this problem.  


Higher collagen density

I think it is totally unfair that men have a higher collagen density than women! So with this in mind men’s skin generally doesn’t age at the rate that women’s does. However, where many men let themselves down is that they don’t use sunscreens so this ‘skin age gap’ is often not noticeable because sun damage causes premature ageing which outweighs the slower natural ageing.


Possible irritation

The nature of shaving means that every time shaving happens it’s an intensive form of exfoliation. The benefit of this is that it can give the appearance of a youthful skin but it can certainly heighten sensitivity and irritation including ingrown hairs and lumps and bumps.


What type of skin do you have?


Firstly, it’s important to try to identify and understand your own skin type as this will help you to care for it in the best way by choosing the correct products. This will also mean that you won’t waste money buying items that aren’t right for your skin.


Is your skin:


Normal/balanced skin

Clear with no issues or sensitivities. Unfortunately hardly anyone has this type of skin apart from babies and young children.


Dry skin

Can appear and feel flaky, itchy, rough with an uneven surface texture. Skin pores may be hard to see.


Oily skin

Tends to be shiny and greasy, with possible spots and blemishes and obvious looking pores.


Combination skin

This is where some areas (usually the cheek areas) are dry whilst other areas (perhaps the nose, chin and forehead) are oily. This will often happen if the protective layer on the surface of the skin is being stripped because a product is being applied that is too harsh. This can therefore create an imbalance of the skins natural pH level. For example, using shampoo or shower gel or a harsh abrasive soap to wash the face.


What’s the condition of your skin like?


Skin conditions are in addition to your skin type. They can come and go. So when considering what your skin is like think about the following - Do you suffer with any sensitivity, for example, redness or rashe? Or perhaps your skin is dehydrated. If you pinch your skin between two fingers and notice fine lines chances are it’s in need of hydration. If you apply product and it soaks into your skin straight away or your skin has a dull appearance these could also be signs of dehydration. Maybe you have pigmentation on areas of your face. This is where the colour is not even and you may have darker patches. This is usually caused by sun damage. If you have patches of redness mainly on the cheek or nose area this could be an indication of rosacea. These are some of the most common skin conditions.  And there are skincare products suitable for each of these.


So what can you do to look after your skin in the best way?


The basic elements of an effective skin care plan remain the same between men and women. But I’ve outlined here what a typical routine might look like for a guy, including shaving tips.


Pre Shave


Clean the face with a gentle facial wash or balm. This can be done in the shower or at the sink. Massage the product into dry skin and massage into the face, add a little water to give it some slip and remove with a warm flannel. This will not only remove excess oil, bacteria, pollution and sweat etc but it will also prepare the skin for shaving by warming the surface and lifting the hairs. Try not to use really hot water on the face as this can be an irritant.  Cleanse your face morning and evening plus after exercise.



Exfoliating the skin will encourage removal of dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Not only will this aid shaving, making it easier for the razor to glide, it will also lift hairs ready for shaving and brighten and energise the skins appearance. By exfoliating each week you will also find that you don’t need to apply as much of the products you subsequently apply, for example, a moisturiser as it will be able to penetrate the upper skin layers much more effectively. Exfoliators are products that contain tiny particles. When massaged onto the skin they create a light friction which buffs away the dead skin cells. This only needs to be done a couple of times a week.



If you struggle with shaving you could invest in a shaving oil. Massage it into the skin before shaving. This encourages the hairs to lift and improves razor glide. All whilst helping to keep the skin moisturised minimising razor burn and rashes. You could use any number of facial oils for this. It doesn’t have to be a specific shaving oil. You could use the oil as your shaving product alone or apply it under a shaving gel or cream. This will moisturise and comfort the skin. It’s also a great skin buffer as many cheaper foams and gels will dry out the skin. If you can, choose the best quality products you can afford. Ones that are skincare led because they are specifically designed to calm the skin and provide comfort whilst delivering results.


Post Shave

Toners/Facial Spritz

Dry your face after shaving and then spritz the face with a toner or facial mist. Either spray directly onto face or on a cotton pad. Done every day after shaving will instantly cool the skin and prepare it for moisture. Really try to avoid traditional splash-on aftershaves which are heavily alcohol based. They will send you through the roof if you splash them onto your face directly after a shave. The alcohol can be extremely drying on the skin and sting like crazy. There are much kinder products to choose from.


Eye products

If signs of fatigue or dryness are a concern around your eyes then an eye cream or gel would be advantageous. Apply an amount the same size as a grain of rice to each eye with your ring fingers, being careful not to press too hard. Less is definitely more. If you are tempted to slather it on you may end up with puffy eyes and wasted product.



Serums are where the magic really happens. They are usually packed full of active ingredients which will give your skin a really boost and freshen the face. They tend to be of a light consistency so are easily absorbed. There are serums for all sorts of concerns including tired, dull skin, to increase cell turnover, dehydration, pigmentation, fine lines.  Massage a small amount on your face and neck after cleansing, toning and applying an eye product.



A moisturiser will soothe and bring comfort to the skin whilst keeping it hydrated. It’s an important step no matter what your skin type. There are oil free versions for oily or blemished skin and rich nourishing formulations for drier skin plus everything in between.  Massage moisturiser in after each of the previous steps.


SPF – Sun Protection Factor

Sun cream should be applied every day no matter what the weather. The harmful UV rays can even penetrate clouds and glass. Apart from helping to protect our skin against cancer, a sun cream will slow down signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Opt for factor 50 if you can and don’t go below factor 30. Apply two finger lengths full of cream for the face and another for the scalp if you are bald. Don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck. Apply before leaving home in the morning and reapply frequently. Wear every day even when it isn’t sunny. This is where a lot of guys undo all of the excellent benefits of having a higher collagen density. That healthy skin can very easily get negatively impacted by the sun. For best protection choose a broad spectrum sun cream which will protect against UVA rays (the ageing rays) and UVB rays (the burning rays).


Check the sun protection blog for more info and recommendations.


Face Masks

Face masks area a great way to instantly treat a skin concern, whether that be skin that looks tired and dull, dehydrated, excess oiliness, sensitivity or spots to name a few. These are mostly applied to the skin and left on for a few minutes before being removed with a flannel and water. They can give a natural looking glow, boost hydration or soothe sensitised or decongest skin.


Aftershaves, fragrance, colognes

Spritz these on arms, chest and back of the neck. Avoid the face, it’s not necessary. A word of warning - don’t use fragrance before sunbathing as it may cause pigmentation and increase skin sensitivity. Save your fragrance for afterwards.


Make up

I know it’s not for everyone but don’t rule out make up. There are some incredible tinted moisturisers and under eye concealers available and they are a subtle way of giving a healthy glow. Tinted moisturiser can even out skin tone whilst concealers with light reflecting particles can lift the eyes and help cover dark circles.


So, if all of this is new to you or you are wanting to switch up how you currently look after your skin, this blog is giving your permission to nurture your skin and in turn look after yourself in a small way. Your skin will thank you for it!


Below is a handpicked selection of some of the products available at Perfumery & Company (but remember to check back to earlier blogs for a wider selection). These would all make perfect gifts too:



Clarins Active Face Wash

Suitable for all skin types (including dry)

This is a gentle and comforting wash which effectively removes dirt, oil, sweat and pollutants whilst soothing razor burn.

Apply a small amount of this light gel to palms of hands and add some water to create a creamy foam. Then massage onto wet skin using light circular movements. Remove with cold water or a flannel soaked in cold water and pat skin dry. Use morning and night.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Purifying Face Wash

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily/combination)

This is an energizing and aromatic face wash. Very efficient in removing daily build-up of impurities on the skin.

Massage this gel into skin, making sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies around the nose area, rinse with warm water and gently towel dry face. Use morning and night.


Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

Suitable for all skin types (including sensitive)

A calming, delicately fragranced, gel which transforms into a light milk consistency that cleans without stripping. A beautiful blend of botanical extracts which leave the skin feeling fresh and clean.

Apply to dry skin and massage in circular movements whilst adding some water to create a light foam. Wash off with warm water before patting skin dry with a towel. Use morning and night.


None of these cleansers will create lots of bubbles and neither would you want them to as lots of lather can often be quite drying on the skin. If your skin is particularly dry you could opt for a cleansing balm such as the Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm. This is an incredible product.


Check the cleansing blog for more recommendations



Clarins Fresh Scrub

Suitable for all skin types (including dry)

A refreshing creamy facial scrub containing tiny particles of natural wood cellulose to effectively remove dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and lift hairs in preparation for shaving. Skin will feel smoother and softer.

Once skin has been cleaned apply a small amount to face with water, gentle massage around (avoiding eye area) and rinse thoroughly. Use up to three times a week after cleansing and before shaving.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Revitalising Face Scrub

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily or combination)

Clay draws out impurities whilst ground rice and rosehip seeds buff away dry dead skin cells.

Massage into wet skin (avoiding eye area) and rinse with warm water. The particles are bigger in this scrub compared to the Clarins scrub so it may be better for oily, combination skin that isn’t sensitive rather than dry or sensitive skin.


Exfoliators are only for use two to three times a week. Not every day.


Check the exfoliating blog for more recommendations



Neals Yard Remedies For Men Close Shave Cream

Suitable for all skin types

This is a non-lathering cream which softens stubble whilst soothing skin. It’s a pleasure to use as it aids razor glide.

Wet face and massage into skin before shaving. Use this after cleaning the face (and after exfoliating on days that you exfoliate). Remove any excess with warm or cold water and pat skin dry with a towel. A little goes a long way so this tube will last quite a while.


Remember to check out the facial oils available as these can be a great addition to your shaving routine and will not make skin oilier.


Check the facial oil blog for recommendations



Grown Alchemist Balancing Toner

Suitable for all skin types

A toner is a gem within your shaving and skincare routine. Removing any last remnants of shaving product, balancing and comforting the skin and refining the appearance of open pores. It will effectively refresh, invigorate and soothe the skin.

Apply after shaving by either applying a few drops into the palms of your hands and pressing onto the face and neck or applying directly onto a cotton pad and sweeping over the face.  Use in the morning after shaving and in the evening after cleansing.


Check the toner blog for more recommendations


Eye products:

Clarins Energizing Eye Gel

Suitable for all skin types

A wonder product that will visibly revive tired eyes whilst delivering a hit of hydration. If you experience puffy eyes or just generally have tired heavy eyes this will revitalise the delicate eye area. The ball applicator dispenses the cooling gel onto the skin and helps the eye area to feel rested.

Apply after toning morning and evening.


Check the eye product blog for more recommendations



Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum

Suitable for all skin types (including sensitive)

Serums usually contain the most active ingredients compared to other skincare products. This is where you are most likely to see results/changes in our skin. This is the perfect product for combating fine dehydration lines on the face and neck, to smooth the surface and improve skins appearance. Think of a serum as a skin boost.

Apply this in the morning and/or evening after your eye product.


Check the serum blog for other recommendations



Elemis Pro-Collagen Marin Cream For Men

Suitable for all skin types

If you are looking for a typically masculine fragrance this is for you. It’s an incredible cream marketed as an anti-wrinkle moisturiser. Light in texture, absorbs effortlessly and delivers a much needed hit of moisture which all skin types need. It’s rich enough for dry skin whilst being light enough to absorb into more oily or combination skin types without being greasy or shiny. It gives the skin a real glow and smooth texture. A really effective cream.

Apply a pea sized amount morning and evening onto the face and neck after your serum.


Clarins Super Moisture Lotion

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily, combination and normal)

This is a lightweight delicately fragranced moisturiser that leaves a matte finish on the skin so doesn’t feel tacky or greasy. It provides much needed hydration to the skin leaving it smooth and supple.

Even though it contains an SPF20 I would still urge you to use a separate sun cream as, in my opinion, a sun cream within a moisturiser means that you would have to use a huge amount of the moisturiser to obtain the right amount of protection from the sun.

Apply in the mornings after your serum. Do not apply in the evening due to the SPF which will just be sitting on the skin whilst you sleep. Apply a different moisturiser in the evening.


Clarins Super Moisture Balm

Suitable for all skin types (especially normal and dry)

This has more slip that the lotion without being greasy. Perfect for drier skin types. Like the lotion it provides hydration to the skin helping it to feel more comfortable and healthy. This one doesn’t contain an SPF for sun protection which is no bad thing as a specific sun cream applied over the top of your moisturiser is much more effective.

Apply morning and evening after your serum.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Age-Defying Moisturiser

Suitable for all skin types

This is a light and aromatic cream which can be applied to the eye area too. Just dot a small amount around the eyes (not too close to the lashes) and gently dab with your ring finger until it is absorbed. It will leave the skin looking rested, smooth and supple.

Apply to clean skin morning and evening after your serum. Don’t forget your neck!


L’Occitane L’Occitan After Shave Balm

Suitable for all skin types

A beautiful light balm with a typically masculine fragrance. A little definitely goes a long way and leaves a lovely sheen on the skin without feeling tacky. It has perfect hydrating and soothing ingredients to nourish the skin. Whilst anti-inflammatory properties ease skin from any irritation and tightness caused by shaving.

Apply to face and neck after serum morning and evening.


Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream

Suitable for all skin types (including oily, combination and sensitive)

This is a nourishing, non-greasy light cream which is effective at leaving the skin smooth, soothed and healthy looking. It provides a good hit of hydration to feed the skin with what it needs.

Apply to face and neck morning and evening after serum.


If you spend a lot of time outside for work, exercise or hobbies a moisturiser and a sun cream are a must to protect against the effects of the sun, wind, cold and general elements and pollution.


Check the moisturiser blog for more recommendations


If you aren’t looking for a comprehensive regimen but would like to get started I would recommend the following products as being excellent staples (alongside your shaving products) They would be applied to the face in this order:


Cleanser (Morning & Evening)

Exfoliator (Two to three times a week after cleansing face in the morning)

Serum/Moisturiser (Morning & Evening)

SPF- Sun cream (Morning only)

Really consider investing in a serum as this is where the magic really happens


Everyone at Perfumery & Company are on hand to help and provide a level of service you don’t see in larger stores. I really hope this blog has been helpful.