Are you a skincare novice? Youtimer Rob Povey shares his wisdom on grooming with this step by step guide for every level of interest - from the basics with moisturiser and SPF, through to levelling up with retinoids.
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From the women, it’s almost always “What shade of lipstick do you think would suit me best?”.
And from the men: “What can I do with all of… this?” *motions to general face area*
As a self-described skincare aficionado, I’m here to simplify and streamline the perfect skincare routine for every level of grooming enthusiast - and throw in some tried and tested product recommendations - to make the daunting task of having your skin always look and feel it’s best, that much less intimidating.
Broadly speaking, men's skin is about 25% thicker than women’s due to a naturally higher collagen content.
Additionally, the oil glands in men’s skin are often more active. While hormones can affect your skin - be it estrogen or testosterone - your skin’s needs will often depend more on your age, lifestyle and, most importantly, genetics than your gender.
All this is to say, most products on the market can indeed serve unisex purposes. The key factor is to assess what your own skin’s specific needs are and how products will address them.
For somebody new to the world of skincare for men, wanting to have a little more confidence in selecting the necessities of a male grooming routine, there are four core products I would recommend to get you started and to make an immediately noticeable difference in the overall quality of your skin.
Always start your morning and end your day by cleansing the skin of any dirt and debris accumulated throughout the day or night.
I favour an oil-based formula, as I find they don’t strip the skin whilst cleansing it and help to maintain a natural balance of oils in the skin.
I’m currently loving the Hunter Lab Lipid Vitamin Cleansing Oil.
Once or twice a week, give your skin a little extra love by removing any dead skin cells that have built up, which in turn helps to make the skin appear renewed, refreshed and less dull.
Free of any harsh manual abrasives that traditional exfoliants marketed toward men contain, the NCP Enzymatic Peeling instead uses AHA and BHA acids to encourage cell renewal and leaves skin with a renewed glow.
A complaint I hear regularly from men is that creams feel too heavy or greasy on the face.
Selecting a product that offers rich nourishment and deep hydration without the heavy residue is important.
Try Hunter Lab Daily Face Fuel which is formulated with avocado and macadamia seed oils as well as wakame extract suspended in a lightweight cream that doesn’t leave you shiny.
No amount of skincare or grooming will help you if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun.
The Hunter Lab SPF50+ Facial Sunscreen comes formulated with naturally derived zinc oxide for UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection, and housed conveniently in a roll-on balm form.
Simply swipe a liberal amount of the product across the high planes of the face then massage in with your fingers; the warmth of your hands will melt the product in.
For those already across the basics, these are the additional products a more advanced skincare user might want to consider adding to their routine.
These steps will address more targeted concerns than your core products and work in conjunction with your existing routine.
Serums, oils, essences — they all work in synergy with the rest of your routine to maximise results.
The Hunter Lab Marine Healing Essence is my current obsession, crafted with natural oceanic actives, such as microalgae to help soothe and heal, advanced mushroom complex to reduce inflammation, and niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to balance pH levels and hydrate.
After cleansing, apply to the palm of the hands and press gently into the skin, followed by moisturiser, for optimal absorption and performance.
Who doesn't desire soft and supple (read, kissable) lips?
The Grown Alchemist Age-Repair Lip Treatment is a potent formula housed in a travel-friendly stick for on-the-go touchups, created with tri-peptides to stimulate collagen production, increasing lip volume and reducing the appearance of fine lines, while shea butter protects from moisture loss and naturally hydrates the lips.
The skin around the eye area is delicate, sensitive and thinner than the rest of the skin on our face.
As such, a specialised eye cream can offer much more targeted benefits than a general moisturiser. I love the Grown Alchemist Hydra-Repair Eye Balm which is designed to increase the skin’s lipid structure and improve the skin’s defence and repair mechanisms as well as rich antioxidants to minimise the appearance of fine lines.
Decant a small amount of the balm with the provided spatula and warm up into the fingertips before gently dabbing around the eye area until absorbed.
For those looking to level up and take their grooming game up a notch, these are the products a true skincare connoisseur would want in their routine.
These are the products that may not be essential for everybody but work overtime to regenerate and renew your skin over time and to get you looking your freshest for a big event.
Retinoids are just about the worst kept secret of every dedicated skincare junkie’s beauty arsenal. These magical elixirs are a vitamin A derivative that increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen synthesis, are generally considered the gold standard in anti-aging and skin clearing, and come in various strengths - from prescribed only by your dermatologist to over-the-counter.
Of the latter options, you can’t find a more effective and competitively price option than The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane which uses a concentrated complex of next-generation retinoid active technologies that have been shown to reduce the multiple signs of ageing, without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol.
Use only at night and ensure you wear a generous amount of sunscreen during the day whilst using retinoids, as they significantly increase sun sensitivity.
Applying a masque feels like the height of self-care to me. It’s the luxury of time taken out of the day to ‘treat yo self’ and feel like you’re doing something just for you.
Women have long honed these rituals, but men can benefit from them just as much.
Try the Grown Alchemist Age-Repair Sleep Masque. This masque can be worn to bed, and features a complex of advanced oligo–peptides and amino acids that noticeably restore and retexturise facial skin, as well as copper peptides and super nutrients to stimulate collagen synthesis and skin renewal.