Skincare for Men - Instructions Included
September 17, 2019 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I am a guy in his mid 40s. I would like take great care of my face and neck. I really don't want to do a bunch of research. I simply want to be told EXACTLY what to buy, where to buy it, and the exact steps I am supposed to do from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.

If it involves vitamin C and retinol, awesome. If it costs me $30 a month, awesome. I am simply looking for a detailed step-by-step skincare recipe for men including the specific products I need to buy. If I can set up a subscription, even better.

I am not looking to geek out or spend an exorbitant amount of money on my skincare regime. I want a simple regime that has a decent ROI , which means I would like to look somewhat younger than most men in 10 - 30 years. Any regime should also not require too much time. I don't mind spending 10 minutes a day, but anything more and I am probably not going to do it.

The best answer will most likely have a link to 3-5 products at one retailer like The Ordinary with instructions even a dummy like me can follow. If it helps, I am a white guy with very average white guy skin, not to fair, not to dark, not to oily, not to dry.

Mefites, please help the men of Mefi look better than our brethren over on Reddit.
posted by jasondigitized to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion.
Yes, it's ostensibly a "woman's" product, but it's as good as it gets, no matter your gender. Been using it for decades. I've tried using other stuff, but keep coming back to Clinique.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:41 AM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Try Paula's Choice Routine Finder - answer some questions about your skin, and then get complete set of instructions and list of Paula's Choice products for your routine.
posted by needled at 9:56 AM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Every Morning

Wash face with Alaffia Face Cleanser with Papaya and Neem
After face washing/showering, apply Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner with Aloe Vera Formula. (Apply with a lightly soaked cotton ball)

2-3 times a week
Exfoliate with Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Scrub with Sea Salt and Sugar

1x a week
Deep pore cleaning with Aztec Secret Healing Clay. (You basically mix equal parts clay powder with water or apple cider vinegar to form a paste. You apply it to your skin as a mask and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. You're going to need a hot, wet towel to remove the stuff. Apply toner with cotton ball afterward to remove lingering trace amounts)

To be honest, I'm often too lazy to wash my face at night. So most nights, I cheat and just apply the Thayer's toner to my face. I'm a guy in my early 40s (mixed European/indigenous roots here) and most people think I look much younger. Also lay off the fried foods and alcohol. That has made a tremendous difference in eliminating acne and achieving more youthful looking skin.
posted by caveatz at 9:57 AM on September 17, 2019

The skincare routine won't make much difference in anti-aging unless you also become extremely disciplined about wearing sunscreen every day. The Paula's Choice routine finder plus a good sunscreen will get you the results you want. I think this EltaMD sunscreen is excellent.
posted by quince at 10:24 AM on September 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all skincare routine. If there were we'd all be using it. I love your optimism but make your peace with the idea that maybe these suggestions will not be what your personal skin needs. There is a reason people who care a lot about their skin end up spending a lot of time and money on it.
posted by potrzebie at 10:25 AM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm all in on Kiehl's; the gateway drug for me was their shaving line, which is great, but also beyond the scope of my reply here.

In the shower, I use Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash as my regular go-to face soap, but if I've been out riding for hours and have the resulting salty gross face, I use the scrubbier Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub, which is just wonderful after a long day on the bike.

I used the regular Facial Fuel moisturizer for years, but I've recently "upgraded" (at 49) to the more luxe (and more expensive) Age Defender Gel Moisturizer It feels really nice. I use it morning and night.

(If I'm riding, or going to be out in the sun, I use the Facial Fuel variant with sunscreen in it, though.)

I've also started using the Age Defender Eye Repair cream in the mornings to reduce dark circles & baggy-ness. It seems to actually work on me.

Kiehl's stores are like any such store, which is to say long on woo and low and provable claims, but they'll let you try nearly anything, and the clerks are "high-end-shop" helpful generally. They have a wide range of stuff, and it's all pretty nice.
posted by uberchet at 10:33 AM on September 17, 2019

I have 50 year old white lady skin (more fair than dark, more olive than pink), never had any meaningful acne and no major sunburns to my face. I have some slight frown lines in my forehead and some feathering at the corners of my eyes. My face looks younger than my mom's did at my age, but who knows why? Before this year, I never had a routine. I rinse my face with water in the morning and at night. If I've used sunscreen, I use a washcloth, no cleanser. I moisturized with Complex 15 (they changed the formulation this year and I don't like it as much) and used drugstore cosmetics facial sunscreen

Now I have a routine. In the morning: rinse my face with water, use a peptide from The Ordinary. Then apply Complex 15 (Amazon) or The Ordinary's buffet, whichever I pick up off the counter. Then I use a sunscreen (these vary depending on my activity for the day. One is a BB cream, one is a zinc cream, one is drugstore cosmetics brand face sunscreen)

In the evening, I wipe my face clean with a washcloth and warm water. I use a The Ordinary retinoid. Then before sleeping, I use Origins Drink Up Hydration. The Origins is the most expensive thing in my routine and could probably be replaced with something less expensive, but it was a gift, so I use it.
posted by crush at 10:40 AM on September 17, 2019

Best answer: Use sunscreen.

Honestly, the skincare industry is a lot like the supplement industry: Some products can be useful for some people who have specific issues they want to address, but for the most part the idea that everyone needs a "regimen" is an invention of marketing. The industry is full of untested claims and anecdotal evidence; it's very difficult to sort out what might actually be helpful, both because your skin is different than other people's skin, and because anecdotal evidence is subject to all sorts of bias.

For anti-aging, you want sunscreen. You might want to try a retinoid product, but over-the-counter retinoids are less effective than prescription ones.

Otherwise, unless you have some issue you want to address, you don't really need a regimen. Changing up your routine could even introduce problems, if your skin is happy with what you're doing to it now.

Basically, you're asking about how to increase your engagement with the beauty industry, which can be very exploitative (e.g. deliberately fostering insecurities through marketing to sell products with questionable effectiveness). It's worth keeping a skeptical mindset and looking for actual evidence of effectiveness.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2019 [9 favorites]

The best thing you can do for your skin to look better than everyone else in 20 years is keep it out of the fucking sun, either by wearing wide brimmed hats or putting sunscreen on your face. UV destroys skin, and your face is probably the part of you that gets hit the most aside from the back of your hands and your neck. I'll say it again: keep your face out of the sun. It's never too late to start.

Second is just gently soap your face with a simple soap with no additives, just like ivory or something. Gently rub it with a washcloth under warm but not hot water, and pat dry. The more you rub, the greasier you'll get. Your skin reacts to what you do to it, so just gently remove the dirt and let its natural self-care action do the rest.

That's it. Stay out of the sun, mild soap, gentle rubbing, and, of course don't eat like an idiot.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

You're a white guy in Texas? You already have lots of sun damage to your face. You know why Hollywood actresses look so great? Copious sunscreen, hats, and avoiding the sun.

If you want something simple, cheap, and easy, then, every morning, apply moisturizer with sunscreen. It doesn't need to be expensive or complicated or have a scent of any kind. SPF 30 is probably the way to go. Something like this is cheap and readily available online and in your local drugstore or superstore. But you can experiment with different combinations of moisturizers with SPF or moisturizing sunscreen (though a product marketed as sunscreen might be more likely to have that beachy, sunscreen smell).

If you end up using a different moisturizer or routine, you should still be applying sunscreen every single morning.

I'm in my mid-40s, a white woman who has lived in the north but also very close to the equator. The only thing I have done consistently for skincare is to apply moisturizing sunscreen to my face regularly. I'm not saying I look ten years younger than other women my age, and maybe some of this is genetics, but also I'm certain I look younger than if I weren't doing this.

You can also get a facial at a local spa once or twice a year and talk to those folks about skincare routines.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:51 AM on September 17, 2019

Here's Rich Juzwiak's routine

I've been thinking about trying it, especially since he said the Tazorac (retinoid; Rx only) got rid of his milia.

I'd switch it up to use the Tazorac only at night, though; using a retinoid during the day, even mixed with SPF 15 sunscreen, sounds iffy.

I'd also drop the Hada Labo products; article seems to indicate they're fun but unnecessary.
posted by homodachi at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2019

Best answer: And don't forget your neck!
posted by bluedaisy at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

You might want to look at one of the online dermatology things like Curology; they'll happily take your money in exchange for sending you a bottle of retinoids and vitamin c every month. If you're using retinoids, because they're photosensitizing, you probably also want to get sunscreen. Whatever you're willing to wear is good, but if you haven't found one you like, I'd recommend checking out Japanese and Korean sunscreens, either by finding a K-Beauty store nearby or ordering some online. These two will run you about 30 a month, depending on what sunscreen you pick.

You don't necessarily need a cleanser or a moisturizer, if you're doing the above, though you might want them. Water generally suffices to get sunscreen off if it's not water-resistant; retinoids tend to cause dry skin, but some come in a moisturizer base.
posted by you could feel the sky at 3:30 PM on September 17, 2019

Best answer: There's no point to jumping into stuff like chemical exfoliants, retinoids, and Vitamin C if you are not wearing sunscreen. Wear sunscreen and avoid sun exposure (for instance, by wearing long sleeves more often). This is the number one route to looking younger as you age. Everything else is pointless without it. (You can check out this photo for a demonstration.) Make sure to use enough sunscreen to get the full protection (this is the problem with SPF moisturizers - if you use enough to get the full protection, your face gets really greasy).

This post gives a great breakdown of the hierarchy of skincare needs. Basically, it's not a good idea to jump into stuff like Vitamin C and retinol if you haven't already made sure your skin is protected from the sun and moisturized - otherwise, your skin is likely to end up irritated/dried out and you'll be worse off than when you began. Sunscreen, obviously, is the foundation to everything. I use Shiseido Senka Aging Care sunscreen on my face. It feels nicer than most American sunscreens and is moisturizing but not greasy. I use a CVS brand sunscreen for my neck, chest, and arms/hands (don't forget your hands! The liver spots you see on older people's hands are caused by UV exposure).

After sunscreen, add other skincare products one at a time, if you feel that you need them, so that if anything makes your skin angry, you know what it was. If you start a whole new routine all at once, you won't know what's causing what reaction. The next potential addition would be a moisturizer (I use Cerave moisturizing cream), then a gentle cleanser (I use Hada Labo cleansing foam), then a hydrator (I use Hada Labo Gokujun Premium hyaluronic acid), then targeted treatment (this is where the actives like AHA/BHA exfoliants, Vitamin C, etc. come in. I recently started using Stratia Soft Touch for this step). My order of application in the morning is (1) hydrate, (2) moisturize (I usually don't bother with this except in the winter because my sunscreen is moisturizing enough), (3) apply sunscreen, and in the evening, (1) cleanse, (2) exfoliate, only a few times a week, (3) hydrate, (4) moisturize.

But really, if you're happy with your skin and don't have any particular concerns other than anti-aging, then you can just wear sunscreen, avoid sun exposure and not bother with anything else.
posted by LNM at 4:56 PM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

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