What's in your skin care arsenal fellas ?
July 19, 2007 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Which are the better facial cleansers for men who have oily skin ? Further to that, which natural ingredients help contain oiliness and maintain a healthy face. I know some may have your home brewed elixirs -- care to share ?
posted by hboogz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
One word: Cetaphil.

Actually, multiple words: Store-brand Cetaphil knockoff. Exactly the same thing for something like half the price. I'd tried any number of products, but I like Cetaphil because it's gentle, odorless and incredibly effective at getting rid of oil and leaving the skin soft and supple.
posted by Bromius at 1:40 PM on July 19, 2007

I have very oily skin, but harsh cleansers that strip the oil dry it out too much. The only thing I've ever found that doesn't totally wreck my face is Neutrogena original fragrance-free bar soap.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:44 PM on July 19, 2007

Is "for men" necessary? I bet there's a whole lot more variation between individuals of the same sex than variation between the average of male and female.
posted by cmiller at 1:45 PM on July 19, 2007

Most of my acne cleared up when I started using olive oil-based shaving soap and a badger brush from Old Dominion Soap Company. I don't bother using any toner or cleanser or anything after I'm done shaving, and it seems to keep my skin at a pretty good balance: not oily enough to give me pimple problems, and not so dry as to be easily irritated.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:53 PM on July 19, 2007

Checks and Balances is great. Although, it is not natural. Omega 3 supplements are wonderful for all skin types. I have combination skin and take these daily. That I would recommend to maintain the appropriate moisture regardless of what cleanser you choose. Since taking this supplement, my skin heals incredibly if and when I do have a blemish and also does not feel as dry in the dry areas or as grimy by the end of the day in the oily areas.
posted by NotInTheBox at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2007

A very light moisturizer helps. It's like my skin thinks that it is dry, so it produces a lot of oil, but the oil just floats around on top and feels ick. The moisturizer soaks in and my skin stops panicking and everything is smooth and nice... Also when I keep using moisturizer regularly, the acne tones down and a lot of the blackheads pop out on their own. Personally I use the Aveeno stuff with the "bronzer" (fake tan lite).
posted by anaelith at 1:57 PM on July 19, 2007

Response by poster: cmiller -- you're absolutely right. the "men" classification isn't exactly necessary.

I wouldn't mind trying a womens cleanser at all, if it works and isn't fragrant.

I've used a variation of products from Kiehls, Neutrogena (Body-scrub works wonders) Lab series. All of which haven't really impressed me.

I don't want to rid myself of the oil ( i believe it's partly a blessing) I'd like to maintain a clear and consistent complexion and overall healthy balance.
posted by hboogz at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2007

proactiv work like a miracle
posted by DJWeezy at 2:03 PM on July 19, 2007

Cetaphil isn't quite odorless as others have suggested. I like it but won't use it anymore because it makes me smell of something vaguely diaperish. Clean diapers, but diaperish all the same. Makes me feel like I ought to be living with my mom and going to bible study.

I've had surprisingly good luck with Biore Pore Perfect Shine Control.
posted by kookoobirdz at 2:07 PM on July 19, 2007

Nivea makes a nice line of face scrubs for men that seem fairly gentle yet effective.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:14 PM on July 19, 2007

My fancy dermatologist takes care of the faces of most of the local newscasters/football wives/hockey wives. If his rich clients demand something exclusive, he gives them Pevonia, Obagi, or he has recommended DHC. But I asked him pointedly what my oily-oily/combo skin needed, expecting to get some hugely expensive recommendation. He gave me Cetaphil. He will also recommend Purpose or Dove cleansers and moisturizers.
posted by oflinkey at 2:20 PM on July 19, 2007

Cetaphil sucks for oily skin - it never really feels like it provides a deep cleanse and is very moisturizing and thus seems to make the greasies come back even faster.

My husband and I both use Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne wash, even though we're both beyond acne, it is a great cleanser for oily skin (my husband & I both have it) and my husband likes it because it's not "girly".

As far as other stuff for your face, wearing SPF regularly is important to protect your skin. Neutrogena has a great oil free, dry-touch facial sunscreen that does not smell or feel like regular sunscreen. I linked to SPF 70 but it comes in a wide range of SPFs. I also really like Biore's Shine Control Moisturizer, but you might think it smells a little girly because it's melon scented (I'm not a fan of the smell but it keeps the greasies away).
posted by tastybrains at 2:23 PM on July 19, 2007

Johnson's Baby Wash (or the generic version thereof), which degreases without drying, and a really light slick of water-based moisturizer right after washing. Really light -- put a drop in wet palms, mash palms together, pat on face. Wipe face with towel if you can still feel it, even. Just enough to keep it from getting that tight feeling and being in a hurry to grease back up.

I've long since given up on "natural ingredients," and anything that even smacks of "elixir." Keeping it simple works.
posted by kmennie at 2:23 PM on July 19, 2007

Response by poster: i occasionally have to deal with blemishes and haven't found the best strategy to remove them quickly enough.

Right now -- I cleanse, tone then moisturize.

I shave using this. It's the best shaving cream i've ever used and i might just try their cleanser.

Since i work anywhere between 7-9 hours a day, i don't have the chance to ever do anything at work and i can just feel the oil build-up during the day.

I would like to keep it simple and low maintenance, bottom line.
posted by hboogz at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2007

I like Lush's coal/licorice soap for the rare times my skin gets oily. The reviews are right: the smell is unpleasant, but it dissipates when you rinse. Otherwise, I like DHC mild soap which has no odor at all. Both products are spendy but last a good long time, if you don't leave them sitting in a puddle of water.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:37 PM on July 19, 2007

Best answer: Not a product recommendation, but since I'm a man who, like most men, gots no idea how to take care of skin beyond a bar of soap, I'll give you my experience:

I thought I had incredibly oily skin, until a girlfriend made me moisturize after my shower. I thought this was pretty counter-intuitive, but after a week or so I found that my skin was producing a lot less oil. Showering dried out my skin significantly and so my body was used to pumping out huge gobs of oil to repair it. After my skin got used to moisturizing (it will take at least a week) it produced almost no "excess" oil.

I use a gentle cleanser in the shower, moisturize after the shower, and usually a gentle facial peel at night. (I should probably moisturize after the peel too, but it always seems odd to moisturize to sleep.)

If you're wouldn't be too embarrassed being seen, I would try going to the local makeup counter and see what they recommend. They would welcome the chance to teach a guy the ropes, and they'll let you sample everything to make sure they don't make you smell like a bouquet.
posted by Ookseer at 2:44 PM on July 19, 2007

I use Neutrogena's Oil Control Foaming Cleanser. They can do no wrong. It really keeps my skin from getting oily all day long. Otherwise, it's greasy by lunch.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:58 PM on July 19, 2007

Your dermatologist can give you a prescription for retinA. Use it every other night, it will keep oil at bay also prevents blackheads and other types of acne caused by oily skin. My insurance even covered it!
posted by monicaabc at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2007

hboogz: You have time to blot. Rice paper blotters do a great job of keeping the oily feeling away. They come in little wallet-sized packets.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:29 PM on July 19, 2007

Your dermatologist can give you a prescription for retinA. Use it every other night, it will keep oil at bay also prevents blackheads and other types of acne caused by oily skin.

Yeah, just don't do what I did in high school and apply too much of it right after shaving, or you'll get awesome chemical burns on your face. It's good stuff, though, when used properly.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:42 PM on July 19, 2007

I'm not male, but I use a combination of Clearasil daily face wash and St. Ives apricot scrub for oily/blemish prone skin. Cheap, non-smelly, and effective--all of the expensive/prescription stuff did nothing for me, but now I finally have quasi-nice face skin. The scrub feels awesome and has really helped with blackheads and icky pores. Best to use in the shower, though, so you can rinse really well and not have little bits clinging accidentally.
posted by rhoticity at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2007


i swear by this stuff. no weird smells either.
posted by butterball at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2007

I'm a fan of Lush too. Their CoalFace bar is good (as crush-onastick mentioned), but I find their Ocean Salt scrub works really well for oily skin and for those times when it's taken a bit of a beating.

My (male) partner has been converted to it, and is very happy with the results. As a barista he gets pretty sweaty and gets quite dirty from all the coffee grounds, plus he has naturally oily skin. He scrubs with the Ocean Salt in the morning, and follows up with their Tea Tree Water toner and the Ultralight moisturiser (which contains sunscreen). At night after work he often uses Coal Face, which is a bit gentler.

You might also want to try Herbalism which is designed for oily skin. I haven't tried it but the friends of mine who have all rave about it.

Lush products are always very good quality and a lot of them are both organic and vegan for your discerning types.

*Disclaimer: I used to work for them in the warehouse packing product a few years ago. I'm still a loyal customer and the only other body/skin products I use is an occasional wash with Cetaphil when my skin is really dry or I've run out of Lush soap.
posted by gerls at 5:38 PM on July 19, 2007

Lush is the shit, no question, but have you tried just changing your diet to avoid the oily skin in the first place?

If you're already free of potato chips and fried food, but still have the same problem, 5 or 10mg of zinc supplements per day can make a huge difference. Takes about a week to have an impact.
posted by rokusan at 6:17 PM on July 19, 2007

Girl with oily skin here, and I've found what works for me is Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild used in conjunction with their 7-Day Scrub Cream. I wash with the soap only in the morning, and the soap and scrub at night.

For years, I used to follow-up with a toner and then a moisturizer, but after my skin went berserk last summer, I did some research on makeupalley.com and for the last year have been using MAC Studio Moisture Cream alone with great results. The description reads "super-rich creamy" which seems counter-intuitive to what you want to do, i.e. dry up all that oil, but like anaelith said upthread, when you apply harsh products to your skin in an effort to stop all that oil production, your skin is stripped of its natural moisture at the same time. It produces more oil in protest and that, in combination with the dry skin clogging your pores causes break-outs and a vicious cycle ensues.

If you're interested, Clinique has a men's line so you can check to see if they have equivalent products there. As far as I can tell, MAC does not have a men's line specifically. Regardless, all of these products are unscented, so if smelling girly was a concern, you needn't worry. :)
posted by phoenixc at 7:38 PM on July 19, 2007

After years of trial and error with oily skin I’ve personally found a combination that works. :) I cleanse with a sulfur soap - they make expensive ones but my favorite is a pretty strong bar soap that I pick up at my local Mexican grocery store. Then I moisturize with an oil free product - I like Avena, this is necessary as the sulfur soap dries my face out a ton, and smells a little odd. In the mornings I use a gentler cleanser or which hazel. On particular pimples I put pure tea tree oil - but don’t do that if your skin is sensitive, it’ll burn! But for me it works fantastic. :)
posted by gleea at 10:33 PM on July 19, 2007

Best answer: Ex-oily faced girl here.

There was a thread in ask.mefi awhile ago where someone suggested using jojoba oil as a cleanser (while that seems extremely counterintuitive for oily skin it actually works pretty well and takes off make-up too). However it didn't cause me to become oilier but it certainly didn't make me less oily. Instead I started using Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap (warning: the peppermint kind will make your eyes burn, but I use that kind anyway) which has jojoba oil and other skin friendly oils in it plus it lathers which is nice.

The castille soap makes my skin feel clean without drying it out, plus you can use the soap for a million other cleaning applications which is nice.

However, the step that changed my skin from Oily McOilerson to normal was doing a daily Milk of Magnesia mask as recommended by Paula Begoun of CosmeticsCop.com.

Just get some milk of magnesia which you can find at any drugstore (note: it's in the laxative aisle; I use Phillips brand but I'm sure if there's a regular store brand it's the same thing). Shake the bottle and apply a layer of it to your face with a cotton ball. I leave it on for half an hour but 10 minutes is long enough. Wash your face and be on your merry way. (I would suggest wearing some sunscreen as a good skin saving habit).

I do this every morning before work and it keeps my face non-oily without making it dry at all. Plus the mask seems to clear up my breakouts which is an added plus.
posted by zippity at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding Zippity... Couldn't remember earlier the name of the bar of soap in my shower. Dr. Bronner's works wonders. It really is magic soap. Very gentle and can be used for laundry, body washing, shampoo(which is how I use it) face, you name it.

Here's a nice reference to the omega 3 benefits previously mentioned .
posted by NotInTheBox at 4:57 AM on July 20, 2007

Response by poster: There have been so many "best answers" i can't just choose one.

I've heard about the zinc and omega 3 recommendations -- overall, is there a daily multi-vitiman that would consist of both, since i really don't like taking too many different pills, if any at all.

zippity -- My mother has been using milk of magnesia for years, but never really bothered to try it ( her skin is not oily)

I'm going to try cheapest solutions at first, but as this post has illustrated -- it doesn't really boil down to the cleanser itself but the entire process.
posted by hboogz at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2007

Response by poster: Along with all the great ideas to help keep the oil at bay -- I have an related question.

What's the best method for removing the visible pores that appear ?

rhoticity touched on this with the St. Ives recommendation.
posted by hboogz at 6:32 AM on July 20, 2007

Dang! I wish this question had been asked a week ago.

I notice that, in the summer months, I need a face cleanser. And I just picked up Sea Breeze - something that worked for me years ago. Well... once that runs out, I'll have to check back to this thread again.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:27 AM on July 20, 2007

What's the best method for removing the visible pores that appear ?

Retin-A, or a high-test glycolic acid liquid. Say the Glycare II 20% Glycolic Compound stuff here.

Caveat: putting on said high-test stuff sometimes makes things quite oily quite quickly -- use it at night, or use it, and wash again in twenty minutes or so -- but the long-term effect is the opposite.

If you just want to hide things for a day, "Smashbox Smashing Anti-Shine" is the stuff. It feels a bit nasty, like you're smearing putty on your face, but it's great for humid special occasions. Apparently, "Bill Clinton won't leave home without using his favourite Anti-Shine."
posted by kmennie at 9:17 AM on July 20, 2007

Well, since I haven't seen my favorite yet:

I noticed a while back that most of my South Asian colleagues tended to wash their faces in addition to their hands after using the restroom. At first I thought this was a bit excessive, but I started doing it myself and have really gotten to enjoy the feeling of a clean face. If you drink coffee like I do, and hence go to the can at least six times during the work day, your face practically never has a chance to oil up.
posted by oats at 3:41 PM on July 20, 2007

I use Talulah products, and almost everyone I know who uses them, regardless of skin type (oily, dry, sensitive, etc.) raves about their cleansers. They offer sample kits for $27.
posted by dropkick queen at 3:49 PM on July 20, 2007

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