The beauty industry has always been dominated by female consumers. We’re obsessed with using the latest trends in anti-aging skincare, creative makeup applications, and we own a plethora of various makeup and skincare items. But due to technology advances, and social norms, men are beginning to follow closely behind their female counterparts, taking their skincare, health and wellness more seriously.
Generation of Self Care.
When it comes to their buying habits, Millennial and younger Gen X men invest more in their health, wellness, and skincare than men in any other generation. It could be due to the fact that they have more disposable income, and wrinkles, than their younger counterparts. But what about the older generations? Surely they have the financial positioning to invest, too?
They certainly do have the finances, but the desire is lacking. Think about it. Rewind the times back 40 or so years ago. Baby Boomer men were not worried so much about their skincare regime or their mental health. In fact, the culture was that men couldn’t worry about those things, or talk about their feelings. Or ask for help. Or be vulnerable even for just a second. They worried more about things like putting food on the table.
Then go back another generation. Our grandfathers were certainly not worried about their appearance, nor was it acceptable for the breadwinner of the home to show signs of “weakness” through feministic self-care rituals, such as washing your face - sheesh! They were too busy trying to keep themselves and their families alive.
Ok, so those are dramatic renditions, but probably not too far off from the truth.
So it’s no surprise that male Millennials and Gen Xers have become the lead consumers in the male skincare industry. As mentioned earlier, they have the luxury of a higher disposable income than Gen Z, and they also have early signs of aging - both of which are motivation to invest in a skincare regime.
A Quarter of Men Just Don’t Know Things.
Men are still fairly minimal when it comes to skincare. Many of them don’t understand the value in a full-fledged regime, and tend to go for the simplest routine available: Soap and water.
According to YouGov America, 24% of men in the US use hand soap to wash their face, and 3 in 5 men in the US do not moisturize their face at all - yikes! So it’s probably safe to say that men could use a little education in this area.
Things He Should Know About His Skin.
Whether it be your husband, boyfriend, brother, father, or friend, skincare is not second nature to most men. Most of them were not raised to think or care about those things, and so, just like a lifelong book nerd trying to learn to play football as an adult would find it quite difficult, so is skincare for grown men. Especially if they don’t really have an interest in the first place. But skincare isn’t really about enjoyment (I mean, it is for us, of course), but it’s like a healthy diet - it’s a way to maintain your skin’s health. So here are some things he should know first:
There are different skin types.
There are four basic skin types: Normal, Dry, Oil and Combination. Most of us have Combination skin.
From there we have specific conditions, like fine lines, dehydration, hyperpigmentation, and acne. It’s important for him to know his own skin type so he can build a regime that works for him.
Not all products are created equal.
If he’s using hand soap to wash his face, please tell him to stop. Hand soap is more often than not formulated with sulphates (SLS & SLES). These are harsh and drying as hell on the skin, and are not designed for the face. Furthermore, any other product you catch him using on his face that isn’t formulated as such you need to confiscate. We don’t want him damaging his skin.
We all need to moisturize - yes, even men.
It’s a crime that so many men use hand soap to wash their face. It’s an even bigger crime that even more of them do not moisturize. Moisturizers lock in moisture, so without them our skin just gets drier and more dehydrated throughout the day. Moisturizers also protect our skin from pollution and other free radical damage (hello wrinkles!), so please make sure he understands how important moisturizer is.
He needs more than just cleansing and moisturizing.
Cleansers and moisturizers are not classed as “treatments” as such, although they can contain active ingredients to help with certain conditions. But sometimes we need to treat our skin with specific active products to really target those issues. If he has acne, using a BHA toner or exfoliant is a great addition to help with breakouts. As we age, our collagen production slows right down. It unfortunately happens quicker with women, but men are never too far behind. By the time we’re 30, we should all be using products that help to slow the aging process through ingredients like vitamin C, retinols, and AHAs.
A skincare regime does not need to be complicated.
This is something I’ve heard a million times from men, and many women. They don’t have time or patience to do a regimen every single morning and night, and they don’t see the point when water (and hand soap - eep!) does just fine. But, guys, it doesn't need to be complicated. Especially now there are minimalist formulations available for lazy, err, I mean, busy people.
When it comes to introducing him to a skincare regime, you might want to start off slowly introducing items into his regime. If it’s your husband or boyfriend, you can do things like:
- Give him a facial and then tell him how good his skin looks over the next few days;
- Leave cleanser in the shower so it’s easily accessible;
- Introduce him to moisturizing - and, of course, sunscreen;
- Start complimenting his skin regularly - stroke that ego, and make it clear that his skin has never looked so good!
Hook Him Up With The Goods.
I’ve put together two very simple and easy regimes - even a monkey could do them. So I’m sure your man/dad/friend will have no trouble, especially if you’re there to help him through it.
The first one is a minimalist regime for those who might have trouble committing to more steps. While the second one is more traditional, with more steps involved, and is more luxurious.
What I really love about these regimes is that they are gender-neutral, so you can both use this regime if you have similar skin concerns.
Regime One: The Minimalist
Cleanser: morning and night
This bar is designed for all skin types, even sensitive skin. You can use it on the face and the body, making it a simple all-in-one shower step.
SPF Moisturizer: morning
If he hasn’t been moisturizing, he definitely needs to start. He should also be using an SPF to stop sun damage that causes premature aging. Malu Day Cream with SPF30 is the perfect blend of ingredients to hydrate and protect his skin throughout the day.
Serum & Moisturizer: night
This serum bar triples up as a serum, oil and moisturizer. After cleansing, just swipe the bar across the face and you’re done for the day! It helps with things like complexion imperfections, redness, fine lines and pigmentation.
Mask Treatment: twice a week at night
This is a once or twice a week treatment mask, formulated with glycolic acid and fruit enzymes to resurface dull skin. Perfect for a low-maintenance skincare regime. Apply after cleansing, and use Bloom Jelly after rinsing off.
Regime Two: Fully Loaded
Cleanser: morning & night
This is a light foaming gel formula designed to purify and hydrate, while gently melting away dead skin and debris.
This serum protects skin from free radical damage throughout the day, calms and soothes irritation and gives skin a boost of nutrients. Perfect for any environmental skin aggressors and stressors.
This lightweight aloe-based serum invigorates and rejuvenates tired-looking skin, while giving a boost of hydration, antioxidants, while reducing any irritation or redness. Great for bedtime when your skin does it’s best work at replenishing and repairing.
Eye Serum: morning and night
With coffee bean extract and andiroba oil, this serum treats puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines to rejuvenate and hydrate the tired eye area. Important: do not apply any serums or moisturizers around the eye area unless it is an eye product, as they can cause milia (hardened whiteheads) that are very difficult to remove.
SPF Moisturizer: morning
Use the same moisturizer suggested in The Minimalist regime, because sun protection is an absolute must!
This lightweight, oil-based moisturizer will nourish oily and acne prone skin without it feeling greasy or overhydrated. Also works great for any skin type.
Treatment One: twice a week
This powerhouse treatment works on gently resurfacing skin through glycolic and fruit enzymes to eliminate coarse, uneven texture, fade dark spots, minimize enlarged pores, and support collagen production to reveal your softest, brightest skin. Use this before the face mask, twice a week for best results.
Treatment Two: twice a week
Energizes and rejuvenates tired skin. Use after the glycolic treatment twice a week for best results.
You Can Lead a Horse to Water.
Not every man can be converted. Especially men who are set in their ways or just cannot stick to a regular regime. All we can do is lead the horse to water, we can’t make them drink. But we can try and make it easy for them so that they’ll have no good excuse not to try it.
There are so many new products out there making our lives easier through minimalist formulations and simple applications. So try something new and get the men in your life onto some good skincare habits that will help them age as gracefully as you.
Emma Masotti is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.
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