Skincare! It’s a thing we love, invest in, and like to talk (and argue) about—of course I want to know what you slather on your face every night that makes you glow like Beyoncé the next day. And while most of the people we hear from when it comes to beauty are women, dudes have a lot to say too.
We asked a bunch of guys about their routines. At first responses came in whispers, then in waves. Suddenly, men were divulging face mask schedules, extensive multi-step nighttime routines, exciting product discoveries, and elaborate beard care. It’s as if they had been waiting all along to discuss their lovingly curated rituals at length.
Here, 17 men share their skincare regimens.
Dan Cipriano, 31, Finance
I started getting into skincare at a young age because I had acne. I’m not afraid to admit that I had bad skin. It taught me a lot about myself and helped me recognize other qualities I had, but it also introduced me to a new skin care routine that I stick to today.
I tried anything and everything to fix my skin when I was younger. One day, I decided that all of the chemicals and medications weren’t doing me any good. I went cold turkey on acne medication and face washes. I honestly just started washing my face with warm water and added a very simple face lotion. Maybe I was growing out of my acne from a hormonal standpoint, but I also felt like I wasn’t treating my skin like it was a dirty car that needed to be waxed and polished daily. That really helped.
As my 20’s roared on, I started shaving every other day for exfoliation, and still maintained my simple routine of applying face lotion (I use Men’s Vaseline Extra Strength) post-shave or a warm water wash every morning. As my 30s approached, I introduced eye cream (Naturopathica Vitamin K Brightening Eye Serum) which I use for the dark circles and wrinkles (my wife tells me they’re called crow’s feet). At the end of the day, I keep it simple and believe my skin thanks me for it.
Nick Corpuz, 23, Technology Consultant
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
[I’m] so into skincare—like, obsessed. I had really bad acne when I was a teen. luckily my aunt was a derm tech and she gave me free microdermabrations—I was blessed for that. Now, I break it into shaving days and non shaving days since my skin is always sensitive after shaving.
Every day I’ll use Clinique For Men Face Wash in the morning, then if I shave I’ll use Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio after shave for a nice moisturize and smell. If I’m not shaving I’ll use Lab Series Multi-Action Face Wash for some exfoliation. I usually use Kiehl’s Eye Alert(for the caffeine under eye kick, duh) and Clinique Moisture Surge Intense followed by Aveeno Positively Radiant to keep shining.
I have a dead sea mud mask that I’ll use on the weekends or the “bubble pig mask” [Ed note: it’s called the ELIZAVECCA Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask]. For spot treatment I’ll use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.
I’m sure there’s some stigma with guys and caring for themselves….such a shame. I’ve never understood why you can’t put the macho aside.
Steven Thomas, 33, Academic Operations in Higher Education
I start off with a cleanser to wash off my face. I’m using Origins Checks & Balances Face Washto remove all the dirt and excess oil from the day but I like this product because it doesn’t dry out my face too much and has no extra harsh chemicals. I also like Simple Face Wash which does the same thing and minimal ingredients but a lot cheaper in cost. I also use the Origins Tea Tree Toner which is great after a shave/hair cut. It helps to soothe my irritated skin that occurs after very close skin shaves. Finally, I end it with Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin with SPF 30 or my own homemade moisturizer I developed.
My moisturizer contains key ingredients like Vitamin E and aloe vera which help keep the skin soft and smooth. As a man of color, I used to get light and dark spots all over my face and eventually went to see a dermatologist who recommended using a moisturizer with SPF in it. My own product does not contain SPF, so I dabble in between the two, usually using the Aveeno in the daytime and my own moisturizer in the evening.
Your skin is usually the first thing someone sees besides what you’re wearing. I figure I could always change my clothes but I’ll only have one skin so why not take as much care of it while I can now. Self care is really a part of my lifestyle.
Bryan Lozano, 30, External Affairs
You can’t really avoid aging, but I think after turning 30, I really thought long and hard about preventive care, generally speaking. From there, I think I changed a number of habits and I begun to look into skincare and loved it. At first, it was really just a good way to have a productive habit to help me into my sleeping routine. I got more into it and although I definitely not an expert, I started to add more complex routines.
Mostly, I just stick with Kiehls. I need to definitely venture out more with different products. First, I use the Age Defender Cleanser, Calendula Herbal Extract Toner, and then either and Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado or Midnight Recovery Eye Cream. I also use the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask and Ultra Facial Overnight Hydration Mask three times a week.
Finally—something I’ve always done and loved since I lived in Tokyo—I go to a Korean-style sauna for the sauna and ice room, which is great for the pores. That’s usually once a month. I feel like I definitely have a lot more to learn, but it’s been a cool journey so far.
I think most guys just aren’t aware. I think if they understood more about hydration and preventive care, this would be as natural as doing squats in the gym.
Sean Sweeney, 22, Travel Specialist
I’ve always enjoyed a good skincare routine but I didn’t always place much importance on it. While I definitely sampled a number of products throughout my high school years, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to make a more conscious effort when it came to skincare because honestly, who wants to age poorly?
For my day-to-day use, I opt for Solo Noir’s Facial Care Collection which consists of a 2-in-1 Cleanser + Toner, a facial scrub for exfoliation and a skin conditioner. This product line, which caters to men of color, not only leaves my skin nice and fresh but also does wonders when it comes to beard maintenance.
An old favorite that I also love is Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream which is prefect for after you’ve freshly washed your face or when your face may just need a little pick me up.
When it comes to exfoliating, I do love a good facial mask. My favorite is the Boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask which grabs all of those pesky blackheads in one pull. I typically aim to do this at least twice a month to maintain clean pores.
Dan Tannenbaum, 29, MD
Your face is the first thing someone sees when you walk into a room. This is especially important in my field as first impressions can really impact the physician-patient relationship. Skincare can be just as important as wearing a nice shirt-and-tie and a clean white coat.
It took me until deep into my 20s to learn how to shave without getting red irritated bumps afterwards. I use the Nivea Post-Shave Balm for Sensitive Skin because of the cool refreshing sensation it gives and the noticeable difference it makes in soothing my skin.
Regarding face wash and moisturizer: I have sensitive skin and am prone to allergic reaction that causes itching along the hairline, similar to environmental allergies. I use products by Vanicream (for example, Gentle Facial Cleanser and moisturizer) as they are made without soap, allergens or dyes.
Lenny Simon, 40, Video Game Industry Exec
I’m not sure that I’m “into” skincare. But, there definitely was a point at which I went from not thinking about it at all to making it part of my daily routine. In my early 20s, I began using moisturizer for my face, but that was it. Now, I use more stuff, mainly for my beard—I’m absolutely into beardcare.
I’ve had the beard for years, but I didn’t really pay attention to caring for it until a couple of years ago when I grew it much longer. I use the beard oil every day after I shower. You just take a little bit and like really rub it in all the way to the roots as best you can. It keeps it soft and smells great. I use the beard wash rarely, like maybe every couple of weeks. It works basically just like shampoo, but for your face.
Christopher Reyes, 26, Nurse
I started getting into skin care about six months ago. My fiancé started really getting into her skin care regimen and it made me re-think how important it is to take care of your skin. I would be laying bed next to her and she would be watching all of these videos about different products and regimens. One day, I paid attention to one of the videos and it sparked my interest. I then asked what products would be good for men and it took off from there. She gave me one of her Glossier bottles and I got started.
I use the Clarisonic brush—I just think it helps get a deep clean. My skin can get oily so I think this helps get the dirt out. I use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser twice a day, mainly because my fiancé uses it and because she bought it for me. I exfoliate with a Neutrogena Charcoal scrub three times a week.
I saw a video about Pharrell speaking about his skincare and he says that he “exfoliates like a madman” so I figured that would be a good idea. The guy looks like he doesn’t age. I chose the scrub based on a YouTube reviewer.
Lastly, I use Aveeno Moisturizer and Neutrogena Toner. I think it’s funny how men will put all of this care into their beards but won’t do the same for their face because they feel that it’s feminine to do so.
Alex Sweterlitsch, 28, Photographer
I’ve always had pretty low maintenance skin (I wash with soap and water and that’s it), but I wanted to take better care of myself without using too many products.
For my skin post-shower, I have a spray bottle of Aura Cacia Essential Rose Oil Absolute and purified water that I mist with. I put two to three additional drops into my palm and put on my skin. About once a week I’ll do the Dr. Dennis Gross Skinare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (especially in the winter I like to limit this). I wear makeup as well and to remove that I cleanse with La Roche Posay Effaclar and then repeat the rose oil on my skin before bed.
Ian Charles Garner, 24, Grad Student
I had very bad acne throughout high school, but then again, what teen hasn’t? When the issue persisted into college I decided it was time to see a dermatologist. While he only prescribed a pill (Doxycycline Hyclate, to be exact) and instructed me to wash and moisturize with oil free solutions, I felt like there was more I could be doing, especially to address specific concerns. So, I went to my local Sephora and dove into the world of skincare and I’ve been figuring out what works and doesn’t work for me ever since.
I discover a lot of my products through social media. I’m on my phone virtually 24/7 so a well done Instagram campaign is incredibly likely to get my attention (which is something Glossier is VERY good at). For example, the second I found out Beyoncé and I use the same lip balm, I vowed I’d never buy a different one ever again. I also like to survey Twitter about what people are (and aren’t) using because you’ll get very honest reviews in 280 characters or less.
I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil Free Cleanser, Son & Park Beauty Water, in the AM Glossier Super Pure, and in the PM, as needed, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Other products in my routine include:First Aid Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer, Jack Black Sun Guard SPF 45, Glossier Balm Dotcom, Black Orchid Beauty Eucalyptus Sandalwood Beard Oil, Prospector Co. Wormwood Absinthium Hand and Body Cream, and two to three times a month I’ll do a Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Mask.
While there are all these skincare fads and trends, I try to remind myself that our largest organ is skin and it should be treated with the same care we treat our hearts and livers. Really skincare is just another form of health care and everyone should have a routine of some sort that fits within their means of living. It’s also just sometimes about how it makes me feel regardless of what it does to my skin. The act of steaming up my little closet-sized LA bathroom and lathering on a face mask with a foundation brush makes me feel like I’m pampering myself at a spa and as a perpetually stressed out grad student I will take any chance I get to indulge.
Victor Li, 25, Bartender
I started out of necessity. My skin was constantly too dry and crusty in certain areas. I just started to build from there based on what I need. To start, I use St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub in the shower (currently trying their Green Tea Scrub), then use Nivea Soft Creamfor my face. I first discovered Nivea through my sister years ago and she kind of put me on to the whole skincare thing.
I apply Blistex for lips but recently have been using dabs of Aquaphor for my lips and my eyes—I discovered it on the recommendation of a tattoo artist and have found it is literally the fountain of youth so I use it for everything. All other products I usually find just by browsing a Rite Aid or something until something catches my eye.
The amount of guys I know that need to start moisturizing is staggering. My routine makes me feel wonderful. I always feel so refreshed after taking a shower and going through my full skin routine.
Justin Simpao, 26, Medical Case Manager
I started skincare because I have this weird fear of getting older. So, I went on YouTube and looked up people’s skincare routines and I was like, ‘I should probably start this.’ I went to Sephora, Aveda, Kiehl’s, and Ulta and picked up a bunch of stuff to try to see what works for me.
I use Mario Bedescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel in the morning to clean my face off because I’m a huge drooler in my sleep so that gets all the nasties off. Then, I follow that up with an Aveda Toner. I like it because it smells like dandelions. I put on a Kiehl’s moisturizer with SPF 30. In the evenings my skin care routine is like the mornings but I usually put on a hydrating overnight cream instead of an SPF moisturizer.
I never leave the house without SPF because the sun really damages and ages you, and I want to look 21 forever. My last step is my eye cream. I use Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. It hydrates the areas around the eyes so I don’t look as tired.
Once or twice a week, I’ll do a face mask. I have a bunch so I flip flop between the different ones depending on how my skin is acting that week. I like the Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask from Kiehl’s. It exfoliates as well when you rub it in there.
Joey Skladany, 30, Writer/Editor
My mom is a licensed esthetician, but my skincare regimen was essentially nonexistent. My idea of skincare was washing my face in the shower at night and praying I looked cute in the morning. Now that I’m 30, I’ve adopted a routine that works for me. Here’s the breakdown.
I don’t have the time or patience to plug in a Clarisonic and exfoliate, so I opt for a product like Jack Black’s Face Buff to simultaneously scrub and wash away the impurities before bedtime. I love the scent, but most importantly, I love how soft my skin feels after I use it. Jack Black also makes an amazing line of lip balms, which I carry with me wherever I go.
A lot of guys ditch toners because they either don’t know what they do or fear that they will dry out their skin. I never have the latter problem, but use an alcohol-free toner from Kiehl’s (cucumber-scented) just in case. This is the best skin tightening solution I can find and is the perfect second step after washing your face or shaving.
My skin is Jersey Shore-level greasy. Like, I’m literally using a Clean & Clear oil absorbing sheet by noon and it can turn completely translucent with just one swipe across my forehead. Every single moisturizer gave me adult acne, which is never a cute look, until I found Osea’s Blemish Balm. When it comes to keeping my skin in check, tea tree oil always works wonders and this lightweight vegan formula, which also contains rosemary and juniper, is one of my favorites.
I used to work for a media company that managed a style and beauty site and was gifted this tiny jar of Lancome Absolue Eye Cream. My eyes are the first part of my face to show age, so I was stunned when I saw how much it smoothed the crow’s feet and lightened the dark circles. I was also stunned to see the $110 price tag, but hey, nobody said maintaining my youth was cheap.
I’m a bit old school when it comes to breakouts and always rely on my Clearasil Tinted Acne Cream for emergency situations. The consistency is thick and it dries like a paste, so I love to cake it on pesky pimples, wear it to bed, and wake up with acne that’s reduced in size and redness.
Tyler Coates, 34, Esquire.com Senior Culture Editor
After spending a decade washing my face with a variety of crappy face washes that promised clear skin and a radiant glow, I finally went to a dermatologist who informed me that I have rosacea and then prescribed me a fairly expensive face wash that doesn’t have a name (it’s a generic, and yet still $95) other than the complicated Sodium Sulfacetamide 9% & Sulfur 4.5% Wash. Because it is a sulfa drug, it smells like egg—an indignity I have gotten used to, even if I sometimes forget to actually wash my face with it.
After a gentle scrub with the beige, eggy substance, I moisturize with either Kiehl’s Facial Fuel (the kind without an SPF, because that version is a little thicker and smells, oddly, like my mother’s garden) or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. The latter is a recent purchase, and I like it because it is, as advertised, oil-free and gel-like—it feels like I merely spritzed my face with water.
In the daytime, I’ll finish with Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. At night, I’ll switch this out with yet another Kiehl’s product: Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I’ll apply a few drops on my forehead and rub my face. I have not noticed any reduced lines, not do I wake up every morning looking suddenly “recovered,” but both of these products make my skin feel nice (the line-reducing concentrate, in particular, gives my skin a tougher texture) and they smell good—the latter being my major concern when it comes to skin care products.
Steven Pantaleon, 30, Retail Management
I started getting into skincare around 13. My cousin who was two years older started using cleanser and I wanted to be just as cool as her, so I used to steal her cleanser when I slept over even though I didn’t need it at the time.
Most of the products I use are picked because of the active ingredients. I use Kiehl’s Calendula Face Wash to wash my skin and Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Toner to take away any dirt/soap left on the surface of my skin.
Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence I use first before anything else — I like to think of it as my skincare primer. I’ll pat it all over my face and neck for hydration. Then I’ll spread a pump of the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Firma Day Serum on my hands and evenly patting on my face concentrating on my cheeks and outer eye area. I like Vitamin C to keep my skin tone more even and smooth. Then, I’ll gently pat my 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream using my ring fingers. I’m starting to see my eye bags are more noticeable when I don’t get enough sleep or have a really late night so anything to help with my puffy dark eyes is a must. I mix my DTRT Skin Saver Ceramidin Cream with a drop of lavender oil and put that on last. The scent helps me start/end my day in a relaxed state while still helping my skin look hydrated and recover from days I do shave.
Omari Allen, 25, Digital Marketer
I use Neutrogena for Men Invigorating Face Wash, sometimes I’ll use the Dollar Shave Club Wanderer Hydrating Face Cleaner instead. My daily moisturizer is Men Triple Protect Face Lotion with SPF 20 — breaks me out the least. I do a weekly mask with Kyoku for Men Lava Masque. And, if shaving products count, Dollar Shave Club Easy Shave Butter and Givenchy Pi Aftershave.
I mostly find products through trial and error. The Dollar Shave Club products were just convenient because I already get my razors from them so it’s easy to just add to the shipment. Givenchy Pi has been my signature scent for cologne for years. The face masque I remember digging through Amazon reviews. I think I was looking for that crazy Korean black mask but it was too expensive and found it Kyoku instead for much cheaper.
I’ve always cared about overall skincare but I think I started having particular product affinities after graduating college—when I had the money and time to care more about my image.
Evan Hyde, 32, Carpenter
I’ve noticed guys are are reluctant talking about skin care routines until I tell them that, though I recently quit, I smoked for 16 years and they always comment about how it doesn’t show. I tell them it’s because I moisturize. They always think I’m joking…but I never joke about my skin care routine!
I always dabbled here and there with skin care since puberty. I started with Oxypads when I was 14, that was the craze of the 90’s, but I would just wipe my face and that was it. I fucked around with Proactiv when I was 17 and that was when I found out that toner was too aggressive for my sensitive skin so I just used the wash and moisturizer. I sort of played around with fad face washes until I was around 25 when my mom started telling me about better skin care techniques and products. I would steal her La Mer moisturizer and face wash. I would sample a mask here and there, but this was all still experimenting with no concrete regimen.
It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I nailed my routine. I also have a more pointed experimentation with new products. This is my routine: In the morning, I use St.Ive’s Apricot Scrub. Sometimes I’ll swap this out for my RoC exfoliant brush. Cerave Foaming Face Wash, Cerave Eye Cream, then Cerave AM Facial Moisturizer SPF 15.
Once in a while I’ll try out a moisturizing mask. I stay away from toners because they unbalance my sensitive skin and I produce mad amounts of oil. LOTS OF WATER TOO.
I do all this because it makes me feel good. I feel confident when my skin is clear, especially as a carpenter who is dirty most of the time it feels good to have something that makes me feel attractive. It sounds vain but it feels good to take care of yourself.