Thursday, October 24, 2013

Skincare basics

Originally, this was going to be a post on Fall/Winter Skincare, since the weather is definitely starting to feel "Fall/Winter", but since we haven't covered skincare before, it seems more appropriate to start with a general guide to skincare routines in general. I didn't start a "proper" skincare regime until my early twenties, and I'm sure there are men out there that haven't put a great deal of thought into what they do, or don't do with their face, so this is a bare-bones guide for men in that position.

Most skincare routines include three major elements: Cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. Men who do not wish to grow a beard also have the task of shaving, which while arguably not an element of skincare, will effect the look, feel and health of your facial skin as much as anything else you do to it. Shaving is the topic of many other posts, so today we'll just look at skincare.

Below are some general pointers on these elements of skincare. In a later post we'll look at different skin types and how you can adapt a regime to suit them. The basics will remain the same for most men though- you want to keep your skin clean, but well moisturized.


eShave's White Tea Face Wash- a gentle option
eShave's White Tea Face Wash- a gentle option

Try to avoid any products that strip away the natural oils of your skin. If you wish to use a soap, ensure it is one formulated for use on the more delicate skin of your face.

A better option than soaps may be a cold cream or similar product which can be applied with the fingers and removed with a moist cotton pad- taking dirt with it.

You may actually find that just using water and gently scrubbing with clean hands will be sufficient. This is especially true if you wet shave, as the action of lathering up your face will effectively clean it anyway.

Cleanse at the end of the day, as this is when your skin will have accumulated dirt. Provided you sleep on clean pillows the only thing you will remove by cleansing your face in the morning are the natural oils your skin produced overnight.

Taylor of Old Bond Street Facial Scrub
Taylor of Old Bond Street Facial Scrub

Exfoliating is not necessary for everyone- if you don't feel that it makes a positive difference for you, you don't have to do it.

The action of a shaving brush is very mildly exfoliating, especially with boar or the cheaper grades of badger hair- regularly shaving may be all the exfoliation your beard area needs.

Do not exfoliate more than once or twice a week unless you are using an exceptionally gentle product, such as eShave's White Tea face scrub.

For the same reason as with cleansing, it is best to exfoliate at the end of the day rather than the beginning. It is not recommended to exfoliate just before or just after shaving, as this may lead to irritation.

D.R Harris Almond Oil Skinfood
D.R Harris Almond Oil Skinfood

Moisturizing is probably the most important part of any skincare regime, and the only one I regard as completely essential (not that I'd advocate never washing your face, but when I travel, I often "cleanse" my face with nothing more exotic than clean hands and a splash of water).

Moisturizing is less important if you have oily skin, but it is still recommended- though you will likely want to use a lighter product.

While it is best to cleanse at the end of the day, the time of day you choose to moisturize is less important. I personally apply moisturizer after shaving, which I typically do in the morning.

Moisturizers are a very personal thing- even two people with ostensibly similar skin types may have different preferences, and you may want to experiment with heavier or lighter ones depending on your skin type. Generally, you want to choose a moisturizer that includes lighter essential oils like almond oil (almond oil is similar in consistency to the skin's natural oils, and is one of the best that you can put on your skin). Mineral oils and silicone tend to sit on the skin rather than to be absorbed and used, so while they may leave your skin feeling smooth, they have less benefit.