Product watch: Skincare products for men




At long last men are realising the importance of a skincare regime. Rachel Marie Walsh has the lowdown on the products for every skin type.

Why do I need a skincare regime? 

Taking proper, regular care of your skin makes it look clearer and younger. The benefits are psychological and social, as well as physical. Daily use of a well-formulated SPF goes a long way towards preventing skin cancer.

Do I need to spend as much time on my skin as my girlfriend does? 

Your skincare needs aren’t so different from hers. There are some physiological differences, such as your larger oil and sweat glands, greater collagen density and ability to take part in “Movember”. These are the result of hormonal differences but they do not change basic skincare needs. Formulas that  cleanse, hydrate, protect against UV rays, reduce or prevent wrinkles, shrink pores and clear acne will help both sexes.

I should be able to get what I need from any men’s skincare range, right? 

You should but rarely can! In researching this page, I was very disappointed by the generous use of alcohol, sensitising preservatives and irritating essential oils and plant extracts by most popular men’s skincare brands. This is not to say  all women’s skincare is superior but men get a disproportionate amount of nasties marketed their way, using words like “power”, “extra-strength” and “fighter”.

Do men really believe a product that doesn’t make their face burn isn’t working? 

Just because skin does not have a surface reaction to an irritating product doesn’t mean it’s okay underneath, which is why it’s so important to check what’s in your skincare. Irritants can cause a lot of deep-down damage, such as destroying collagen, mutating cells, exacerbating oily skin and enlarging pores. Well-formulated women’s or unisex skincare that suits your skin-type works just as well (and frequently better) than the “for men” alternative.

How do I recognise my skin type? 

Combination skin is oily in places (usually on and around the nose) and normal or dry elsewhere. Oily skin is prone to spots, blackheads, large pores and shine. Dry skin can be red or flaky and often has fine lines caused by dehydration, not aging. Sensitive skin is frustrating because it reacts well to so few products. It is especially prone to redness, irritation and atopic skin disorders.

Which products are best? 

Read ingredient lists. Avoid irritating essential oils/plant extracts and harmful alcohols/preservatives (search ingredient info at cosmeticsinfo.org or ewg.org) Choose products with very slight or no fragrance. Start your morning and evening regime with a gentle liquid cleanser.

For sensitive skin, try Clinique Extra Mild Liquid Facial Soap,€20, (1) and the moisturiser Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF 15, €20.50  (2).

Oily types can cleanse with Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Water, €20  (3).

Contrary to popular belief, men with oily skin don’t need a cleansing scrub, one product I feel men who shave daily (removing dead skin in the process) shouldn’t use.

Avoid blackheads and blemishes (which can’t be scrubbed off anyway) with a salicylic-acid face cream, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar DUO, €17.25  (4).

You must wear an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) moisturiser, such as Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Base SPF25, €20.59  (5), over this in the daytime.

SPF cream may seem unnecessary in Ireland, but if you are serious about preventing wrinkles, sagging and age spots, it’s important to use it all over the face. No matter your skin type, UV radiation is its greatest threat.

You can save time and money by using a protective moisturiser.

For an extra anti-aging boost, apply a serum packed with antioxidants and collagen-boosters, such as Lab Series Skincare for Men Max LS Overnight Renewal Serum, €52, before your moisturiser.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, €17.50  (6), suits dry skin.

Supermodel Dave Gandy has dry skin and massages his face with emollient oil before bed.

Fushi Evening Primrose Oil, €12.60, has no nasties (or just puncture a couple of Seven Seas capsules of the stuff). For day, Olay Regenerist SPF30 Flawless Skin Cream, €28.19, keeps skin hydrated.

Combination skin will benefit from Bioré Combination Skin Balancing Cleanser, €7.49  (7), and Lab Series Skincare for Men Daily Moisture Defence Lotion SPF15, €40   (8).

SHAVE SMART 

You spend 60 hours a year shaving and will remove about 27 feet of facial hair in your lifetime. It’s an art worth perfecting.

* The best time for a shave is post-shower. Moisten the skin with warm water and use a fragrance-free shaving gel (the occlusive texture of gel is best suited to stiff hair), such as Clinique M Shave Aloe Gel, €15 (left).

* Massage the hair in upward, circular motions to prepare the skin. Shave using single strokes in the direction of hair growth, gliding from temples to mouth and from chin to neck.

* Moisturise the skin well with a fragrance-free, skin-type appropriate product. Before a night out, Geo F Trumper Fragrance-Free Moisturiser, €26.85 (right) at mankind.co.uk, makes skin silky smooth.


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