Though skin care aisles and advertisements might make it seem that women are the only ones concerned about skin care, that is clearly not the case. Between shaving, acne, dark circles, breakouts, sun damage, dryness and irritation, guys deal with just as many issues as women, so finding the right skin care products to address all their various needs and concerns is essential.
When asked what steps men should absolutely have in their skin care routine, Dr. Michele Green, a New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist whose practice caters specifically to men’s dermatology treatments, explains that understanding your skin type is vital to picking the right products and routine. For example, men with oilier skin won’t necessarily opt for the same products as those with combination or dry skin, and for men who shave, she emphasizes the importance of proper shave care to prevent things like razor burn and ingrowns.
Once those basics are covered, men can venture into more specific products to treat specific skin care concerns. We’re talking everything from retinol, moisturizing serums, eye creams and anti-aging products to treating hyperpigmentation, or even other cosmetic procedures like facials or chemical peels to achieve amazing results. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re getting started, so with help from Dr. Green and two men’s skin care experts, we’ve rounded up some of their favorite and top-rated men’s skin care products.
Michael Bruce is a Brooklyn-based skin care blogger at @blkamericano, who got into skin care and makeup about 10 years ago as a hobby to help his issues with acne and dark spots. He has dry but not sensitive skin, so he typically opts for thicker and hydrating products. Meanwhile, Bart Kaczanowicz is a New York and Connecticut-based skin care influencer at @omgbart, where he shares his product knowledge and skin care recommendations with his over 31,000 followers. He shares that he has combination skin and is 40 now, so he focuses on eliminating large pores, brightening, anti-aging and using oil-free products during the day.
Keep in mind that these product recommendations are in no way just for men, but what our experts have seen works for clients or their own skin care routines. Continue reading to discover some new products to help improve your routine.
Best facial cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($15.99; amazon.com)
CeraVe is one of the most well-known brands for effective and affordable skin care, so it’s no secret that this is one of Green’s favorites. She recommends it because it’s safe for all skin types and is packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides and humectants to clean even sensitive skin.
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser (starting at $5.49; amazon.com)
Neutrogena is another skin care brand you’ve probably grown to know and love. Bruce recommends sticking to brands you know if you’re new to the skin care world until you get more comfortable. According to him, this gentle, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic cleanser is a great option for those who might have skin sensitivity.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash ($38; sephora.com)
Kaczanowicz loves this exfoliating face wash by Kate Somerville and uses it once a day. The cleanser contains AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, which essentially are a gentle way to remove dead skin cells and help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Dermalogica Precleanse Cleansing Oil (starting at $13.50; sephora.com)
Both Kaczanowicz and Bruce use a double cleansing method to achieve ultra-clean skin. If you’re looking to remove extra gunk from your face or don’t feel clean enough from just one pass with face wash, add a cleansing balm or oil to your routine. This cleansing oil from Dermalogica is a popular option for removing buildup, and it even comes in a mini size for less than $15 if you want to test it out first.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light SPF 60 Sunscreen ($29.99; amazon.com)
Green loves this sunscreen for everyday wear. It contains Cell Ox Shield, which is composed of five ingredients that provide maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, she says.
Glossier Invisible Shield ($25; glossier.com)
For people of color, finding a sunscreen that doesn’t make them look chalky is a complicated task. Glossier’s Invisible Shield sunscreen is one of our favorites, specifically for darker skin tones, because it goes on as a transparent water-gel formula that feels lightweight, minus the white cast. Plus, it’s SPF 35, so you’re getting the sun protection you crave.
In order to get the most effective protection with sunscreen, it is often recommended to reapply sunscreen to your face throughout the day. That can seem like such a hassle if you’re on the go or wearing any kind of makeup. Bruce’s secret is carrying around this setting sunscreen mist by Supergoop!. He carries this mini size in his bag to reapply his SPF no matter what his day has in store ahead of him.
Best chemical exfoliator
Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial ($80; sephora.com)
Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial is known to be practically a facial in a bottle, made to deliver baby-smooth skin. “This product is effective yet gentle and can be used on all skin types except those with sensitivities to AHA and BHA,” explains Green. As opposed to AHAs, BHAs are beta hydroxy acids, which are known to get deep into pores to remove dirt, and are typically used to soothe acne, redness and sunburn. Overall, this helps to minimize your pores and soften your skin.
Biologique Recherche P50 Original 1970 (price varies; shoprescuespa.com)
This exfoliating toner is one of the most popular on the market to exfoliate, hydrate and balance the skin’s pH. Though this is a powerful toner, Kaczanowicz himself uses this product every other day. If cost isn’t a factor to you, this is a product industry experts swear by for real results.
Best eye cream
Olay Brightening Eye Cream ($21.99, originally $24.99; amazon.com)
Containing vitamin C, vitamin B3 and caffeine, this eye cream works to help make the under-eye look more youthful. Green shares that those three ingredients combined help to plump, brighten the skin, reduce discoloration and soften fine lines.
RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream ($17.94, originally $19.99; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for another way to get your dose of retinol at night, Green recommends this eye cream. She says, “It contains retinol, which works on a more cellular level to repair and restore the skin under the eyes as you sleep. The brand created this to visibly reduce three signs of aging: puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles.”
Best lip balm
Burt’s Bees Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm ($9.02; amazon.com)
It’s important to remember that lip care is just as important as overall skin care. Burt’s Bees lip balm is a classic all-natural option that’s affordable for most budgets. The balm contains beeswax, vitamin E and a hint of peppermint oil to nourish dry lips.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask ($22; sephora.com)
This cult-favorite lip sleeping mask is a must-have for overnight hydration. “Lips are naturally prone to being chapped due to exposure to environmental elements and saliva that contains alpha-amylase,” says Green. She recommends this because it has antioxidants and hyaluronic acid to restore dry, chapped lips as you sleep.
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 ($8; sephora.com)
Both Green and Bruce love this intense therapy balm from Jack Black. “It is enriched with shea butter and avocado oil and can be reapplied all day for smooth, hydrated lips,” says Dr. Green. Better yet, it even contains SPF 25 to provide extra sun protection.
Best serums and toners
MG Skin Labs Vita-C Serum ($85; michelegreenmd.com)
According to Green, vitamin C is the ultimate anti-aging solution for skin that’s beginning to exhibit changes in texture, color and tone. However, finding the perfect vitamin C for your issues can be difficult. If you’re looking for a dermatologist-created vitamin C serum to help with brown or red spots and fine lines, this one from Green’s line is worth a shot.
Glossier Super Bounce ($28; glossier.com)
Green also recommends Glossier’s Super Bounce serum for all skin types, as it’s lightweight and formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. Both of these together can help smooth the skin’s surface and promote hydration that will last.
Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum ($64; sephora.com)
Summer Fridays, the Instagram-favorite brand known for its line of masks, recently came out with this vitamin C serum that people can’t get enough of. It not only contains the vitamin to help combat hyperpigmentation and brighten skin, but also squalene and peptides to promote glowing, firm skin.
Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum ($15.98; target.com)
Kaczanowicz also recommends this clarifying toner and serum by Bliss as another great toner option. The magic ingredient in this formula is witch hazel, which Green advises to use to soothe skin and reduce any irritation. If you’re looking to add a toner or serum to your routine, remember to apply them after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Night Moisturizer ($15.96, originally $21.99; amazon.com)
Kaczanowicz stresses the importance of incorporating anti-aging products at night if you can, typically opting for something with retinol. Dr. Green recommends this anti-wrinkle moisturizer from Neutrogena. Containing retinol, vitamin E, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and shea butter, it’s formulated to reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots and wrinkles.
CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin ($15.48; amazon.com)
If you often have acne, this CeraVe cream might be a good option for you, as it has salicylic acid and lactic acid, which are known to improve skin texture.
Best shave care
Philips Norelco OneBlade ($34.95; amazon.com)
Bruce opts to keep some stubble versus completely shaving his facial hair. For that perfect stubble, he loves this razor from Philips because it doesn’t cut too close. Because the hair stays above the skin for stubble, he notes that he can use it wet or dry, so he doesn’t always need shaving cream. The electric razor has generated over 17,000 reviews on Amazon for its ability to trim, edge and shape any hair length.
Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel ($3.49; amazon.com)
When using most methods of shaving, shaving cream creates a barrier between the blade and the skin to reduce irritation, razor burn or even cutting yourself. Green advises her patients to not rush when shaving, and to put on the cream to help the skin. She shares that this shave gel from Aveeno is so fantastic that her team used to sample it in her NYC office. It contains oats and vitamin E to help reduce dryness.
Fur Ingrown Eliminator ($18; revolve.com)
One of Bruce’s biggest shaving qualms is dealing with bad ingrowns. Although he says he hasn’t found the perfect solution, he is loving the Ingrown Eliminator by Fur to tackle them. These work as a single-use spot solution wipe that you massage directly onto ingrowns, redness or irritation.
Along with Bruce, many reviewers have said they’ve seen a reduction in their ingrowns quickly after using this treatment -— so much so that they’re sold out at many of the retailers. If you can’t get your hands on these, Kaczanowicz recommends Thayers Witch Hazel Blemish Clearing Pads ($9.99; target.com) to exfoliate the skin as well.
The Art of Shaving After Shave Balm ($38.82; amazon.com)
Green emphasizes the importance of applying something after you shave too, so that the skin can heal. This top-rated aftershave is alcohol-free and goes on smooth, so it will feel refreshing, soft and glowing to round out your routine.