Note: At a minimum, an ideal skincare routine should include a cleanser, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. That said, any of the other picks we’ve included are nice add-ons for troubleshooting specific issues like acne or angry ingrowns caused by shaving, so pick and choose from the guide below, keeping in mind that the best skincare routine is a consistent one. (Translation: Start with a few products he’ll actually stick to using daily.)
The Best Skincare for Men, Whether He's New to the Idea or Wants to Perfect His 10-Step Routine
The Best Skincare For Men At A Glance
- Best Face Wash: Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser
- Best Moisturizer: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
- Best Sunscreen: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
- Best Exfoliator: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
- Best Eye Cream: Every Man Jack Triple Action Eye Cream
- Best Lip Balm: Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1
- Best Retinol: Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3
- Best Aftershave: Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Skin Care Set
A Beginner’s Skincare Routine
- Why We Love It: Multipurpose, deeply cleansing
This two-in-one facial cleanser and toner gets deep into his pores for a thorough wash, using aloe to calm skin and antibacterial sage leaf to flush out dead skin and dirt from pores. Get the 16-ounce soap dispenser size for easy application (consider it one less barrier to entry).
First Aid Beauty
- Why We Love It: Rich formula, has soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and ceramides
If he’s trying to keep his complexion free of dry patches this winter (and really, who isn’t?), moisturizing with a regular lotion simply won’t cut it. Instead, point him towards this ultra-rich cream that is clinically proven to quench thirsty, sensitized skin. With colloidal oatmeal, ceramides and glycerin, it provides immediate relief for parched skin and has no noticeable scent to it.
- Why We Love It: Absorbs quickly, no white cast
This gel formula is the only sunscreen we can get our dad to wear before his tennis games, thanks to the way it absorbs quickly, leaving behind a matte, never shiny finish. The translucent formula requires zero rubbing to blend in, also making it a solid choice for deeper skin tones.
Intermediate Skincare Routine: Add-Ons
- Why We Love It: Easy to use, quells inflammation
Regular exfoliation is key for maintaining clear, healthy skin, so convince him to add this chemical exfoliant to the mix. Chances are that if he has a bump—whether it’s a whitehead, a blackhead, or just your run-of-the-mill pimple—this liquid exfoliant can help. Made with a combo of salicylic acid and green tea leaf extract, it clears pores while soothing any inflammation.
Every Man Jack
- Why We Love It: Affordable price point, has a creamy, yet lightweight consistency
This eye cream is perfect for making him look more awake (yep, even if he was up all night playing Minecraft). It’s got vitamins and antioxidants that lessen the appearance of dark circles, Myrtus leaf extract to reduce the appearance of fine lines and add elasticity, green tea extract to soothe winter-weary skin, and aloe and cocoa butter to hydrate. Basically, this one small tube does it all.
- Why We Love It: Has a thick texture that's ideal for chapped lips
Our very own ONE37pm editor called this “the best lip balm, hands down.” Since it’s winter, make sure he gives his dry lips some love with this unscented best-selling formula that’s been a Kiehl’s staple for more than 50 years. (Ya know, instead of borrowing your $25 tube every time he feels chapped.)
Advanced Skincare Routine: Deluxe Add-Ons
- Why We Love It: Features proven, well-tolerated ingredients
As one of the most studied and oft touted ingredients by dermatologists, retinol has a reputation of being “the gold standard of anti-aging” because of its ability to tackle a wide range of skin concerns, from acne to fine lines and collagen breakdown. Made with 0.3 percent pure encapsulated retinol, this formula is ideal for first-time retinol users (and those with sensitive skin) thanks to its addition of soothing bisabolol, which helps minimize irritation. Start by using it once to twice a week and gradually increase use as skin gets acclimated.
- Why We Love It: Two-for-one deal, lessens irritation
It's very common for men to irritate their skin when shaving, so give him a few pointers to ease the process like soaking the area that will be shaved beforehand to soften the hairs, then applying a generous amount of shaving cream to prevent any friction while shaving, which can damage the skin barrier and cause irritation, nicks or ingrown hairs. Finish with a calming aftershave to soothe angry skin and replenish any lost moisture for the smoothest results. (Psst, this set from Nivea comes with both a shaving cream and a post-shave balm.)
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