I had a wake-up call.

A few months ago while visiting my parents, I noticed something about my Dad that never clicked with me before.

He was looking old. Really old. Especially his skin.

I know my Dad isn’t a man with a skincare regimen outside bar soap. Just like my Dad, when it came to taking care of my face, I never gave bar soap a second thought.

The scary part was people often tell me how much I looked like my father when he was younger.

And if I didn’t change this, my skin’s heading for the same fate.

WHY SKINCARE ADVICE OUT THERE FOR MEN SUCKS

My problem with most online guides for skincare routines?

  1. Written for women with strong emphasis on factoring in makeup or…
  2. They’re just way too complicated.

I know I’m not going to do something that requires 7 products, 14 steps, and an hour every night.

Heyday Nomad

Luckily my friend Megan over at Style Girlfriend put me in contact with HeyDay, a boutique skincare shop here in NYC where I was set up with a specialist for my first ever facial.

I took this opportunity to I drill my facialist, Suzanne, asking her the most beginner questions that guys like me would want to know. From what makes skin oily, to what’s the point of serum, and just what the hell does toner do.

Not only was she patient, but she also worked with me in crafting an ultra-minimalist, simple skincare routine.

I’ve been using this 3-step routine for the past few months now with excellent results, and today I’m excited to share it with you.

WASH. TONE. PROTECT

#1 WASH YOUR FACE WITH A GENTLE SOAP

The first step, of course, is to remove all the dirt, grime, and junk from your face.

My mistake was using your standard drugstore bar soap.

Why is this bad for you? Well, it’s too good at what it does: bar soap removes so much oil from your skin it dries it out.

Unfortunately, when you strip your skin of too much oil to dry it out, your body freaks the hell out. It hydrates your skin the only way it knows how, by producing oil.

When that happens, you’ll probably do what I did: think that you have really oily skin and use even more soap. This makes things much worse and what eventually leads to dreaded breakouts.

What to do: Use a gentle, hydrating soap designed for washing your face.

When to do it: At minimum, in the morning. Optionally, rewash your face at night before bed.

What I like to use: Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash, $28 via Amazon

#2 RE-ADJUST YOUR PH WITH A TONER

Just what the hell is pH? Our skin has a thin layer called the acid mantle which acts “as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin.” pH is simply a scale that is used to measure how “effective” your acid mantle is.

In simple terms, when you wash your skin, you’re also washing off some goodness, throwing off your pH, leaving you open to harsh external elements.

Toner will help rebalance the pH levels of your skin, which is why you want to use it after washing your face even with the most gentle cleaners.

What to do: After washing your face with a cleanser, pat dry, then spray your face evenly with toner. (If your toner doesn’t have a spray nozzle, apply with a cotton ball/pad)

Let air dry before applying anything after it.

What I like to use: Ursa Major 4-in-1 Face Tonic, $26 via Amazon

#3 MOISTURIZE AND PROTECT WITH A SUNSCREEN

Even though you used a gentle cleanser, your skin is still going to be a bit dry. Moisturizing lets your skin know it’s hydrated and won’t need to produce any excess oil.

We also want to protect our skin too primarily from harmful sun rays. Skincare specialists say if there’s one thing you do, it’s to wear sunscreen.

I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to keep this routine as minimal as possible. The less I have to buy and use the better. That’s why we’re going to kill two birds with one stone and use a sunscreen that also moisturizes.

What to do: “Use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF but no more than 50.” Says Dr. Steven Q. Wang, a board-certified dermatologist and Head of the Dermatology Section at Memorial Sloan Kettering Basking Ridge. Anything higher doesn’t offer much more significant protection.

When to do it: After the toner is air dried.

What I like to use: In this case, I have one rec, and it’s IMAGE Skincare Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturizer SPF 32+

I can’t say enough how much I love this one.

It goes on matte and has a pleasant subtle smell and moisturizes. It also contains both zinc oxide and titanium oxide which “[turn] your face into a mirror against the sun’s rays and works the instant it’s applied, unlike a chemical sunscreen which takes 15-20 minutes to be ready to protect you.” according to the experts at Heyday.

WHAT’S YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE NOW?

Are you ahead the game and have a great rec for cleansers, toners, or sunscreen?

Got any additional recs to take this routine to the next level?

I’d love to hear how you’re keeping your skin looking good in the comments below.

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here