Many men are intimidated by the idea of having a skincare routine. It could be because you’ve heard of the notorious 10-step Korean skincare routine and can’t imagine taking up something so tedious or perhaps because you can’t tell a serum from a moisturiser to save your life.
However, building a men’s skincare routine that caters to your skin concerns is important because you can truly see the difference when you nail it – and it doesn’t have to be complex!
Because you start building your skincare routine for men, identify your skin type first. The common skin types are: normal, dry, oily, and combination.
Many men suffer from oily skin because hormones have made men’s skin (literally) thicker and oilier than that of women’s. Read on if you want to learn how to build a men’s skincare routine for oily skin. The good news: it only takes five easy steps for you to achieve shine-free complexion that looks healthy!
Can men use women’s skincare products?
Yes, you definitely can. Very often, “men’s skincare products” don’t differ very much from women’s products besides the superficial traits such as their scent, texture, or sensation. In other words, while men’s skincare products are generally created to cater to typical men’s skincare concerns such as oiliness, they don’t have much difference apart from how they look and feel.
Of course, if you’re very uncomfortable with using a pink jar of moisturiser or to use a product with floral scent, then go ahead and look out for men-specific products instead; they typically smell like menthol or your cologne.
Step 1: Cleanser
Cleansing is very important because it gets rid of excess sebum, impurities, and pollutants that are accumulated on your skin.
If your question is: I wash with water, is that good enough? The answer is: no.
This is because facial cleansers are designed to break down oils and impurities that water isn’t able to do. Using a proper cleanser can make a huge difference to how oily skin feel compared to simply washing with water.
There are many different types of cleansers in the market and we suggest that you go for a foam cleanser.
These usually come in the form of a cream or gel that will turn into foam once you lather it with water.
The foamy texture is often what people enjoy most about foam cleansers. The foam is able to penetrate into pores to get rid of excess sebum and impurities lodged in there. However, note that some cleansers, especially those that are formulated with Sodum Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) to create the foaming effect, can be drying on skin. So try to avoid these ones.
You should experience the feeling of cleansed skin that feels soft, supple, and hydrated, and not “tight” or “squeaky-clean” after you rinse off the foam.
Men’s skincare routine for oily skin: Cleansers to try
Belif Pore Cleaner Foam Cleanser
This is SLS-free cleanser offers a whipped cream-like texture that foams up easily.
Formulated with dandelion root extract and a unique sebum control herb complex, this cleanser helps reduce skin inflammation to keep acne at bay while providing hydration to your skin.
Retails for US$20 (~S$26.50)
Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Gel Cleanser
A pore purifying cleanser, this cleanser incorporates salicylic acid as one of its active ingredients, making it a fantastic choice for oily skin. (For the uninitiated, salicylic acid is great at eliminating excess sebum that can often lead to acne and blackheads while offering anti-inflammatory properties to prevent acne.)
Beyond its cleansing capabilities, you’ll also find natural ingredients such as antioxidant grape seed polyphenols and organic rose water to help you achieve that healthy radiant glow effortlessly.
Retails between S$34 and S$36. Click on the links below to compare prices.
Dermalogica Active Clay Prebiotic Cleanser
Clay cleansers are suitable for individuals with oily skin, due to their widely known ability to draw out impurities from the skin in a milder way compared to clay masks.
Try this one from Dermalogica, which is formulated with Kaolin clay and activated binchotan charcoal to absorb excess oil and helps minimise the appearances of your pores.
The cleanser also contains a complex of citrus, aloe, and broccoli extract that’ll keep your skin hydrated and glowing. Get your hands on it today at Sephora for SGD 39.
Retails for S$39.
Step 2: Toner
If you think toners are alcohol-based solutions for balancing out the pH of your skin, well… you’re not entirely wrong.
Toners, or known to some as tonics, were originally alcohol-based solutions used as secondary cleansers for our skin. The toners of the past can sometimes be dehydrating and sometimes harmful to our skin. Resultantly, consumers deemed toners as non-essential in their skincare routines.
However, these days, toners have evolved to take on an entirely different image. Many of them are no longer alcohol-based and help balance your skin’s pH level after cleansing and exfoliation.
To use it, you can either dispense the solution into your hands to be gently tapped onto your skin, or you can use a cotton pad for application.
Men’s skincare routine for oily skin: Toners to try
Simplified Skin Glycolic Acid Toner
Exfoliating toners contain mild acids to gently remove dead skin, offering a toning and exfoliating effect to skin.
Now, don’t be intimidated by the word “acids”! These ingredients actually have numerous benefits such as stimulating collagen production, busting acne, and skin-calming properties. They’re ingredients you should look out for if you have oily skin.
This toner, for instance, is formulated with 8% glycolic acid. Besides offering a gentle exfoliation to reduce the appearance of pores and acne, it also works to tackle fine lines and wrinkles.
Retails for approx. S$32.05 (US$23.95).
PIXI Vitamin-C Tonic
This is a treatment toner that is fortified with vitamin C to help improve skin dullness, redness, and irritation.
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in the collagen synthesis process and is a potent anti-oxidant known for boosting skin luminosity.
You’ll love that this toner is refreshing and lightweight, making it great for daily use.
Retails for S$24. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.
Dr Jart+ Ctrl-A Teatreement™ Toner
This purifying toner is formulated for acne-prone skin to help rebalance oily and combination skin by removing excess dirt and sebum, as well as hydrating skin after cleansing.
You’ll love that your skin feels soothed, fresh, and matte after applying it.
Retails for S$33. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.
Step 3: Serum
Here comes the third step of your skincare routine: serums. While they’re not necessary (yet) if you’re just starting out in building your skincare routine, it’s good to have an idea what serums are and how they work.
Serums are more highly concentrated products, usually formulated with potent ingredients to specifically target different skin conditions at a cellular level. Occasionally confused with moisturising oil and toners, but serums are actually in an entire league of its own. Once you feel like you’ve mastered the fundamentals of your skincare routine, serums are a great way to take it up a notch.
Again, as with cleansers and toners, there are different categories of serums. To minimise confusion, first decide if you would like to begin with a daytime, night time or hydrating serum that can be used at any time of the day.
If you’re wondering about the difference among these serums – the day time serum fits into our daytime routine’s objective of protection, while the night time serum helps to tackle specific skin conditions as we prepare for the regenerative process of sleep. As for the hydrating serum, it’s ideal for dry skin but oily skin types can benefit from it as well. After all, it never hurts to infuse your skin with added moisture!
First Aid Beauty Retinol Serum
Retinol belongs to the class of ingredients known as retinoids, which are derived from Vitamin A and Vitamin A is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell regeneration to reduce the look of wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes and acne marks.
However, when used in higher concentration, retinol can cause irritation to the skin. You’ll also need a doctor’s prescription to get your hands on a standard retinol cream.
For an entry-level retinol product suitable for skincare beginners or if you’re worried about skin irritation, this serum is a good one to go for. It contains a smaller concentration of retinol and is mixed with other soothing ingredients so you’re less likely to suffer side effects from it.
Retails for S$95. Click on the link to check for promotions
The Inkey List Retinol
If you’re hesitant about investing in a retinol product, perhaps you could start small with this affordable option.
While it may be more affordable than a lot of other retinol products in the market, it has received good reviews from past users who say it delivers results and has a gentle nature.
Retails between S$18.80 and S$20. Click on links to compare prices.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B6
Don’t be fooled by its name – there’s nothing ordinary about this hydrating serum.
This oil-free serum features three types of hyaluronic acid (low, medium, high molecular weight) so that it can penetrate right into the cellular levels of your skin, delivering long-lasting moisture that’s bound to keep your skin plump and radiant.
Past users have also commented on its quick absorption rate, making it a product that can easily be incorporated into your routine.
Retails for £5.90 (~S$11.10).
Step 4: Moisturiser
There’s a misconception that oily skin doesn’t need to be moisturised. That’s definitely untrue.
Our skin needs both oil and water at healthy levels in order to thrive. This means that even if you’re already producing a lot of oil because of your skin type, you can’t forget to moisturise in order to seal in the water content in your skin.
Conscientious moisturising helps keep your skin soft and supple, and is also a key step to prevent breakouts, fine lines, wrinkles, and all that nasty multitude of skin problems.
Sephora Collection Men Smoothing Hydrating Lotion
Consisting of an ingenious combination of hyaluronic acid from wheat and corn, and peptides from Inca nut, this moisturiser promises improved and even skin tone with daily use.
Its non-greasy texture feels comfortable on the skin and you’ll love that it’s free from allergens that can irritate sensitive skin.
Retails for S$26. Click on the link to check for promotions.
L'Oreal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Multi-Action 8 Reviving Moisturiser
Designed for skin that looks dull and tired, this helps perk up skin with Caffeine and Vitamin C, acting like a source of energy for your complexion.
The result? Healthy, radiant skin that is hydrated and energised.
Retails for S$22.10. Click on the link to check for promotions.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mattifying Gel Moisturizer
This mattifying moisturiser has an oil-free formula that delivers intense hydration.
Thanks to the vitamins and bamboo extract in its formula, it controls the appearance of shine while brightening and nourishing skin. It also contains antioxidants that strengthen skin so it’s more resistant to environmental aggressors and pollutants.
Retails for S$43. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.
Step 5: Sunscreen
Last, but certainly not the least, you’ll need to have sun protection in your skincare routine.
UV rays are the top culprit for a suite of skincare concerns including signs of ageing and dull complexion. This is why we need to protect our skin from the sun.
UV rays can also penetrate windows, which means that you should apply a sunscreen even if you’re indoors.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Sunscreen Moisturizer
For those who prefer 2-in-1 products, this is a sunscreen-and-moisturiser that’s lightweight, oil-free, and looks invisible on skin.
Offering SPF30, which is a good amount for indoors use, this also has a fresh scent thanks to the melon extracts used in the formula.
Retails for S$54. Click on the link for latest promotions.
Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector
If you prefer something with higher protection, this is the one to go for.
Packaged in the form of a stick for ease of application, this contains antioxidants to guard against pollution and signs of ageing.
You’ll also be impressed that heat, water, and perspiration actually strengthen the product’s protective veil instead of removing it.
Retails for S$39. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.