Stealfrom your wife, girlfriend, or other beauty product junkie in your life is one way to make ends meet when it comes to taking care of your skin. But why not use products made specifically for your needs? Men’s skincare has evolved from shaving, razor burn, beards, acne and even bald head care, with more innovative options than ever before on the market.
Adopting a solid skincare routine is important regardless of your gender or your skincare experience. A solid cleanser, moisturizer, aftershave, and sunscreen can take you far, no matter what your skin type. For those who suffer from pesky acne, a post-shave burning sensation or other issues ̵
Below you will find the best skin care products made for men with all different skin concerns. The list was originally compiled by Mercey Livingston, but Lindsay Boyers and her boyfriend (who will be referred to by his first name Joe from now on) tested all the products for two weeks to see how they fared. We also recruited Andrew Morse, editor-in-chief of CNET, who rocks a bald head, to weigh in too.
My manscaping routine used to be more or less fixed. Lather up with the all-in-one body wash / shampoo / antifreeze the gym has dispensed, run the trusty Gillette over my usually bald scalp and rinse off. Usually the gym offered a choice of soapy water: industrial strong white or antiseptic orange. I preferred orange.
Then I heard about Mantl, the creator of a “formulated regime” designed specifically for bald men like me. Mantl produces a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen, as well as “non-shimmery sheets”. I have to say, these are nice things.
The cleaner is light and washes out easily. Not a sticky film. I used it for soaping before running a razor over my dome. Definitely a closer, longer-lasting shave. The cleanser also has a pleasant scent, more appealing than the gym’s white, although perhaps not as aromatic as orange.
The moisturizing cream is also pleasant. It’s a bit thicker than I expected but my skin seemed to absorb it quickly. It’s not greasy. The lady said I looked younger after using it. She also said my cheeks seemed fuller, although that might have been a polite hint to skip a third slice of pizza.
Mantl’s SPF 30 sunscreen is different from other skin protections I’ve used. It is a clear gel, not a lumpy mess that leaves smudges and streaks no matter how vigorously it is rubbed in. I haven’t put one on my scalp because I use what all red-blooded Bay Staters use to protect their heads from the elements: a New England Patriots ball cap. However, I applied some on my face. It spread evenly and wore comfortably.
Mantl also makes non-shimmery sheets designed to soak up excess oil on your scalp. Seemed a bit picky so I didn’t try them. That said, they are probably pretty good if they are anything like Mantl’s other products. They are also made with bamboo charcoal, which sounds impressive.
Like just about any other company these days, the Mantl folks market their products as a service, offering customizable quarterly boxes. A full set costs $ 70 every 12 weeks. I’m not ready to drop $ 280 a year on subscription soap. But if my gym had it in stock, I would definitely use Mantl. Sorry, orange. Andrew Morse
The art of shaving
Don’t let the name fool you. The art of shaving stubble balm is designed to soothe uncomfortable stubble, but it really is a multipurpose skincare additive that has made a big difference everywhere. Joe rocks a full beard and only uses a razor to clean his neck and cheeks. Fortunately, he doesn’t have too much shaving irritation, but he does get quite persistent ingrown hairs and pimples in these areas.
After using this for a few weeks, there was a noticeable difference in the frequency of ingrown hair and its skin feel and texture. His skin wasn’t that itchy and his beard also felt softer and looked more tamed, even hours after using the balm.
The texture of the stubble balm falls somewhere between a light conditioner and a gel. It provided relief for his skin and upgraded his beard game without leaving any greasy residue. We tested the sandalwood, which smells absolutely divine, but if for some reason you don’t like that musky, smoky scent, there are options for bourbon and bergamot and neroli too.
The Lumin Moisturizing Balm, which tackles dry skin and sun damage, is a GQ Best Stuff choice. As a newbie to skincare, it took Joe a while to get used to the extra moisture on his face, but after a week or so – and some coaching on how a bit goes a long way – he was hooked.
As it is technically a night cream, the Moisturizing Balm has a thick texture, but it absorbs directly into the skin, rather than sitting on it and giving it that greasy feel and look. Joe commented several times that he couldn’t stop touching his face because it felt so smooth. It also looked baby soft.
The difference was especially evident when we got to the first week of December and the temperatures started to drop. Although normally plagued by dry patches on his cheeks and forehead, he hasn’t seen any of this this year, even with temperatures in the 20’s. His skin tone has also become much smoother, with the redness diminishing significantly.
The fragrance was also very pleasant. It was not as fragrant as the stubble balm, but it gave off a light freshly washed unisex aroma.
With retinol, sunscreen and several ingredients that help with shaving irritation, redness and dryness, L’Oréal’s Vita Lift Moisturizer is a top choice for men who want it all but don’t want to commit to a long-lasting skincare routine.
While this moisturizer is technically an anti-wrinkle cream, there wasn’t much of a difference in its fine lines after two weeks of use – something we expected as it takes longer to see such results. But he did notice how smooth and soft his skin felt. The added moisture also made it look smoother and I noticed that it was less red and its pores looked smaller too.
The Vita Lift left a little greasiness, probably from the sunscreen, but it was a welcome tradeoff as sun protection is critical when using retinol and this product makes it easy. It also comes in a handy pump, which was handy for dispensing just the right amount without overdoing it.
The Jack Black Beard Oil is a blend of natural soothing oils, powerful antioxidants and vitamins that work together to condition your beard and improve the skin underneath. And it works.
Just two drops easily tame all of Joe’s villainous hair and left it with a slight shine without making him feel greasy. He also made sure that the oil in his skin worked under his beard to see if it could soothe dry, itchy skin that isn’t cared for often enough, and it did. He felt immediate relief, and over time noticed that he didn’t scratch that often and that he felt his skin was smoother and his beard less stiff.
I felt a noticeable difference in texture while hugging, and his beard looked better and smelled fresh too. With so many fragrant ingredients, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact scent, but it was light and pleasant.
The Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub is designed to break down “tough facial hair” for a smoother, more comfortable shave. As such, we expected a hard, bead-strewn thicket, but it was anything but.
The scrub particles, which are made from apricot kernels, were fine and very easy on the skin. They were able to wipe away dead skin easily without leaving behind any redness or irritation. After a few weeks of use, there were noticeable differences in Joe’s skin color and texture, and he had a lot less blackheads on his nose.
Although he followed up with the scrub with a moisturizer, it felt moisturizing on its own and at times commented that he didn’t even feel like he needed the extra moisture.
In addition to exfoliating particles, the exfoliator also contains menthol and caffeine, which are designed to stimulate the skin, and it seemed like things got a little lighter and brighter, but the difference wasn’t quite noticeable in the two weeks of our testing. While the menthol scent wasn’t his favorite (or mine), he loved the morning wake-up and the fresh feeling of skin.
Read more: Best Beard Trimmers for 2020: Wahl, Remington and Brio make the cut
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.