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Gone are the days where a man’s skincare routine consisted of splashing his face with water at the end of a long day. The modern gent knows that a proper skincare routine is a must in the grooming process, especially if he wants to maintain skin health in the long run. But with the seemingly endless array of products available on the market, where do you start? In order to help you create your ideal grooming routine, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best skincare products for men in 2023.
What Every Man Needs in His Skincare Routine
Before we go over our recommendations, let’s cover a bit of skincare 101. Every man needs to have three key products in his routine: a cleanser, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. A cleanser will get rid of impurities to keep your skin refreshed and healthy (and to reduce your risk of dealing with pesky breakouts). A moisturizer will keep your skin’s moisture levels optimally balanced. Finally, sunscreen will help protect your skin against harmful sun rays.
Once you’ve acquired these three products, you can start thinking about adding serums and other treatments to your routine. These types of products can help treat specific concerns. For example, if you have acne-prone skin, you might look for a serum that keeps breakouts at bay. Those looking to lessen signs of aging may look for an anti-aging serum made with ingredients like vitamin C, retinol or peptides. It ultimately comes down to the issues you’re hoping to target.
Knowing Your Skin Type
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re shopping for skincare products is your skin type. This will help you determine which formulas are best suited for your skin’s unique needs. Here’s a quick look at the different skin types:
- Oily Skin: This skin type produces an excess of sebum (your skin’s natural oils), which means it can look shiny and feel greasy. Men with this skin type are more likely to be prone to acne. Lighter moisturizers are ideal for oily skin, especially if they also help mattify the complexion. Foaming cleansers can be particularly helpful for clearing away excess oils. Serums made with salicylic acid, niacinamide and zinc may also be beneficial.
- Dry Skin: On the opposite end is dry skin, which underproduces sebum. Men with dry skin should reach for a richer, cream-based moisturizer, as well as a cleanser that is made with moisturizing ingredients. Hydrating serums that help with moisture retention can also be beneficial. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, shea butter and squalane.
- Combination Skin: If you have combination skin, some areas of the face will be oily (typically the forehead, nose and chin – also known as the T-zone), whereas others will be dry. Lightweight hydrating serums can help keep moisture levels in check without feeling too heavy on the skin. You can also seek out lighter cream-based moisturizers.
- Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin can get easily irritated, so it’s important to choose gentle products that keep the skin calm and comfortable. Look for formulas made with soothing ingredients, such as oats, green tea, Centella asiatica, aloe, ceramides and bisabolol. It’s also important to avoid ingredients that can aggravate the skin, such as fragrances or higher concentrations of aggressive active ingredients.
- Normal Skin: If you have normal skin, your face doesn’t lean toward being dry or oily, and doesn’t tend to get too reactive or easily irritated. You’ll still need a good skincare routine to keep your skin balanced and healthy. You can also use serums and treatments that target specific issues, such as dullness or signs of aging.
There are plenty of products that are formulated to be suitable for all skin types. However, there are also products that are targeted toward specific skin types. As you can imagine, if you have oily skin, a dry skin moisturizer will probably feel too heavy for your complexion. This is why you’ll want to reach for formulas that are appropriate for your skin type.
The Best Skincare Products for Men in 2023
Now let’s take a look at our recommendations for the best skincare products for men currently available on the market. We’ll discuss cleansers, serums, moisturizers and sunscreen so that you can create an effective, well-rounded routine.
1. Best Cleanser (Overall): Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser
One of our favorite face washes for men of all skin types is the Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser from Blu Atlas, a premium men’s grooming company known for crafting top-quality, nature-powered formulas. It effectively removes impurities to refresh and clarify the skin, but does so without causing irritation or drying out the skin. It’s also loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients that support overall skin health.
This Blu Atlas face cleanser has gentle exfoliating properties, thanks to the addition of volcanic ash particles. Unlike other cleansers on the market, which are made with physical exfoliants, these natural particles are extremely fine, which means they gently buff the skin without damaging it. They also absorb excess sebum and other impurities, helping to decongest and refine the pores.
Another key ingredient in this formula is pomegranate seed oil, a nourishing ingredient that is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids. In addition to fortifying the skin, it protects it against free radicals while offering anti-inflammatory benefits. Lactobacillus ferment filtrate also enhances microbiome health while soothing and strengthening the skin, improving its ability to defend itself against aggressors.
What makes this face wash stand out is the clean formula. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances. Ninety-eight percent of the ingredients are derived from natural origins, such as plants, fruits and minerals.
2. Best Drugstore Cleanser: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cleanser
If you’d prefer to stick with a drugstore cleanser, check out the Hydro Boost Gel Cleanser from affordable brand Neutrogena. This hydrating face wash has a gel-based formula that is crafted to be suitable for all skin types.
The star ingredient in this cleansing gel is hyaluronic acid. This humectant draws water to the skin and locks it in, leaving the face feeling soft, supple and healthy. It works alongside glycerin, another humectant that ensures the skin’s hydration levels are optimally balanced.
The Hydro Boost Gel Cleanser thoroughly washes away dirt, excess oil and other impurities, but is still gentle on the skin, making it an ideal choice for twice-daily use. It’s made without sulfates, parabens or phthalates, and is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores).
3. Best Vitamin C Serum: Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum
If you’re considering adding just one serum to your routine, make it this one. Vitamin C is a multitasker that targets a range of concerns, and is one of the most effective ingredients in the skincare industry. It works to brighten the complexion and fade the appearance of dark spots for a more even skin tone. The vitamin encourages collagen production to help soften fine lines and wrinkles and promote a more youthful complexion. It also works as an antioxidant, defending the skin against harmful free radicals.
The Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum is powered by ascorbic acid, a stable, science-backed form of vitamin C. What makes this formula extra powerful is the addition of vitamin E and ferulic acid. These antioxidants have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, which means they’ll ensure you get the best possible results from the powerful ingredient.
In addition to these key ingredients, this serum is infused with antioxidant-rich mulberry root extract. It improves the appearance of discoloration as it calms and reduces irritation for a more comfortable complexion. Apple fruit extract provides even more antioxidant benefits, and at the same time works as a humectant, drawing water into the skin. The serum is packed with additional ingredients that soothe and hydrate the skin, including Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and carrot seed oil.
Like the other Blu Atlas products we’ve come to love, this serum has a clean formula that you’ll feel comfortable using on your skin. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates or fragrances. The overwhelming majority of the ingredients (97.5%) are derived from natural origins.
4. Best Serum for Acne-Prone Skin: Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster
Any man with acne-prone skin knows how frustrating it is when you can’t get breakouts in check. This lightweight serum from Paula’s Choice (which is vegan, cruelty-free and made without oils or fragrances) helps decongest the pores as it improves uneven skin tone and reduces irritation. The result is a clearer, calmer and more even complexion. It’s also fairly gentle on the skin, and can be used twice daily if desired for maximum results.
The star of this serum is azelaic acid, which is included at a 10% concentration. Azelaic acid has antimicrobial and gentle exfoliating properties, which means it can help treat and prevent breakouts by targeting acne-causing bacteria and clearing away pore-clogging debris. It is also anti-inflammatory, which means it can reduce inflammation tied to current breakouts and general irritation. The azelaic acid works to improve texture and tone to enhance the overall look of the skin.
Another key component of this serum is salicylic acid, which is included at a 0.05% concentration. While this is on the lower side, it still works to decongest pores and create an even skin tone. Licorice root extract also helps reduce redness as it brightens the complexion. At the same time, ingredients like allantoin, bisabolol and glycerin promote a calm, comfortable and hydrated complexion.
5. Best Retinol: Youth to the People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum
If you’re interested in adding retinol to your skincare routine, one of the best serums to try is the Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum from Youth to the People. The multitasking formula is made to smooth fine lines and wrinkles as it improves texture and brightens uneven skin tone. We’re big fans of the clean formula, which is vegan, cruelty-free and made without parabens or phthalates.
This serum is powered by a 0.15% concentration of retinaldehyde, a potent form of retinol. It works to lessen the appearance of visible signs of aging while improving overall skin texture. The retinaldehyde is joined by a 5% concentration of niacinamide. This multitasking ingredient refines the appearance of enlarged pores and promotes a more even skin tone while soothing and enhancing barrier health.
This formula is also infused with an adaptogen and ceramide complex, which features mushrooms and other ingredients packed with antioxidants and fatty acids. Together, these ingredients replenish moisture levels and further support barrier health while smoothing the skin and reducing signs of sensitivity. As these ingredients get to work, squalane, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E deeply hydrate without feeling greasy or heavy on the skin.
If you aren’t convinced, take a look at the study results. After one week of using the serum, 91% of participants agreed that their skin looked smoother and clearer, and the same percentage agreed that their skin was noticeably firmer after two weeks.
6. Best Exfoliant: Oars + Alps Anti-Everything Pads
These cheekily named exfoliating pads from Oars + Alps truly do tackle all of the most common skin concerns men deal with. They are designed to address breakouts, razor bumps, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. With consistent use, they’ll help you achieve a clear, smooth and comfortable complexion.
The Anti-Everything Pads are soaked in a solution that features a 10% concentration of glycolic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid. This chemical exfoliant helps dissolve dead skin cells and debris on the surface of the skin, improving texture, tone and dullness. Over time, it can improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful appearance.
The formula also features another chemical exfoliant, salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid. While glycolic acid focuses more on the surface of the skin, salicylic acid (which is included at a 0.5% concentration) gets into the pores to decongest and promote a clearer complexion.
In addition to these active ingredients, the formula features witch hazel extract, a gentle astringent that purifies the skin as it reduces inflammation. Tea tree leaf oil is also included to target blemishes, soothe the skin and minimize redness. Ingredients like Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, bisabolol and glycerin also calm and hydrate. Like other Oars + Alps formulas, this formula is made with alpine caribou moss, which is packed with skin-protecting antioxidants.
7. Best Moisturizer (Overall): Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer
Every good skincare routine starts with a top-quality moisturizer, and the Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer (which is suitable for all skin types) is one of our favorites. This formula is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients that moisturize and fortify the barrier as they tackle signs of aging, dullness and other common concerns. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, clean and loaded with natural ingredients.
This moisturizer is formulated with vitamin C, which adds an antioxidant boost to keep the skin protected against environmental aggressors. It helps brighten as it lessens signs of aging. The formula also contains seaweed extract, an antioxidant-rich ingredient that supports skin health by lightly exfoliating, defending against free radicals, balancing oil production and moisturizing the skin.
This Blu Atlas moisturizer is powered by mango seed butter. This natural ingredient is loaded with vitamins C and E, both of which are antioxidants. It’s also a highly effective moisturizer that leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. A final key ingredient is moringa oil, a super-hydrating ingredient that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is a rich source of fatty acids and vitamins that support overall skin health.
We’re huge fans of the different scent options. You can choose between the company’s signature Classic scent and Coconut Apricot, both of which are created using natural fragrances. If you prefer no scent, the company also has a fragrance-free option.
8. Best Drugstore Moisturizer: Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion With Hyaluronic Acid
If you’re on a budget, we recommend checking out this moisturizer from drugstore brand Cetaphil. The moisturizer has a non-irritating formula that is made to be gentle enough for sensitive skin. It tackles the five signs of sensitivity: roughness, irritation, dryness, tightness and a weakened skin barrier. While the formula is fairly simple, it will give your skin exactly what it needs to stay moisturized, comfortable and healthy.
As the name indicates, the key ingredient in this moisturizer is hyaluronic acid. The humectant attracts moisture to the skin and locks it in, helping the skin stay plump and smooth all day long. It works alongside glycerin, another humectant that counteracts dehydration for a healthy complexion.
Since this moisturizer is made to be suitable for sensitive skin, you won’t find any common irritants in the formula. The dermatologist-tested product is made without fragrances or parabens, and is hypoallergenic. It is also oil-free and non-comedogenic, which makes it a safe option for men with acne-prone skin.
9. Best Mattifying Moisturizer: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oil-Control Moisturizer
Men with particularly oily skin who are looking for a product that will combat the look and feel of excess oil should try this First Aid Beauty moisturizer. It is formulated to give oily skin the moisture it needs without feeling heavy on the face. As it moisturizes, it instantly mattifies the skin to reduce shine. The vegan and cruelty-free formula is gentle and safe for sensitive skin, and is made without artificial fragrances, parabens or phthalates. The dermatologist-tested moisturizer is also non-comedogenic.
The Ultra Repair Oil-Control Moisturizer is formulated with microspheres that absorb excess oil on the skin. They create a matte finish on the face that lasts throughout the day so that you can stay shine-free. The formula also features niacinamide, a powerful ingredient that helps regulate sebum production to limit unnecessary oil. Niacinamide refines the appearance of enlarged pores, supports barrier health and soothes the skin.
In addition to these ingredients, the formula features antioxidant-rich Camellia sinensis leaf extract, which defends against free radicals while offering a subtle astringent effect. It is also infused with oat extract, which reduces signs of irritation for skin that looks and feels more comfortable. Hyaluronic acid helps keep the skin optimally hydrated, while feverfew extract improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
10. Best Moisturizer with SPF: Anthony Day Cream SPF 30
Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis is key for skin health. However, for men who prefer to take a simpler approach to their skincare routine, adding a sunscreen on top of all the other products can feel like a burden. This is why we’re big fans of this moisturizer from Anthony. It’s made with SPF 30 to help you streamline your routine so that you can get on with your day. The formula has been both allergy and dermatologist tested, and is made without parabens or phthalates.
This lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer features three forms of chemical sunscreen that keep the skin guarded against damage from UVA and UVB rays. It also contains sugarcane, orange, sugar maple and lemon extracts, all of which are natural sources of alpha hydroxy acids. These extracts help remove dead skin cells and other debris from the surface of the skin to improve texture and tone.
In addition, the formula features licorice root extract, a calming ingredient that further works to promote a more even skin tone. Bilberry fruit extract and apricot kernel oil moisturize, nourish and protect the skin against free radicals, while wheat protein firms the complexion.
11. Best Face Sunscreen: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Our final recommendation is a sunscreen that deserves a spot in every man’s grooming routine. The popular Unseen Sunscreen from Supergoop is designed not just to shield the skin against the sun’s rays, but also to nourish and increase hydration levels in the skin. It leaves a natural finish that doesn’t look or feel heavy on the skin, and is water resistant for up to 40 minutes – which means you can safely wear it while swimming or sweating.
This clean, fragrance-free and oil-free formula is made with chemical sunscreen filters that protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays. It is infused with red algae, a nutrient-dense natural ingredient that works to defend against damaging blue light that is emitted from phones, computers and other electronic devices.
Additionally, this Supergoop sunscreen is made with a complex derived from meadowfoam seed that increases hydration levels in the skin and improves texture. Frankincense soothes the skin for a more comfortable complexion and helps improve overall resiliency, while fatty-acid-packed shea butter seals in moisture while fortifying the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ready to take your skincare routine to the next level? Here are a few tips and tricks for making the most of the products you’re using in your routine.
How often should you use a serum?
Many serums are made to be used on a daily basis, and some can even be used up to two times per day. However, keep in mind that there’s a huge variety of serums on the market, and some should be used less frequently. You should read the instructions on the specific serum you choose, and see how your skin reacts to determine best usage for your unique needs. Formulas made with more potent active ingredients – such as retinol or chemical exfoliants – should generally only be used a few times per week. This is especially true if the serum contains higher concentrations of these types of ingredients.
Should you cleanse twice a day?
Everyone should at the very least cleanse once a day in the evening to remove sunscreen, as well as dirt, impurities and excess oil that have accumulated on the skin throughout the day. Men with dry or sensitive skin may find that only cleansing once a day in the evening works well for their skin. Men with combination or oily skin will likely find that they prefer to wash their skin twice a day.
Should you moisturize if you have oily skin?
You’re absolutely going to want to moisturize your face if you have oily skin. It might seem counterintuitive, but a moisturizer is essential for keeping your skin balanced and healthy. By neglecting to moisturize your skin, your skin may produce even more oil as a way to counteract the lack of moisture.
The biggest concern for men with oily skin is finding a moisturizer that won’t feel heavy or contribute to grease. The key is selecting a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly into the skin. Lighter creams and gel-based formulas work best for oily skin types.
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