The most effective men’s skincare routines: Simple solutions for every skin type

mens guide to skin care

The increasingly high standards of male grooming and appearance in the modern world are enough to send any average joe into despair – especially when it comes to skincare.

At some point in the last 40 years, the male species was suddenly introduced to words like moisturiser, cleanser and scrub, and those unable to consult their dictionaries quick enough have been left far behind.

“The cavemen did alright without toner,” we say, “so I should be alright too.”

But while cavemen never had to worry about which L’Oreal face cleanser was best for their skin type, we’re not exactly shocking anyone when we say they probably weren’t the best-looking blokes… and most of them were sporting crows feet by the time they were 25.

So whether you like it or not, if you want to keep up with the pack and sport an attractive, rugged skin quality to challenge the everyday metrosexual man – you’ve got to get clued up on how to look after your mug.

Mastering a men’s skincare routine is now a vital practice for every bloke when it comes to saving your skin from ageing, dermatological issues and a dull lifeless appearance and if you can’t beat them, you’re going to have to join them.

It’s time to enter our grooming classroom and finally learn your lesson when it comes to men’s skincare.

The 101 On Men’s Skin Care Products And What They Do

There’s an awful lot of men’s skincare products out there, and knowing what they do is important to discover whether they should have a place in your personal skincare routine.

Most men should be using almost all of these examples below to get the best out of their skin, so if there’s one you don’t recognise – you best get reading!


We blokes work pretty hard and in just one typical day, your face can become a hive of dirt, oil and dead skin build-up – which is something you don’t want to let get out of hand.

Washing the face with water alone though is not always successful at entirely removing dead skin cells and dirt, so to prevent acne and blemishes it’s recommended you use a facial cleanser.

Cleansers are a facial product designed to remove such impurities and come in many different forms to suit different skin types. These include oil-based, cream, foam, clay and micellar cleansers – but there are plenty more out there to discover.

Crucially, a cleanser is better than using soap to wash your face, as a classic bar of soap has a high alkaline pH which is at odds with skin’s slightly more acidic mantle. Upsetting your natural pH can lead to bacteria build-up and worsening blemishes, so soap’s definitely one to ditch if you have oily or dry skin.

Soap also has pore-blocking thickeners in their ingredients and strips the face of its natural oils leading to an overproduction of oil and a condition known as seborrhoea.


Exfoliating is an important action, as it helps unclog pores and remove any stubborn dead skin cells that aren’t coming off. In essence, it helps bring up the newest freshest layer of your skin so that you boast a bright, energised appearance and prevents an unhealthy build-up or blocked pores.

An exfoliator can be a physical tool designed to buff away dead cells, or a kind of cosmetic scrub which contains slightly more abrasive ingredients which will also help remove dead skin.

People have also been known to create their own exfoliating scrubs out of natural ingredients like coffee powder or oats.

Naturally, the process of exfoliation is quite harsh and so it’s only recommended you do it 1-3 times per week depending on your skin type, as the abrasive nature can be tough on your skin.

Those who dislike the harsh action of exfoliation often tend to go for a liquid-based exfoliator, which will usually contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, which can unclog pores and remove dirt and dead skin completely on its own without the need for harsh scrubbing!


Toner is often a mystery to the average man and it’s rarely used in any male skin routine – however, you just might be missing a trick.

Toner is essentially your final attack on dirt, grime and oil on your face and provides a deep, pore-cleansing finish to your washing routine. It also re-balances your pH after all that washing and tightens open pores to prevent impurities and give skin a healthier look.

It’s not for everyone though, as some find that toners with harsher ingredients can upset their skin and so many skip using it altogether or simply use it once a day rather than morning and night.


Another enigmatic product that blokes go without, you’ll probably recognise serum more when it’s paired with it’s most beloved prefix – anti-ageing serum.

Placed on after cleansing and before moisturising, serum is basically a very lightweight moisturising agent which is absorbed deeper into the skin and contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C to help rejuvenate skin and retain moisture better than a splash of water can.

It’s almost exclusively marketed as a product to either prevent or manage wrinkles, so if you’re a mature man looking to fight off Father Time, this one is for you.


It amazes us daily how many men still don’t moisturise their skin, but for whatever reason, fellas like to avoid giving their skin a much-needed hydration boost.

We won’t insult you by describing the purpose of moisturiser, as the clues pretty much in the name, but how they work is by creating a barrier on the surface of the skin that prevents moisture from escaping. This essentially locks in your skin at it’s smoothest, most hydrated and supple appearance, helping you look your best for longer.

Men’s Skin Care Routines Based On Skin Type

Now you know the various men’s skincare products on the market and what they’re for – it’s time to find out which one’s you personally need.

Depending on your skin type, the personal skincare arsenal differs from man to man, with some products being passed on all together and others just requiring a more defined and specific version which works with them.

This can be confusing and time-sapping research and that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help men of all skin types remove the need for trial and error, and truly get to know their skin…

The following routines should all be performed morning and night, with any exceptions noted below.

skin care for normal skin

Normal Skin

Congratulations – you lucky git – you’ve been graced with skin that suffers from neither dryness nor oiliness, or any kind of dermatological issue for that matter.

For years you’ve probably got by on natural genetics and youthful good looks, with your skin surviving boldly on a sparse diet of a quick splash in the sink or a quick scrub with a soap bar.

But all good things come to an end and even skin that seemingly takes no effort needs a boost to prevent it losing its natural elasticity and falling foul to bouts of dull, lifeless energy.

The good news for normal skinned dudes is that almost all men’s skincare products are up for grabs – as they won’t dry you out, make you feel more oily and rarely cause any negative reactions ever (again, we’ll reiterate you really are a lucky git).

Here’s the quick lowdown on what you need to do to keep your naturally fresh and rejuvenated look for years to come:

Say goodbye to dead skin build-up, grease and grime with a good quality cleanser to wipe the slate clean and get to work maximising your skin quality.

2. EXFOLIATE (No More Than Twice a Week)
If you ever suffer from dull, tired-looking skin, this can often be a result of dead skin build-up. Seeing these skin cells off with a good exfoliating scrub once or twice a week will help rejuvenate and revive your lighter, brighter skin tone.

An oft skipped step in the men’s skincare routine, toner is important for getting deep into your pores to remove any really tricky dirt and grime build-up. As cleansing also opens up your pores to the elements, a good toner will help quickly tighten them again to defend you from picking up any impurities. This means its a step you don’t want to miss if you’re looking to offer some anti-ageing techniques!

Another trick missed with most men,( especially those dealing with ageing issues), serum is a perfect pre-moisturiser step that is highly absorbent and provides plenty of rehydration and moisture to the skin.  This can help counteract any drying effects of cleansing and is naturally one of our greatest warriors when it comes to fighting wrinkles.

Last but not least, it’s a moisturiser to finish – the super soothing and hydrating balm which helps lock in moisture for the remainder of the day! As you have a normal skin type, the world is once again your oyster, so just go with a product you like!

Dry Skin

When you’ve got dry skin, it can really feel like you’ve pulled the short straw in life.

Looking attractive and healthy is a constant battle, as you are continually struggling with flakes, sore patches and obvious red areas of irritation… We know, sexy right?

But with the right skincare routine, healthy and hydrated skin is perfectly possible – you just have to know what you’re doing, with a combination of sensitive and moisturising products being the key…

Here’s the secret recipe to help say goodbye to dry:

Many folks with dry skin choose to pass on cleansers, as choosing one that’s too harsh can leave your mug feeling like it’s just been scrubbed with sandpaper. But without an effective cleanser, you can’t effectively remove dead skin build-up and so we recommend going for something like Micellar water, which cleanses skin without stripping away natural oils.

2. EXFOLIATE (No More Than Once a Week)
Given the flakey face, a lot of people with dry skin can’t resist the temptation of frequent exfoliating to help smooth out their complexion. But in the long run, this just makes things worse, as over-exfoliating is not only harsh on your skin but will also encourage it to just become drier, a slippery slope you don’t want to head down. Limit this exercise to once a week and go for the most gentle exfoliator you can.

3. TONER (Optional/ Once A Day If Preferred)
Toner’s are great for tightening pores and protecting against impurities, but their ingredients are often tough on dry skin sufferers, which is why we would actually suggest skipping this step altogether. However, if you’re prone to blemishes and skin impurities, it’s safe to perhaps use toner once a day, provided it’s a completely alcohol-free formula!

Serum is a great tool for those suffering from dry skin thanks to it’s deeply absorbing hydration properties. However, be sure to go for a product that boasts mostly natural ingredients – as if you deeply absorb anything that irritates your skin – you’re in for a rough time!

We probably don’t even need to tell you this, but moisturiser is going to be your ultimate wingman if you suffer from dry skin, as a super-hydrating moisturiser can help take you from zero to hero and swap a craggy, aged face into a smooth and rugged one. Be sure to check out moisturisers specifically formulated for super dry skin and even experiment with dermatologically-approved, pharmacy-style moisturisers if seriously flaky.

Oily Skin

Okay greaseball, here’s the good news: you’re naturally sebum spreading skin is guaranteed to help you stave off wrinkles and the effects of ageing for some time.

The bad news? Well, as punishment for your youthful glaze, you’re going to constantly look like you’ve dunked your face in a bucket of chip oil and probably suffer from frequent blemishes and acne… Because having it all would just be unfair.

Mastering oily skin is therefore all about controlling your shine and keeping a healthy glow without becoming greasy, which unsurprisingly, is as difficult as it sounds.

But with the right plan of action… anything is possible:

While cleansing can feel like a Catch-22 for oily skin sufferers (due to its penchant for drying out the skin and triggering sebum overkill), you simply cannot skip this step if you suffer from a gunky mug. Without a good cleanser, there’s no way to effectively remove shine, unclog porers and evaporate all that excess oil. To prevent sebum backlash, go for a product that’s gentle and won’t completely strip the skin bare or one specifically designed for oily skin.

2. EXFOLIATE (No More Than Twice a Week)
If you’ve got oily skin, you’re at risk of acne, blackheads, blemishes and irritation due to all the potential for clogged pores. This means exfoliation is important to unblock pores and keep skin smooth and problem-free.

3. TONER (Optional/ Once A Day If Preferred)
Toner is a bit of an odd one for oily skin sufferers, as their drying nature and can like harsh cleanser cause a sebum override that makes everything a heck of a lot worse. But if you desperately want to try and shrink those big greasy porers, go for a balancing toner that’s alcohol-free.

Adding extra moisture to your face might seem odd if you suffer from oily skin, but a great serum can still help add gentle moisture without gunking up pores if you pick the right one. Hyaluronic serum, for example, is one of the more popular picks for oily skin as it is a lubricant which helps retain moisture better than water, potentially preventing sebum production.

Oily skin sufferers too often skip moisturiser, as they hate the combined feeling of oil and cream just sitting on their skin. But avoiding it will likely just convince your skin to produce more sebum when a lack of moisture is detected, so opting for a super lightweight moisturiser can help keep the oil at bay and leave you feeling fresher!

Sensitive Skin

If you suffer from sensitive skin, we’re surprised you’ve even made it this far down the article.

Everything you put on your face seems to bring you out in a rash, meaning caring for your skin has been limited to an H20 routine and any blemishes or skin irritations must simply be ridden out as they come.

But while reading these tips on skincare might feel frustrating and anger-inducing, we promise you that if you’re cautious and only opt into the steps your skin actually needs, you can rock a healthy, happier skin without ever hitting a bump in the road!

Here’s the deets on sensitive skincare:

Facial cleanser is a big no-no for most people with sensitive skin, with every product seemingly causing an instant red reaction. But if you opt for micellar water or cleansing milk that are free of harsh chemicals and skin-stripping agents, you can keep clean without needing to be mean.

2. EXFOLIATE (No More Than Once a Week)
When it comes to exfoliation, those with sensitive skin need to incredibly gentle, as overly rough scrubbing is just a recipe for disaster. Again, keep exfoliation to once a week and pick an exfoliating scrub which is as gentle as possible. This step is mostly about your own action though, so try and avoid harsh sponges, loofers and the like and focus on a smooth action with the hands.

3. TONER (Optional/ Once A Day If Preferred)
Although it gets things super clean, toner can be really drying for sensitive skin, so if it’s you’re thing, always go for a product that boasts mostly natural ingredients and is alcohol-free.

Serums are great for boosting moisture and fighting wrinkles, but they can often contain a few too many ingredients which can be irritating for sensitive skinned folk. Try hyaluronic acid for a super-hydrating experience that is a more natural lubricant for the skin.

While most people probably just assume moisturisers are a nice, soothing balm to solve dryness, you’d actually be surprised at some of the irritating agents that get put in some products. Certain alcohols and ingredients are often added to create a tingling, fresh feeling – but if you’ve got sensitive skin, the effect is more like a burning, rash inducer.

Your skin, therefore, needs a hypoallergenic moisturiser that’s light on alcohol and free of perfumes which are there purely for aesthetic reasons.