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The Best Everyday Skincare for Men, According to a Dermatologist

Guys, it's time to stop using any old bar soap and upgrade your self-care routine. Buying skincare for men doesn’t have to be intimidating—or expensive!

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Women put a lot of time and effort into perfecting their beauty routine. Whether they’re trying to find the best face wash, face serums, moisturizer or anti-aging eye cream, the quest for flawless skin is usually a high priority. However, skincare for men is just as important. And guys, if you thought reaching for any old bar of soap counts as a skincare regimen, you may actually be doing more harm than good. We reached out to experts for the 411 on essentials to buy, and how to create an easy routine.

Joshua Zeichner, MD, is an Associate Professor and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He explains that men’s skin isn’t that different than women’s, but there are a few key differences to note. “Generally speaking, men do tend to have larger oil glands and make more oil,” he says. Additionally, they often have thicker hair on more body surface area. And when it comes to shaving, Dr. Zeichner says, “you can use a combination moisturizer with SPF as your aftershave product.” Speaking of fuzz, here are the must-have grooming treatments for men.

What to look for when buying skincare for men

For most guys, convenience key is. Luckily, Dr. Zeichner believes that more isn’t necessarily better. In fact, he recommends limiting a daily skincare routine to just a cleanser and two steps. Just beware: “Many men prefer a bar cleanser, but it’s important to choose the right product,” cautions Dr. Zeichner. He suggests avoiding true soaps, which are harsh on the skin barrier. Instead, he advises looking for non-soap, hydrating cleansers that effectively clean the skin while offering hydration benefits. Look for products that have skin-soothing ingredients like oatmeal, aloe and niacinamide, he adds.

Whether guys are interested in updating their current drugstore skincare routine, or they’re total newbies and clueless where to start, we found the best products that cater to their specific needs (and budgets!).

Dove Men And Care Body Face Bar Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best bar cleanser for men

Dove Men + Care Body and Face Bar

This Dove body and face bar is a smart intro to skincare for men looking for an easy upgrade. If you’re set on using a bar cleanser, Dr. Zeichner recommends this pick, since it both cleans and hydrates skin. Unlike regular bar soap, which can leave skin feeling tight and dry, this body and face bar contains purifying grains that gently exfoliate skin, plus an infusion of nourishing and soothing moisturizing cream.

Many guys also prefer the convenience of an all-in-one product, and this baby is safe for his face, hands and entire body. The non-comedogenic formula is mild and gentle enough for anyone with sensitive skin. If a bar is your preferred self-care product, check out these shampoo and conditioner bars.

Pros

  • Leaves skin clean and hydrated
  • Contains moisturizing cream
  • Gentle enough for the face and body
  • Expert recommended
  • Affordable, and easy to find in drugstores and big box stores

Cons

  • Some reviewers claim it isn’t truly unscented

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Exfoliating Rub Ecomm Via Luminskin.comvia merchant

Best exfoliator for men

Lumin Exfoliating Rub

Take a second and think of your skin like a car—every so often it needs a little buffing and polishing to remove things like scratches, etching and other imperfections. Your skin is the same way! This exfoliating rub will buff away dead skin cells, clear dirt from clogged pores, prevent post-shave irritation and even fade acne scarring. Not only that, but it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while leaving your skin soft to the touch.

Simply apply an almond-sized amount of the exfoliator to clean dry skin a few times a week. It contains charcoal, which effectively removes impurities from deep in your pores and rosemary extract, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. There’s also green tea extract, which is a strong antioxidant that supports skin health and helps balance oil production. Sure, it adds an extra step, but your skin will appreciate you going the extra mile. Here are even more facial scrubs and exfoliators for glowing skin.

Pros

  • Removes dead skin and dirt
  • Helps fade acne scars
  • Calms shaving irritation
  • Formulated for all skin types

Cons

  • Some may be turned off by the black color, but don’t worry! It rinses off easily with warm water.

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Best night cream for men

PC4Men Nighttime Repair

According to Dr. Zeichner, your evening skincare routine should be a simple two- or three-step process. He recommends washing your face, then using a moisturizer with collagen-stimulating ingredients like retinol. This night cream from Paula’s Choice contains retinol and a powerful lineup of antioxidants, which work together to smooth fine lines, wrinkles, rough texture and uneven skin tone. Apply this cream at night after washing your face, and you’re good to go. Want to know more about the brand’s other top-selling products? We put their hugely popular exfoliant to the test, and it’s worth the hype!

Pros

  • Retinol and antioxidants help smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Reviewers with sensitive skin say this moisturizer won’t cause irritation

Cons

  • Not sold in drugstores

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Deep Cleanse Facial Wash Ecomm Via Ulta.com 001via merchant

Best face wash for men

Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash

If you’re a fan of Elemis’ top-selling cleansing balm, then you know it’s essentially magic in a jar. Well, the brand worked their magic into a collection of skincare for men that’s also earning rave reviews. We’re not saying guys are impatient, but the fact that this facial wash promises fast-acting results is a huge bonus. Health-boosting ingredients like English oak bark, milk protein, spearmint and peppermint help to deeply purify skin, remove impurities and daily pollutants, and can even prevent ingrown hairs. All you need is a coin-sized amount of this cleansing gel, and you’re on your way to clean, fresh skin.

Pros

  • Removes impurities from deep in your pores
  • Leaves skin feeling refreshed
  • Helps prevent ingrown hairs
  • Good for all skin types

Cons

  • Pricier than drugstore or bar cleansers

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Sandalwood Full Size Kit With Shaving Brush Ecomm Via Theartofshaving.comvia merchant

Best shaving regimen for men

Art of Shaving Full Size Kit

Sure, you can slather any old shave gel on your face to clean things up, but if you’re looking to take shaving from routine to ritual, then this complete kit is an essential when buying skincare for men. In addition to a luxe shaving brush, you’ll receive a bottle of pre-shave oil formulated with olive and castor oils—allowing razors to easily glide over skin, preventing razor burn, nicks and bumps. A glycerin-infused shaving cream produces a rich foamy lather and prevents irritation.

Finally, a two-in-one balm/moisturizer has nourishing ingredients like shea butter to boost hydration, and grape seed extract to keep skin moisturized for up to eight hours after shaving. Speaking of shaving, here’s the difference between men’s and women’s razors.

Pros

  • Includes everything needed for the perfect shave
  • Reduces nicks, bumps and irritation
  • Protects and hydrates skin
  • Smells amazing (but also available in an unscented option)

Cons

  • More expensive than drugstore shave gels

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Best moisturizer for men

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Moisturizer

Did you know that applying SPF every day will actually help delay the aging process? This tried-and-true Kiehl’s moisturizer contains SPF 20, so you can get the protection you need without adding any extra steps to a routine (an important bonus when it comes to skincare for men). Dr. Zeichner advises applying SPF in the morning after a serum for all-day protection. If you don’t want to use a combination moisturizer, opt for the brand’s popular Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment along with one of these face sunscreens.

Pros

  • Moisturizes skin while protecting it from harmful UVA and UVB rays
  • Lightweight non-greasy formula
  • Vitamins C and E help sooth and soften skin

Cons

  • Not offered in an unscented formula

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Brightening Eye Cream Ecomm Via Harrys.comvia merchant

Best eye cream for men

Harry’s Brightening Eye Cream

If you’re looking for a little something extra to help get rid of those pesky under eye circles, then add an eye cream to your skincare routine. This ophthalmologist-tested affordable eye cream has a cool-feeling, fragrance-free formula that instantly brightens the appearance of dark circles. And with continued use, the formula’s seaweed and algae extracts help dark circles diminish over time. For guys looking to overhaul their entire routine, Harry’s offers a full skin care suite that includes everything needed to get skin in tip top shape.

Pros

  • Instantly brightens the appearance of dark under eye circles
  • Helps dark circles fade with continued use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Adds an extra step to your skincare routine

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Bliss Vitamin C Serum For Face Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best serum for men

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Serum

Dr. Zeichner recommends this serum, as it contains a stabilized form of vitamin C along with peptides to protect and strengthen the skin. It comes in an easy-to-use pump dispenser with no mess, and according to Dr. Zeichner, should be applied in the morning after you wash your face. Just be sure to add a moisturizer with SPF after applying. Want even more options? Check out these dermatologist-recommended vitamin C serums.

Pros

  • Expert recommended
  • Contains vitamin C and peptides, which protect and strengthen skin
  • Also contains glycerin to keep skin moisturized

Cons

  • Not specially formulated for men

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How we found the best skincare for men

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQs

Is men’s skincare important?

Yes. “Contrary to popular belief, men’s and women’s skin are not as different as you may think,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “There is no data showing that men’s skin is any less sensitive, less dry or less prone to sunburn than women’s skin.” Therefore, it is important that men protect their skin and prevent damage by establishing a basic skincare routine.

What makes men’s skincare different from women’s?

According to Dr. Zeichner, men usually have larger oil glands and produce more oil than women, so they need products to address those concerns. They also tend to have thicker hair on more body surface area. So rather than an extensive, multi-step skincare routine, he recommends a less is more approach.

How should men start a skincare routine?

According to Dr. Zeichner, “A basic skincare routine for men should include products that protect the skin and prevent damage in the morning.” Start with a good face cleanser. In the mornings, wash your face and then apply an antioxidant face serum and sunscreen. In the evening you want to hydrate and repair. He suggests using a cleanser, followed by a moisturizer with collagen-stimulating ingredients like retinol. You can even try one of these anti-aging creams.

Source:

  • Joshua Zeichner, MD, Associate Professor and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City

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Marisa Hillman
Marisa is a freelance writer and product expert covering product reviews, gift guides, and sales for RD.com. She is a former educator turned professional shopper dedicated to finding the best sales and products on the market. When she's not on deadline, she can be found exploring the East Coast or curled up at home with her nose in a book. She lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two dogs.