A Skincare Guide for Beginners

Why a Basic Skincare Routine Matters for Men

While the skincare industry has largely catered its marketing and products to women, skincare for men is just as important because neglecting your skin's health will lead to acceleration in skin aging, acne, and other complications. Skincare products for men can provide important functions including protection from environment damage, boosting skin hydration, and nourishing your skin with essential nutrients. By following a proper basic male skincare routine, men are able to maintain healthy-looking skin, reduce wrinkles, and reverse signs of aging or stress. Below are the essentials that need to consider when starting a men skincare routine:

How to start

1. Identify skin problems you want to address

Chances are you're reading this because you want to understand what is entailed to start taking care of your skin. Perhaps you just want general skincare upkeep but skin conditions can also vary tremendously person to person and the right skincare products to try will depend on your skin's condition as well as the condition's severity. Some examples include:

  • Avoiding oil-based skincare products if you have oily skin
  • Looking for products that are non-pore clogging (non-comodogenic) if you're prone to blackheads
  • Finding products that include retinol to fight aging and signs of stress on your face

If your skin conditions are severe or seem to require deeper intervention, please consult a dermatologist for a medical professional's opinion as well as potential access to prescription-grade treatments.

  1. Keep it simple and easy to commit

The most important thing to keep in mind when having a successful men skincare routine is to actually do it routinely, if not every day. There is no point in buying tons of skincare products only to have complicated routines that are too cumbersome to execute on days with little time. Establishing the habit of skincare is a long-term commitment that doesn't need to be rushed and in fact should start as simple as possible in order to maintain consistency. Starting off with a basic skincare routine also allows you to accurately observe which products are leading to right results for your face.

We recommend starting off with 2-step routine of 1) face wash and 2) moisturize, ideally done twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening before bed or after showering.

  1. Face wash
    • Why is face washing important? Our faces are constantly bombarded by particles, radiation, dust, and pollutants as we go about our day and especially if we spend time outside. Such buildups can lead to skin irritation and clogging of pores which can form into acne. Bacteria and other harmful elements can also cause further damage on the skin over time if not properly removed.
    • How to face wash. Apply warm water on your face to open up your pores and prepare them for cleaning. Then spread and lightly lather a coat of face wash product across your face. Rinse off the face wash shortly after with water and dry with a cloth. Directions may differ slightly depending on instructions provided by the face wash product.
  2. Moisturize
    • Why is moisturizing important? While washing your face removes impurities, dirt, and bacteria that may have lingered on your skin, it also removes essential oils and protective layers your body naturally produces. Without those protective layers your facial skin is actually more vulnerable to further environmental damage. Moreover, stripping oil from your face causes your body produce excess oil to overcompensate. Moisturizers can help rebuild essential protection and nutrients your face needs as well as keep your body's oil production under control. The right moisturizer will also have additional features that address key needs your skin has such as retinol (key anti-aging ingredient) and aloe vera (effective anti-inflammatory).
    • How to moisturize. After drying your face post-face wash, gently coat a light layer of moisturizer cream on your face. Make sure the cream is rubbed in effectively and that there aren't any residual white marks on your face.
  3. BONUS: SPF sunscreen (daytime only). If you intend to spend time outside while exposed to the sun's rays, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND also applying some SPF sunscreen to reduce the harm posed by the sun's UV light. The sun's rays are one of the largest sources of skin aging and damage so we suggest regular application of it every few hours unless you plan to spend most of your day indoors.

Comments (10)

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Oct 6, 2021 - 8:53am

Just to get it out there, if I see one more Patrick Bateman overused joke / reference on here, I swear...

Oct 6, 2021 - 11:38am
royalyell0w, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm female, so I've got lots of experience in great drugstore skin products. I absolutely love the Cetaphil/CeraVe brand. I can get a bottle of gentle skin cleanser for oily or dry skin for under $15 that lasts a month, and SPF oil control moisturizer for under $10.

Neutrogena is overpriced, Biore is overpriced and fucks your skin up. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

Jun 22, 2022 - 9:21am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One of my friends turned me on to the Regenerist line from Oil of Olay. While it's not the absolute cheapest out there, I get mine from WalMart and it's all very reasonably priced. But most importantly, I have seen a difference in my skin, there is no doubt this stuff works. There are quite a few to choose from in the Regenerist line, but take a look at the "peptide" offering (or maybe it's "collagen peptide"). It works for me and the packaging on it is not as "girly" as the other ones. 

  • 1
Most Helpful
Oct 6, 2021 - 5:20pm
ThatOtherGuy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I really appreciate the contrasting view. I'm not against sun exposure at all but do lean towards the side of applying sunscreen when extensively outside which is widely supported by the general skincare community. 

To your point on less-is-more, it seems like you really found your right balance through trial-and-error which at the end of the day is the real way to get to what the right answer is for yourself. However, since the "right" skincare routine for each person can vary so much and can be anything from doing almost nothing to a daily 7-stepper, I wrote this guide with the purpose of trying to balance the idea of getting the generally-accepted essentials down while getting people who have no routine at all into habituating something simple. 

It's a tough balance for sure and it's hard to generalize skincare when skin types are all over the place but for people who are thinking "how do I create a starting structure?" I figure what I have here can be a starting point for them in a very personal journey. 

Created a 1-step skincare solution for men. Purchase + reviews appreciated:


  • 5
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 6, 2021 - 5:22pm

Highly recommend everyone to watch some Hyram on YouTube. Has an extensive and in depth skincare content collection, his recommendations have always been great

Oct 7, 2021 - 5:42pm
financeabc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am kind of lazy when it comes to skin care but have been using moisturizers for a long time.  Over the past couple of years, I have been using an oil based shampoo with potassium hydroxide to wash my face.  I have also been using retinol to moisturize my face.  For the first time in my life ( I have been around for a while), I am able to grow a decent gotee.  I usually grow it for 3 days and take it off.  I attribute it to the one or more of the products I mentioned.  

  • 2
Jun 22, 2022 - 4:48am
canterlot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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