Skincare routines are fundamental for taking care of the largest organ of your body—your skin! Yet as we see more men becoming interested and invested in their skin’s health, we’ve realized that many are looking for more information on how to build a skincare routine, whether that’s how to choose the best products or how to establish habits that stick.
If a skincare routine is new and uncharted territory or if you’re just looking for some tips to improve a routine you already have, you’ve come to the right place.
Why a Skincare Routine Is So Important
Our skin plays many roles, from protecting our inner body to impacting our self-esteem, yet we don’t always give it its due credit or attention. A daily skincare routine is one of the best ways we can promote our skin’s quality, strength and health. It’s like an exercise routine or a healthy diet—it’s something you can do for your body on a regular basis that keeps you feeling and looking your best. Multiple studies have estimated that extrinsic factors such as UV exposure, diet and (yup) daily skincare habits account for 80% of visible signs of skin aging, while intrinsic factors (genetics, stress, one’s overall health) account for just 20%.
Everyone’s skin is different, but there are certain fundamentals that every skincare routine should include. Once you know the basic principles, you can add to it or adjust it depending on specific skin needs or goals. Our general philosophy is to stick with a few products that are simple to use and yield powerful results. If it’s easy to accomplish and you see the benefits, you’re more likely to keep it going over time.
The “routine” part of skincare routine deserves attention too. Taking care of your skin is something that should be done consistently. There are several pitfalls to avoid, including incompatible products and overly complicated schedules. All of these can lead to inconsistency, which is one of the biggest killers of a guy’s skincare routine. Studies show you’ll have a better chance of maintaining a healthy habit if you do it at the same time and in the same place. So, pick times of day that work best—maybe after a shower—and do your grooming routine then. Also try to do it in the same place, be it at home, work, or the gym.
Last but certainly not least, the order in which you use products in your routine matters. The underlying reason is that you want to give each product its best chance of penetrating your skin and having its intended effect. Even if your routine involves 3 products, you want to make sure you keep this in mind.
Building Your Skincare Routine
You can break any skincare routine into four categories: Clean, Smooth, Moisturize, and Protect. While the exact products that go into each category should depend on your skin type, the categories will remain the same. It should also be said that some products can cover two of these categories in one step (many of ours do just that), but be sure to cover each category in one fashion or another.
You probably already know some things about your skin type, like if it tends to be oily, dry, a combination of the two, sensitive and/or prone to certain issues like ingrown hairs or blackheads. If you want help determining your skin type and customizing your product selection, please reach out to us and we can help. In the meantime, here are some general tips for building your routine.
Every skincare routine starts with a cleanser. The purpose is to remove dirt, sweat, excess oil and other residue.
You’ll want to clean your face twice a day: after you wake up in the morning to clear off the residue accumulated while you were sleeping, and at the end of the day to wash off everything that collected during the day. You don’t need to clean your face more often than that unless you sweat heavily, for example during exercise. In that case, you should wash your face promptly afterwards because leaving sweat on your skin can lead to irritation.
Cleaning your face helps you to feel fresh and prevents the buildup that can lead to breakouts. It’s important as the first step in your skincare routine so your skin is a clean slate for the next products you apply.
The main thing to keep in mind about washing your face? Be gentle. No matter your skin type, you’ll want to find a cleanser that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like alcohol, which dries out your skin. Use your fingertips, not a washcloth, to apply your cleanser. If your cleanser has effective ingredients, you shouldn’t need to scrub - doing so will simply irritate your skin and possibly break the tiny capillaries underneath. Use lukewarm water to rinse and (gently!) pat your face dry.
Smooth is what we’re calling the category in between Cleanse and Moisturize. The truth is that there are many different types of products that you could choose to use here to improve the health and appearance of your skin. This part of your skincare routine can be dedicated to tackling your specific skincare issues and may change depending on whether it's part of your morning or nighttime routine. The best way to talk about this step is through examples.
Let’s say you tend to wake up with puffy eyes. Now is the time to apply an under-eye serum to help cool and depuff that area. If you tend to have dull skin or hyperpigmentation (i.e. dark spots), you may want to consider a Vitamin C serum. If you have dry skin, use an extra hydrating serum. Or perhaps you have blackheads or ingrown hairs. In that case you will want to consider either a physical or chemical exfoliant to clear away the buildup of dead skin. In most cases, we recommend serums to brighten and hydrate in the morning and exfoliants at night.
Next we moisturize! Maybe it seems contrary to intuition, but all skin types benefit from moisturizing--even oily skin. We lose water through our skin constantly. A moisturizer locks in some of that water so our skin has an easier time staying hydrated, which is essential to its ability to function but also to its healthy and full appearance. Think about the difference between a raisin and a grape. Wrinkles and lines are accentuated when our skin is dehydrated.
Now, choosing the right moisturizer will depend on your skin type and the conditions your skin is exposed to. If you have dry skin or your environment is dry, say in winter, you’ll want something heavier that imparts more nourishing oils. (Here are some additional tips if you’re dealing with dryness.) On the flip side, if you have oily skin or it’s humid outside, you’ll want something lighter.
Finally, we need to protect our skin from the elements. The BIG one here that we’re all exposed to, all year round, is the sun. Exposure to UV rays contributes to skin damage, premature signs of aging and a higher risk of skin cancer. Hence, UV protection is an absolute must as part of your morning skincare routine. If you think daily SPF doesn’t apply to you, be sure to read this article about common sunscreen misconceptions next.
In this step in your morning routine, you’ll want to use a face sunscreen and an SPF lip balm that’s made to protect the very delicate skin of your lips. (If your day includes more full body exposure to the sun, your SPF routine needs to extend beyond your face.) We make daily face moisturizer with SPF so you can accomplish moisturizing and sun protection in one go.
Build Your Routine with Oars + Alps
We’re strong believers that a skincare routine should work for you, not the other way around. Your products should be easy to apply, undoubtedly effective and, dare we say, enjoyable to use. We aim to provide all of these using powerful, naturally derived ingredients and thoughtfully designed products that fit easily into your day.
Different products work better for different body chemistries, so don’t settle for products that cause redness, irritation or unnecessary dryness. You’ll reduce your chance of having a reaction by choosing products that are free of harsh chemicals. The right products can help you prevent some of the most common grooming problems.
If you want to discuss building a routine that works for your skin, that is exactly what we’re here for. Get in touch! Or if you’re ready to get started, begin building your routine (with some discounts and free samples!) here.
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