That’s right, real men wear moisturizer. I hear this phrase a lot: “I know I am opening Pandora’s box but I have a skin care question.” I hear it from both men and women. Winter is cold and dry and it can be really rough on your body's biggest organ: your skin. Men are no exception. I am going to give you a run down basic and some not so basic skin care products to help you through winter. I have personally used all of these products and they can be purchased from Amazon, Sephora, or Ulta.
Ultra Hand Moisturizer
Weleda Skin Food is the ultimate cream for really moisturizing chapped hands. It can also be used sparingly on the face as a replacement for a rich deep moisturizer but if you’re prone to getting clogged pores this may not be the best idea. It’s also great for around the nose or above the lip curing cold season and I find it stays on longer than aquaphor or vaseline. There’s also a facial balm and a lighter version of the body cream. The french brand Avene Cicalfate Hand Cream is also nice and I have a Neutrogena Norwegain Formula Hand Cream bottle in a drawer, which has an aquaphor like consistency and has it’s uses. But Weleda is my favorite.
Neutrogena has a full line of products with hyaluronic acid and they’re very affordable. Acid sounds scary but in this case it’s a substance your body creates on it’s own to help you retain water and keep all your tissues moist. Often in the winter our body’s natural production just isn’t enough, though that doesn’t mean you don’t need a boost of hydration during other months too though. This face moisturizer is safe for very sensitive skin (for a while it’s all I could use until I switched to La Mer). There is also an eye gel in this line. Don’t use regular moisturizer on your eyes, the skin is thinner and more sensitive. You can also just buy a hyaluronic acid serum that you can use under any moisturizer you like. My absolute favorite product from this line is their hydrating masks. I buy them in bulk and always use one after being on a plane or in the hospital or anywhere the air is very dry. I can’t recommend these enough!!! I am going to refrain from offering up advice on other face moisturizers because it's so dependant on your skin's texture and PH. This gel works on everyone so it's what I feel confident telling anyone they can use.
Year Round Sunscreen
Yes, you need to wear your sunscreen year round, but probably only on your face. I will only be recommending mineral sunscreens not just to save the reefs but also because scientists are now concerned the chemically made sunscreen is potentially bad if too much gets absorbed into your bloodstream. That's very new research and it turns out that the oils in sunscreen are also bad for reefs, but all those chemicals are also terrible for sensitive skin. Neutrogena makes a sensitive skin face sunscreen I really like completely free of the bad chemicals: oxybenzone and it’s derivatives. SunBum makes a mineral face stick that is safe. Supergoop Supergoop Glow Sticks are safe and give you a fun glow. Supergoop Setting Powder is also a mineral sunscreen that can go on top of your makeup and easily can be reapplied. Their other products contain the harmful chemicals and I won't touch them. I personally use primers and foundations that have natural ingredient sunscreen in it. My favorites are Smashbox Halo, bareMinerals Prime Time, and Tarte Tinted BB Cream. Scarlett uses Aveeno Ultra Calming Moisturizer that has safe sunscreen in it every morning. I don’t let her leave the house without it on.
Facial Cleansers for All Types
I’m not going to lecture you on why you need to wash your face twice a day, unless you have very dry skin and don’t wear makeup (then only once a day). If you do wear makeup you need to wash once in the morning and twice at night.
Oily and Acne Prone: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Gel Cleanser
Super Sensitive Skin: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Makeup Remover Balm: Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
Makeup Removing Oil: Erno Laszlo Detoxifying Cleansing Oil
Deep Cleansing Bar: Erno Laszlo Famous Black Bar
I am a believer that this is a necessary step, especially in winter. Every night I apply La Mer Renewal Oil after my moisturizer. But it’s quite pricey and a fabulous alternative is the EVE LOM Radiance Face Oil. The superstars in the oil world are from Sunday Riley they include UFO Ultra-Clarifying Acne Oil, Juno Anti-Oxident Superfood Face Oil, CEO Glow with Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil, and then Luna Sleeping Night Oil with retinol in it, so use that one very carefully. Those last four range in price from $40-$100, and the La Mer is over $200, why? It’s what’s in them, organic, highly pressed and multiple ingredients. To get a less expensive oil you need to target a specific ingredient like Pixi Rose Oil Blend, Tarte Maracuja Oil, The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Morroccan Oil, The bad news is, there is no great way to know how your skin will react so I highly recommend you buy from Sephora or Ulta that have very generous return policies.
Inexpensive Skin Resurfacing
Aging in your skin is the result of lack of moisture, dead skin, and sun damage. These are some inexpensive products that have proven results. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane is a unicorn product that sells out quickly because it's a very gentle retinol that's under $10. Retinol is in the vitamin A family and it boosts collagen, improving fine lines. It can be very hard on your face an the squalane helps your skin absorb it. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA (hyaluronic acid) is a product that helps shed dead skin. This one is under $10 and also quite gentle with that added hyaluronic acid. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is an acid peel and that is almost as scary as it sounds. It works miracles and is under $8. Follow the directions (work your way up to that 10 mins, use sparingly (this is not a nightly treatment) and you’ll end up with baby soft skin, primed for moisturizer (and sunscreen). Interested in trying a less scary acid peel that comes with it’s own follow up moisturizer then look no further then the green cult brand Youth to the People Power of Dreams Kit. It's more gentle and for $24 for the combination of exfoliating toner (you leave this one on your skin overnight) and a cream moisture surge to balance is a major steal! I’d also recommend trying out the Inky List Holiday Heros variety pack, because they’re on the rise as inexpensive skin care all stars. I use their 15% Vitamin C from time to time.
For a more natural skin care routine I have a few suggestions. Try Sephora’s Pearl Mask with natural derivatives from pearl that brightens and moisturizes. This next one, Aztec Clay, I am justifying posting it because I have used it once and I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t amazing but I only used it once, it has over 6,000 positive reviews so other people must love it. Unfortunately, I don’t love any inexpensive scrubs. The reason they’re so expensive because of the ingredients and the process that makes the particles tiny and sharp. My husband uses the Dr. Ives Apricot Scrub which uses walnut particles and fruit antioxidants. The he follows up with First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream because it's really rough on his skin, but the combination is effective for him.
Expensive Skin Resurfacing
While there are tons of inexpensive products on the market that do lots of good stuff, these are my Holy Grail Products. You can scroll through if you want, body care is up next, but there might be a product or two here you’ll want to ask Santa to put in your stocking. My "be all and end all" of at home facials is the Erno Laszo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel. It became problematic with my current perimenopausal hormonal acne but now that I am on Retin-A it’s clearing up and this bad boy is coming out this weekend! It’s better than any professional facial I have ever had, especially if you really cleanse and use steam to open your pores. I follow up with Erno Laszo Hydrating Toner. Side note he was Marilyn Monroe’s dermatologist. That apricot scrub Pat uses is not my friend, Pat calls my Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion crushed diamonds, but it works. My face feels totally renewed. I also love Erno Laszo Pore Cleansing Clay Mask to clean out my pores.
It’s not a secret I use Creme De La Mer Moisturizing Creme at night. The 1 oz bottle lasts me about 3 months. I use the Soft Cream in the morning. I also use the Eye Concentrate, the Renewal Oil and the Revitalizing Serum. Nordstrom has two holiday sets the Glowing Hydration Set is a good deal on the moisturizer and eye cream and another one the Replenishing Moisture lets you test out 5 different products. As a side note if you read the bad reviews on La Mer products 50% of them are just complaints about the price not the actual product. I try and try and try other things. This line is a staple in basically every actress's routine for a reason. Try keeping them in a mini fridge in your bathroom for a nice cooling effect especially on your eyes.
I also have a great love for EVE LOM which I discovered at Harrods, it’s a British company. My top makeup remover + cleanser the EVE LOM Cleanser (get extra muslin cloths). It’s a whole beautiful facial experience. Their Radiance Face Oil is a much cheaper alternative to the La Mer. Their Time Retreat Essence is my favorite alternative to SK-II. They also make a gentle retinol product the Time Retreat Facial Treatment. Ulta has two sample kits right now that would give you a good feel for their products: the Travel Essentials and the Radiance Discovery.
Scrub, scrub, scrub away that dead skin! I use the Tree Hut Coffee and Sugar Scrub which is also sort of firming on my thighs. We’re not talking about plastic surgery results but it does make an impact. I have an Amazon subscription but it’s been out for months so I linked you to Ulta. Scarlett likes the Tree Hut Frosted Sugar Cookie Scrub, surprise, surprise. You’ll need to play around with how many times a week you should scrub. Your body wash matters too. You can completely suck the moisture out of your skin in the shower and then you must apply lotion as soon as you get out! I use L’Occitane Cleansing & Softening Shower Oil, it’s life altering. With this oil gel my skin can survive not having lotion as often. As for body lotions my favorites are the Sol De Janiero Brazillian Bum Bum Cream which is also is firming but I like the smell of the Coco Cabana Cream better. Scarlett uses the Honest Shampoo/Shower Gel and the Honest Lotion because it’s safe for her face as well. She likes all the scents but I prefer she use lavender at night because, in theory, it’s a calming scent. Pat uses Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash and Aveeno Sheer Hydration as his daily lotion. And I don't know if he'll admit it but he has definitely switched to washing his face with my Erno Laszlo Famous Black Bar in the shower.
Ok folks that’s all for now. Stay moisturized and protect your skin from that dry cold winter weather. Call me when the groundhog is out and I’ll throw out some spring/summer recommendations. Stay soft friends.
P.S. For those of you asking "Wait a min, where's the section on eye cream?" It's not there because I don't feel qualified to offer one. I've tried a lot and I really only like the one that I mentioned in my super expensive section. They say Vit C is good for dark circles, caffeine is good for puffiness, hyaluronic acid is good for dryness, retinol is good for fine lines. Insert shrug emoji here. My mother loves OLEHENRICKSON See Your Best Self C. I once used Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing & Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum it was pretty good but didn't do the 20 things it claims it does, now Pat's using it, but mostly because he uses my rejects and leftovers. I also used the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery which seemed fine but not life altering. I also the Tatcha The Silk Peony and didn't love the consistency so it'll end up on Pat's side of the bathroom eventually. Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream definitely is creamy and feels luxurious, but I think they've changed the formula since Bobbi Brown stopped owning Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. But that’s as far as I feel qualified to go with all that. Let me know if you use something you love.