Men have notoriously been shy about using beauty products. Understandably so. From packaging to product design, imagery in magazines and billboards to beauty vlogs, men can often feel that beauty and everything else that comes with it is a completely female dominated world. A world which has been created for and around women. However, this isn’t so. It really isn’t true.
Our philosophy has always been and will always be, that skin is skin. Skin functions and reacts in the same way regardless of gender, regardless of race and regardless of culture.
Facial hair aside, whilst men tend to produce more sebum after puberty and therefore tend to have oilier skin in their early 20’s, the overall functioning of male skin isn’t vastly difference to that of the ladies out there. After all, men have skin on their bodies and faces too!
The Korean beauty industry are all too aware that men have the same skin concerns as women. Wrinkles, darks spots, acne, dull skin, the list is endless. It’s just that the menfolk have been rather hesitant about voicing it.
Therefore, K Beauty always at the fore, have formulated products which men use quite openly, because once empowered with the knowledge and the correct tools to attain and maintain healthy, glowing, fresh vibrancy to your complexion, your routine flows like crystal-pure water nimbly rolling down a mountain into a sparkling-blue ocean.
With that in mind, us male counterparts at Glowtime have assembled a step-by-step routine, giving our fellow brothers a helping hand when it comes to looking sharp.
STEP 1: THE DOUBLE CLEANSE
Use your oil cleanser to melt away oil, sebum, sunscreen and pollution. Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to use oil to cleanse, remember oil and water don’t mix. So, what better way to remove oily impurities from your face than an oil cleanser which gently pulls out oil-based debris without disturbing your skin’s natural barrier.
Follow with a water-based cleanser to gently wash away the sweat and dirt of the day and any remaining water-based impurities without stripping the skin.
What It Does: Removes oil-based and water-based impurities and bacteria.
When To Use: Morning and night in circular motions.
If you shave, shave after this step. After your double cleanse, skin is clean and fresh and the water and oil cleanser and the warm water used for rinsing your face will have softened up your hairs, allowing you to achieve a much smoother, closer and cleaner shave.
STEP 2: EXFOLIATE
If you shave, remember, shaving is a form of exfoliation. You should exfoliate after shaving and not before as exfoliating before weakens the skin and increases your chances of shaving related irritation.
Exfoliating is an excellent way to treat stubborn ingrown hairs. For those with beards and moustaches, physical exfoliators are better. These are abrasive scrubs which generally contain rice, sugar, salt to physically slough off dead, dull skin cells to reveal fresher, youthful skin underneath.
For those without facial hair, chemical exfoliants such as AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids) will suffice. Think of chemical exfoliants as melting away the glue that binds skin cells together, unclogging and clearing pores. Skin cells on the surface are melted away and washed off leaving soft peachy skin in its wake.
What It Does: Physical scrubs refine the surface of the skin polishing and smoothing. Chemical exfoliants can penetrate deep into pores and can remove the thick build-up of dead skin helping skin to look younger and refined. All exfoliators prepare the skin to allow for easier absorption of following products.
When To Use: Twice a week.
STEP 3: TONER
Especially for those who shave, toner will balance your skin’s pH, hydrating it and removing any stray hairs, shaving cream or other impurities that may be left from shaving. Skin is now prepped for the nourishing goodness which is to follow.
STEP 4. SPOT TREATMENT
Acne and spots are not gender specific! Men and women alike fall prone to the dreaded pimple. Acne prone skin can choose to use specific treatments targeting those pesky blemishes. Use a power liquid directly on the spot or a discreet transparent pimple patch.
What It Does: Targets pesky pimples.
When To Use: Whenever a spot is forming.
STEP 5: ESSENCE
Essences have a consistency halfway between a toner and a serum. They are watery lotions which contain a high concentration of active ingredients targeting specific skin concerns.
What It Does: A very lightweight moisturiser which hydrates and strengthens skin.
When To Use: Morning and night.
STEP 6: TREATMENTS (SERUMS & AMPOULES)
This is where things get serious. Specific skin concerns are targeted with the highest concentration of active ingredients. Anything from dull skin to fine lines, acne to blackhead elimination, all those woes are addressed at this stage.
Serums are slightly thicker in texture and are of a higher concentration of actives compared to essences.
Ampoules are the heavyweights of actives delivering an intense shot of active ingredients to blast away those skin troubles. Plus, they are of thicker consistency than serums too.
What It Does: Delivers an intense dose of the most concentrated form of an ingredient to skin to target skin concerns.
When To Use: Morning and night. Pat a small amount onto the face and neck.
STEP 7: SHEET MASK
For all those who want a killer Instagram-able selfie now’s the chance to take one. Sheet masks, whilst they may seem like a relatively new innovative invention, have been used by the Koreans throughout the ages. Whilst the materials used in sheet masks nowadays have become more sophisticated, the principles remain the same-using a thin sheet of, (back then it was paper) cotton or bio-cellulose to push moisture and concentrated ingredients deep into the skin through prolonged contact. So sit back, relax and let the sheet mask do all the hard work.
What It Does: Delivery of moisture and concentrated active ingredients to the skin through prolonged contact.
When To Use: Twice a week. Sit back, sheet mask and relax!
STEP 8: MOISTURISER
This stage should be no stranger to anyone’s bathroom shelf. Moisturisers seal in all the nutrients that have been pumped into the skin keeping skin hydrated and plump.
What it does: Locks in moisture and is the final barrier sealing all the goodness that has been absorbed into the skin.
When to Use: Morning and night.
STEP 9: SUNCREEN
Sun is your enemy when it comes to most skin concerns. Wrinkles? Pigmentation? Dullness? Dehydration? All down to sun exposure.
Because of shaving men’s skin tends to be more susceptible to sun damage. Whilst many Mauritian men (and women for that matter) are not used to wearing sunscreen every day, if we had to choose just one item to use for the rest of our lives it would be sunscreen.
Sun’s UV rays are so damaging it makes sense to protect and preserve what we have rather than address skin problems when they crop up. By then the damage is done.
What it does: Protects the skin from harmful Ultraviolet rays from the sun.
When to Use: Morning.
STEP 10: SLEEPING MASK
Like a more conventional mask, sleeping masks are slathered onto the skin at night but the results they produce are like no other. The hint’s in the name-they literally do all the hard work whilst you sleep and there is no need to rinse them off in the morning. Just cleanse as usual when you wake.
They are face masks times 10 and really produce plump, fresh awakened skin in the morning. Whilst we sleep, skin is said to regenerate and repair itself, but also lose a lot of moisture. With the help of a sleeping mask, moisture loss is dramatically reduced and optimal conditions for skin rejuvenation are achieved. Wake up looking like you really have had 8 hours of sleep.
What It Does: Hydrates and prevents water loss ensuring that the previous 9 steps don’t go to waste!
When to Use: 2-3 times a week at night as the last step in your skincare routine.
Last tip, when it comes to applying products onto your face, do so in a downwards direction. Although shaving upwards may give you a closer shave, it increases the risk of nicks, cuts and ingrown hairs. Therefore, it is recommended that men shave downwards in the direction of hair growth to reduce irritation. Product application is the same. Down all the way. Alternatively, for those with shorter facial hair, patting products into the face is an even gentler method as it avoids tugging onto the skin.
So, there you have it. Skincare routine breakdown for men- level achieved.
You have no excuse to be reaching for your shower gel to wash your face anymore. Your skin will truly thank you for taking the time to invest and care for it. Your skin is an indicator of your state of mind and your state of well-being. Take the first step into the Korean world of skin and trust in the technology and innovation that has put South Korea at the front of the beauty industry.