why is it so hard to convince men to wash their faces …..why do they think skincare is for women…..please, your skin cells are suffocating underneath their own dead brethren and you must exfoliate them….free them
The day we covered Men’s Skincare in school was the day I remember as The Eternal Cringe. Maybe it was the slightly outdated, pandering textbook entry, maybe it was the concept of gendered skincare, maybe it was the annoyed look on everyone’s faces when I voiced my opinion. I don’t know. But something about it bothered me so damn much that I’m still bothered enough to write a blog post about it, one year later.
“Men’s Skincare” as a concept is rooted mostly in unnecessary gender separation, in my opinion, and has little scientific foundation. While it’s true that men’s skin tends to be thicker and oilier, I don’t think that warrants a whole different genre in the skincare world. I think it’s just another skin type-thicker and more oily, oily, normal, combo, dry, dehydrated. Skin is skin, no matter who wears it, and we all need to take care of it. It is an organ and deserves to be treated as such. Caring for your skin is a component of hygiene and who the hell doesn’t need to be hygienic?
I think by gendering skincare, we complicate things. We make good skincare harder to attain because instead of shopping by our skin’s needs, we’re shopping by gender. For example, the Nivea For Men moisturizer is a SUPER makeup primer and moisturizer. Nikkie Tutorials discovered it because she forgot her own moisturizer and had to use her boyfriend’s. How many people could be benefiting from this product but will never try it because it’s “for men?” How many women could be saving money by using men’s products? How many men are using the wrong ingredients for their skin because those ingredients are in “women’s skincare” products? How many men are letting their skin suffer because they believe skin care is “for women?”
And that right there is where the “Men’s Skincare Market” came from. In an attempt to get men to care for their skin, they made products “for men.” They added “masculine” scents which do no one’s skin any favors, they put it in different packaging, they attach ridiculous descriptions to their products to make men feel more manly by using their products. My husband’s body wash, for example:
What the actual fuck does any of that even mean? It inspires a certain aesthetic, sure, and it’s funny as hell to read when you’re stuck in the bathroom without your phone. But isn’t the point of product labels to describe the product, how to use it, and what it’s supposed to do for your skin?
I’m using a men’s body wash label as an example because my husband doesn’t use men’s skincare. So, although I have plenty of skincare products to use in comparison, I’ll use my body wash to keep things consistent:
It doesn’t make much sense, does it? How does the men’s product help them make an informed decision and buy a product that contains the ingredients needed to address their concern? Instead of trying to make “women’s” skincare more “masculine”, why not make skincare universal and without gender? Because that’s what it is.
Here are the facts on men’s skin needs:
- Typically have larger sebaceous glands
- Typically have oilier skin
- Irritation from shaving the delicate facial skin is a concern
- Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) pseudofolliculitis (razor bumps), and ingrown hairs are issues
That’s it. So judging from this list, men simply need products (in general) that are water-based as opposed to oil-based, and should use less irritating ingredients. Have you read a men’s skincare label? So many irritating ingredients are used in high concentrations in the name of being masculine, rugged, etc. Aftershave, for example, has a high concentration of simple alcohol, which we know dries out the skin. Which is the last thing you want to do after shaving. And don’t get me started on all the men’s 2-in-1 products.
Once again it all comes down to ingredients. Do not assume that men’s skincare is what you need because you have men’s skin. Do not assume that men’s skincare shouldn’t be incorporated into your routine because you have women’s skin. Learn what your skin needs and shop for that. And again, the best skincare routine is the one you’ll use.
If you’re a lady, what gems have you found in men’s skincare? If you’re a man, would you be willing to try “women’s” products if it meant better results? Let me know in the comments below!