ARE MEN THE NEW WOMEN?
I was rambling on about alpha hydroxy this and exfoliating that until I realized that my client, a mild mannered and fashionable CPA, was trying his best to be polite as his eyes glazed over with confusion. “Jack, are you still with me?,” I asked to break his stupor. “Not exactly, I think I lost you when you started talking about slapping some kind of acid on my face,” he replied, slightly embarrassed. Jack hit the nail on the proverbial head when he compared my explanation of skin care regimes to the effect his mechanic has on him when he recites chapter and verse on carburetors and spark plugs. Although they may not admit it, most guys are eager to keep their skin fit, they just don’t know where to start.
Male vanity is undoubtedly on the rise. They understand the importance of the ‘dress for success’ image in order to maintain their edge. Guys of all ages are more interested in taking care of themselves and indulging in image enhancing products, gadgets and treatments. However, they are less likely to grasp the concept of maintenance procedures; they prefer to get it over with in one shot. Once they dip a toe into the realm of non-surgical treatments like BOTOX®, wrinkle fillers and lasers and like the way they look, they will go back for more of a good thing. Don’t think for a minute that they’re doing it just for the scores of women in their lives. They’re doing it for themselves.
Starting a man on a skin care regimen or tweaking his existing one takes careful planning and subtle persuasion. Picking the right products can make the difference between becoming a heroine and causing a nuclear explosion. They may be sheepish about navigating the cosmetics department, but alternative shopping venues like the Internet, mall kiosks, airports, drug stores, and specialty shops offer essential advice on product selections that cater to their needs minus the frilly, fruity, and flowery stuff. For the real novice, think kits. Clarinsmen Starter Kit comes packed with four must-have products to get him going. Keep it simple and make their routine practically goof-proof. They don’t want to be bothered with too many products. Start small, with an edited regimen of basics – cleansing, protection, moisturizing, post shaving, and a weekly anti-clog treatment.
Most men don’t have a clue about their skin type or what works for them. They also require remedial assistance to use the right amount, or it can take a while for them to figure it out on their own. Either they slather it all over or use barely enough to get the job done. Recommend a ‘less is more’ approach. Suggest he start with a dab the size of a dime’s worth for cleansers and moisturizers, half that for hair gels to play it safe since the tendency is to overdo it. When it comes to sunscreen, if it came in a six pack they might actually use enough to cover all essential body parts.
A man’s skin is different. For starters, theirs is thicker which comes as no surprise to any female in the free world, approximately 0.5mm thicker than ours. Male skin is oilier, with larger pores, a richer blood supply, and more of a tendency to break out in a sweat, so the lucky dogs are less prone to wrinkling. They also have more hair all over their body, often in the most unappealing places, in case you haven’t noticed. Men seem to have hair follicles like women have fat cells. Gently suggest that the unsightly hairs sprouting from his nose and eyebrows might benefit from tweezing. When all else fails, make his vodka martini a double and clip any stray hairs while he sleeps.
Basically, guys get grimier and need deep cleansing daily. Make sure he avoids the temptation to reach for the Irish Spring in the shower. Deodorant soaps should never be used on the face because they can irritate skin and leave a sticky residue. Unless he’s a diehard soap on a rope kind of guy, sneak in something tangy like Anthony Logistics Glycolic Facial Cleanser. For the super lazy, multi-tasking products like for face, hair and body save steps. Areas prone to dryness need hydration, but lighter formulas prevail since men are by nature more greasy.
Beware that your moisturizer may have a very different effect on his face, and they are not always interchangeable. Besides, he is far less likely to reach for your sweet smelling day cream than you would be to slip into his custom dress shirt. Soothing eye gels work nicely for men, but rich eye creams that lock in moisture can make him look like he hasn’t slept for a month. For really bad binges, keep him well stocked in Molton Brown Eye Rescue Ultracool to jumpstart a killer day.
Skin that is shaved on a regular basis has a host of other problems, like red bumps, ingrown hairs and leathery patches. Razor burn can be reduced by using a good cleanser in the shower, a scrub every couple of days, and a softening shave cream with a sharp razor. Changing the blades at least once a week is vital. Kiehl’s Close Shave Squadron Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream gets a high approval rating. Beg him to skip the heavily fragrant after-shave products that can cause anyone trapped in an elevator to pass out. The problem of shine should be addressed by using a good scrub to turn over dead cells. The Art of Shaving Peppermint Facial Scrub has a little zing to it, and for blemishes, sneak in a weekly treatment product like DDF Pumice Acne Scrub. Adding a toner can reduce pore size, control oil slicks, and help avoid nasty ingrown hairs, but anything too harsh will strip away essential oils when the skin is most vulnerable and sensitive. Make sure he doesn’t splash on alcohol or glycolic acid right after shaving unless you’re royally pissed at him. Ouch!
Because men tend to be out and about more than most we are, they should be reminded to use a high SPF on all exposed skin, especially on the face, nose, ears and scalp. Sporty sunscreen in a stick wreaks of manliness like Zirh Face Stick SPF28. Don’t forget about his lips – stash a Jack Black Lip Balm SPF25 in his golf bag. Men have an increasing incidence of skin cancer, since they are less inclined to visit a Dermatologist for a full body check and more likely to scoff at the need for protection.
Guys are definitely taking more notice of the way they look in the mirror, and are getting into total grooming in a big way. It’s about time boys!