You may not be a "product junkie," but certain skin and hair care products are essential to every man's well-stocked medicine cabinet. Here's a look at what you need -- and why you need them.
"We all -- men as well as women -- want to have softer skin, shinier hair, whiter teeth, and to age gracefully," says Dana Persia, owner of DP Image Consulting in Philadelphia. "And now it's more acceptable for men to pay attention to these things."
Good grooming items -- which include both skin care products and hair care products -- are among the most popular-selling items on the male lifestyle webshop On-the-Fly.com, says president and founder Ami Arad.
Skin Care and Hair Products: They Don't Have to Cost a Lot
Men are more open to skin care and hair products in order to look younger and fitter, says Arad. "They may not want to spend a lot on the products, but they are willing to move beyond what they can find in the grocery store."
You don't have to break the bank to find skin care and hair products that work well for you, says Persia. "You're not going to stock your shelves for $20, but for $100 you can have all the essentials."
A more expensive product isn't necessarily better, says Persia. She points out that one of her favorite skin care products is a relatively inexpensive cleanser that is available at any drugstore.
On the other hand, she adds, companies that produce some of the more expensive skin care and hair products often invest much more in research and development. They apply science to the products they produce, such as creating skin care products that fight free radicals.
Must-Have Skin Care Products for Men
"Most men have the very basic grooming essentials in their medicine cabinets: deodorant, soap, shampoo," says Nada Manley, author of Secrets of the Beauty Insiders. "But it's just as critical for men to take care of their skin as it is for women."
Men may not be used to using facial moisturizers, for example. But it's an important part of any skin care regimen, says On-the-Fly.com's Ami Arad, "if you don't want to have a beat-up, leathery face."
Few men want to devote a lot of time to skin care, says Manley. So it's essential to find multipurpose products that do the job with a minimum of time and hassle. Sunscreen is the single most important element in any skin care routine, she suggests. That's because it can be a lifesaver as well as a looks-saver.
Joyce Carboni, founder and director of Skinsational Spa in San Diego, suggests minimizing the wear-and-tear of daily shaving with certain shaving products. A shave brush, for example, is a great addition to skin care. It will help with an even application of shaving cream on each whisker, says Carboni. Both Persia and Arad recommend brushes made from badger hair.
Choose a shaving cream over a gel to use with your shaving brush. Creams offer a better, thicker lather, which creates a barrier against cuts. "Look for one with natural moisturizing and soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera," says Carboni.
Carboni also suggests trying an electric razor instead of a blade razor. While shaving blades can dull after 4 or 5 uses, electric razors last much longer, and reduce the chances of any cuts. "Electric razors force the whisker up above the skin line, where it can be cut easily," Carboni says.
In addition to shaving products, the following skin care products should be in every man's bathroom, says Manley:
- Sunscreen for body
- Moisturizer with SPF/antioxidants for daytime
- Moisturizer with retinol for nighttime
- Eye cream
- Lip balm
- Light hand lotion
- Blemish gel
- Shower gel
Don't forget an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells, as well as nose hair clippers and tweezers, and a styptic pencil, says Persia.
Must-Have Hair Care Products for Men
Manley's list of recommended hair products for men is shorter than that for skin care products -- but no less essential. It includes:
- Conditioner (if hair is dry)
- Hair styling product
Jet Rhys, owner of the Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego, suggests that a clarifying shampoo is an essential for anyone who uses heavy styling hair products on a regular basis. He suggests using this type of hair product once a week to get rid of buildup. It also helps to restore softness and shine. A wide-tooth comb is a good choice for getting out knots after the shower. It's less damaging than a brush on wet hair, which is particularly vulnerable to damage.
For men specifically, Rhys recommends both a conditioner and a styling cream. "Conditioner replenishes moisture in your hair," says Rhys, and that helps prevent dried-out strands and split ends. "Leave it on for 3 to 4 minutes for best results." Styling cream is a great finishing product that gives hair a natural, lived-in look, says Rhys, who adds that you should use less of it if you have fine hair.