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Everything You Need To Know About Starting an Age-Defying Skincare Routine

In an iconic scene from the 1950 classic All About Eve, aging actress Margo Channing (played by Bette Davis), complains about the innate youthfulness of men:

“Bill’s thirty-two. He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he’ll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.”

Camp queen Davis, who was a master of self-presentation, should have punctuated that line with an asterisk, since she was probably referring to well-preserved men who take care of their skin. After all, our faces show visible signs of aging once we hit 25, and eventually time, stress, and gravity take their toll on our mugs, regardless of gender.

We hear you: Much like death and taxes, wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin are inevitable parts of life, but why not stave them off for a couple of decades with a solid skincare routine and high-quality grooming products? We’re not talking about going under the knife, just a simple, four-step regimen to apply morning and evening that will make you look instantly more handsome, and help you age gracefully for years to come. If you’re ready to commit, read on to learn more.

Step 1: Cleanser

Much like hopping in the shower, your facial ritual should start with soap to remove any gunk or residue. But please don’t use the same body wash for your mug. Don’t believe us? Take it from Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a New York-based dermatologist.

“Using an antiseptic body soap on your face can be aggravating,” Frank, author of The Pro-Aging Playbook, tells The Manual. “Since most men don’t wear makeup, they don’t need a strong soap. They should stick with a very gentle cleanser.”

Read more: The Best Face Washes for Men

Scotch Porter Restoring Face Wash

Scotch Porter Face Wash

Scotch Porter’s revamped face wash is gentle enough to clean all skin types, and also includes ingredients like blemish-fighting hyaluronic acid, and willow bark extract to combat acne.

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

This drugstore wash became a viral hit on TikTok thanks to Gen Z influencers, and it’s easy to see why: It’s affordable, effective, and features valuable ceramides (which are typically found in luxury grooming products) that help your face retain moisture.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser

Kiehl's Cleanser

Squalene and glycerin help hydrate your skin while washing. Plus, it’s unscented, which reduces the chances of irritation.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

Sunday Riley Cleanser

This Texan skincare brand has become an Instagram sensation for its luxurious products that work, and this cleanser, infused with French Green Clay and bentonite, is no exception.

Step 2: Serum

Most guys have probably never heard of serums beyond Venom (and no, it doesn’t turn you into a supervillain), but it’s arguably the most consequential part of your routine. A serum is thinner than a moisturizer, and it usually comes in a liquid formula that delivers a strong cocktail of active ingredients (the stuff that helps with wrinkles, acne, dark spots etc.) to your mug. The first step is finding the right one to address your skin concern. Here are some of our favorite ones.

Read more: The Best Serums for Men

Clarins Double Lipid Serum

Clarins face serum

Made with 21 plant extracts, Clarins’ signature serum addresses virtually any skin issue, whether it’s dryness, acne, or fine lines. That’s why we can’t stop giving it awards.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid and B5 Serum

the ordinary serum

Because serums are so potent, they’re typically the most expensive part of a grooming regimen, but The Ordinary, a purveyor of reasonably-priced products, has a comparatively affordable serum that contains Hyaluronic Acid, a super hydrating ingredient that keeps your skin looking extra supple.

Ghost Democracy Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum

Ghost Democracy Serum

Vitamin C is not just good for your immune system (hello, impending flu season), but it also helps wipe out dark spots and redness. Ghost Democracy’s serum contains an especially high dosage of Vitamin (18%) compared to other similarly priced products (usually around 10%), which means more value.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Super Anti-Aging Serum

Dr. Barbara Sturm Serum

The closest thing we’ve come across to botox in a bottle, Dr. Barabara Sturm’s uber luxe serum is packed with premium antioxidants like purslane (promotes skin rejuvenation) and skullcap (anti-inflammatory) so your skin can stay youthful for years to come.

Step 3: Eye Cream

Arguably your most prominent facial feature, your eye area is also the most sensitive skin on your face, which calls for a separate product. Whether you’re dealing with puffiness, dark circles, crow’s feet, or any combination of the three, these gels and creams have you covered. Under-eye masks are also useful for nourishing the skin underneath your eyes.

Read more: The Best Eye Creams for Men

Skinceuticals Age Eye Complex

Skinceuticals Age Complex

Skinceuticals’ entire line was designed by doctors, and this cream features a proprietary formula of fruit extracts and flavonoids that help reduce dark circles, and puffiness for less tired-looking peepers.

Lumin Dark Circle Defense Eye Cream

Lumin Dark Circle Defense

Vitamin B3 keeps skin tight, while lemon extracts treat discoloration — all at a fraction of the price of luxury skincare brands.

Dr. Loretta Tightening Eye Gel

Dr. Loretta Tightening Eye Gel

Works like an effortless Pilates class for your eyes, thanks to collagen-boosting algae extract and peptides, to leave your skin nice and taut.

Huron Cool and Tighten Eye Stick

Huron Eye Stick

This cooling gel features soothing botanical extracts, while the rollerball application also eases puffiness.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Yes, even for guys with oily skin, you need a moisturizer. Much like body lotions, using the right moisturizer helps maintain your face’s moisture so it doesn’t overproduce oil that can lead to breakouts (and yes, these still happen well past puberty). While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, in general, guys with dryer skin should stick to lotions with a higher oil concentration, while guys with combination or oily skin should opt for oil-free options.

Read more: The Best Moisturizers for Men

Lab Series Age Rescue Lotion

Lab Series Moisturizer

Lightweight yet ultra hydrating, Lab Series’ beloved moisturizer has just the right consistency for most skin types, and smells amazing.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Affordable, and paraben and fragrance free, Cetaphil’s lotion is a great option for guys with dry or acne-prone skin, thanks to its rich formula that won’t clog pores.

Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream

Versed Skincare Dew Point

This vegan moisturizer is gel-based, which means it’s the lightest of our selects and works well for men with oilier skin types.

Jaxon Lane Rain or Shine SPF Moisturizer

Jaxon Lane Rain or Shine Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30

For daytime, SPF is a requisite. After all, sun exposure is the leading cause of premature aging, and Jaxon Lane’s SPF-infused moisturizer has you covered. Best of all, it doesn’t leave a white cast, and includes calming ingredients like ginseng and licorice root to help reduce redness.

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