Grooming

Keep It Clean: Get a Face Cleanser for Men 

The most basic skincare step is something everybody needs, and there are plenty of options. Here’s a guide to the many ways to wash your face so you can pick the best one for you; make it a New Year’s resolution to never go to bed with an unwashed face again 
IMAGE Nivea, Burt's Bee, Aveeno
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No matter where you may find yourself on the vanity spectrum, we can all agree that hygiene is a basic need—so the first step toward building any kind of regimen is simply to keep things clean, starting with picking out the best face cleanser for men. 

Unfortunately, this is around the time when it can start getting complicated, as not all cleansers are created equal. There are many different types of cleansers out there, just as every face and skin type has its array of needs. The key would be to familiarize yourself with your skin, how it responds, and your sensitivities, then figure out which cleansing method could work best for you. 

Skincare can be a matter of trial and error, and it may take a bit of patience, diligence, and consistency before you see results. But you could own as many pairs of jeans or sneakers or suits or watches, whatever your thing may be, and yet you only have one face, so it’s definitely worth investing in. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started. 

First: Check the pH balance. 

Here’s a refresher of your high school chemistry class: the pH (potential hydrogen) scale measures acidity and alkalinity on a scale of zero to 14. Anything below seven is acidic, anything above seven is alkaline; water, which has a pH balance of seven, sits in the middle and is perfectly neutral. 

Healthy skin is on the more acidic scale of the spectrum, with a pH of 5.5. It’s important to keep skin within this area to preserve the so-called “acid mantle,” which retains moisture and wards off infection. If skin leans toward the alkaline side, it will get dry and wrinkly, but if it’s too acidic, it becomes red and irritated. All you really need to remember is that 5.5 is the magic number, so if you’re getting a tight, squeaky-clean feeling to the point where it kind of hurts to smile right after washing your face, it’s a bad thing. 

Next: Choose a cleanser type. 

Now that you know what you’re aiming for, choose a face cleanser for men that won’t mess around too much with your pH balance. Here are a few options: 

1| Soap

The choice of the low-maintenance (read: lazy) man, what could be easier than using the exact same thing on your face that you already use on the rest of your body? We’re not totally against lathering up some suds between your palms and then slapping that on your cheeks before rinsing off in the shower—hey, it’s better than nothing. But bar soap is notoriously among the most alkaline products out there, so choose a soap that’s made especially for your face. 

 Aveeno Moisturizing Facial Cleansing Bar 

Photo by Aveeno.

2| Face Wash 

If you’re ready to graduate out of bar soap territory, choose a soap-free cleanser that’s formulated specifically for your face. It works the exact same way that soap does, so there’s no need to be intimidated—squeeze a few drops on your fingers, rub together until you get a nice lather, massage it into your skin for a few rounds, and you’re done. 

Sebamed Liquid Face and Body Wash

Photo by Sebamed.

3| Cleansing Oil 

If your skin is on the dry side, switching to an oil cleanser could be your ultimate savior. It will provide you with a super-charged dose of hydration and get rid of any other products that might be sitting on your face (like if you’re outdoors often and wear a lot of sunscreen). It may sound counter-intuitive, but cleansing oils can work for oily and acne-prone skin, too, as it’s a gentler clean that makes use of fewer surfactants, those foaming agents that can end up irritating skin. 

Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil

Photo by Burt's Bee.

4| Face Wipes 

Here’s the solution for the man on-the-go, a quick fix on the road, something to stash in your car or gym bag any time you need to freshen up. Fast, easy, and you don’t even need a sink nearby for a rinse. Many of these are scented and come with skin-caring ingredients for that added boost, but best if you treat this as a temporary fix and not a substitute for real washing entirely. 

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes

Photo by Simple.

5| Micellar Water 

You might have spotted a bottle of this in your girlfriend’s bathroom and were pretty intrigued, so go ahead and give it a try. This mystery substance can be a face cleanser for men too—it’s formulated with micelles, which act like magnets to draw dirt out of your pores. Soak a cotton ball in it and run it all over your face (the visible gunk you remove might shock you), or spray directly on skin and wipe off with a tissue. You’ll understand why she loves the stuff so much. 

Nivea Acne Clear MicellAir Cleanser

Photo by Nivea.

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