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We collected the best skin care products for men in 15 categories, because at GQ, we cover every skin care topic under the sun. We’ve done deep dives on ingredients, from hydrating hyaluronic acid to complexion-smoothing niacinamide to pore-clearing salicylic acid. We’ve talked about specific categories (like the best serums) and told how to solve specific problems (like best cleansers for sensitive skin, and best aftershaves). We’ve even got an SPF explainer and picks for the best sunscreens for your face. Literally everything under the sun, in this case.
But we wanted to condense it all in one place: The best skin care for men. A regimen you can build from the ground up for better skin for the rest of your life—or maybe just a new product or brand to help round out a routine you already love. Here are some of our newest favorites longtime standbys—all practically guaranteed to make you just a little more handsome.
The Best Moisturizer with SPF
If you’re gonna hydrate daily—and you want to—it may as well have SPF, no? Make it one with SPF30+, per the universal dermatologist recommendation.
The Best Moisturizer without SPF
If you don’t have SPF in your moisturizer, that’s fine. Make sure to pair it with a facial SPF, then. And, may as well make it an oil-free pick, especially if you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin.
The Best Face Sunscreen
A face sunscreen is formulated for the more delicate skin on your face—and without pore-clogging ingredients like heavy oils. Keep it separate from your full-body SPF.
The Best Night Cream
A dense night cream helps accelerate healing and cellular turnover while you sleep. It’s probably too hefty to wear during the day, and that’s the point: use it at bedtime, when skin is also prone to drying out (particularly in the winter or in an air-conditioned room).
The Best Eye Cream
This area of skin is the thinnest on the face, and thus it wrinkles, sags, darkens, and puffs easily. Eye creams pack specific ingredients, ranging from circulation-stimulating caffeine to skin-reinforcing peptides.
The Best Cleanser
You want to keep this one gentler. Some days, you might be washing your mug 3 or 4 times, if it’s hot, or if you work out. Even on the twice-a-days (the baseline, morning and night), you don’t want an abrasive cleanser that dries out skin.
The Best Chemical Exfoliator
Chemical exfoliants use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or poly hydroxy acids (PHAs) to dissolve dead surface cells and keep skin smooth, and/or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to assist while also dissolving dead cells and grime trapped within the pores. The result is fewer breakouts and brighter, clearer complexion. Use them 2-3x weekly, or as directed.
The Best Physical Exfoliant
Other people prefer physical scrubs, which use a little grit to buff away the dead cells and keep skin healthy, bright, and clear. Like chemical exfoliants, use them 2-3x weekly, or as directed, but commit to either chemical or physical.
The Best Hydrating Serum
Applying serums beneath your moisturizer is the most impactful way to get results. Plus, since a moisturizer is primarily defensive (in that it raps moisture inside the skin and blocks toxins and UV rays out), you can add a hydrating serum (with hyaluronic acid, as a prime example) to keep your dermis nourished and nurtured.
The Best Corrective Serum
Some serums use exfoliating ingredients (like in chemical exfoliants) to dissolve dead cells and prevent signs of aging. However, a reparative or regenerative one works well overnight to help skin heal faster, and to reverse these signs of aging. We like ones with retinol for this reason.
The Best Brightening Serum
Some ingredients, like vitamin c, help battle skin-aging toxins, while also reversing discoloration and hyperpigmentation in the skin. Your friends will notice a visibly “brighter” complexion.
The Best Shaving Supplies
Shaving is such a big umbrella of skin care, and we’ve got roundups and tutorials dedicated to it. It’s also one category where we suggest sticking with the same brand throughout, in order to build a regimen that plays well with all the other products inside of it.
The Best Toner
The Best Cleansing Mask
A once-weekly cleansing mask is like a vacuum for your pores. Use it to detoxify skin and prevent breakouts.
The Best Hydrating Mask
Similarly, a once-weekly hydrating mask can supercharge dry distressed skin—like after travel, or peak winter. It can be a leave-on topical mask, a wash-away one, or a sheet mask.