Beauty basics for boys on a budget
Male grooming can be a daunting thing. There’s a myriad of products and treatments thrown out into the public domain on a daily basis and it’s hard to navigate. Let alone if you’re new to male grooming and aren’t sure if that expensive big-brand moisturiser is right for you.
Here’s our guide to a basic skincare routine. These products all cost less than £10, so your beauty basics won’t break the bank.
Step 1: Cleanse
The first and most important step in your skincare routine, is to cleanse your face on a daily basis. Depending on your skin type, you may have to do this once or twice a day. Dry skin tends to need cleansing less than oily or combination skin and so it really does depend on how your skin reacts to the product. The basic rule to go by is if your skin is getting red, irritated or is feeling too tight after cleansing, then you are probably cleansing too often. See how your skin reacts and tailor this step around your skin’s needs.
We Recommend: Altr for Men: Whiskey Infused Face Wash (£9.99)
Not every product we’re going to recommend here is going to work for everyone, but a solid no-fuss cleanser we’ve been using recently is Altr for Men’s: Whiskey Infused Face Wash. We use twice daily to keep our skin fresh and to remove the excess grime of living in London. Like all of Altr for Men’s products, it’s made with sensitive skin in mind and the chamomile in this product definitely helps soothe any irritation.
Step 2: Exfoliate
The next step after we are all squeaky clean is to exfoliate. It’s important to do this step following cleansing, to avoid pushing any of that dirt and bacteria we’ve just removed into the skin. To put it simply, exfoliating is the removal of dead skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion.
There are many different types of exfoliators, but they mostly fall into two main categories – physical or chemical.
To keep this guide as simple as possible, we will be sticking to physical exfoliants for this skincare routine. As the name suggests, a physical exfoliant uses physical particles to remove the dead skin cells. On average, it’s advised you exfoliate only once or twice a week. If you over-do it, you can aggravate and irritate the skin.
We Recommend: Bulldog: Sensitive Face Scrub 125ml (£5.00)
When choosing an exfoliator, we always opt for the sensitive range – if there is one. We personally find physical exfoliants quite rough on our skin – we only use them once a week.
Bulldog’s: Sensitive Face Scrub is a solid product for most skin types.
Step 3: Mask
Masking is definitely not a step you would do every day but it is a step that will dramatically improve your skincare regime. Similarly to exfoliating, we recommend doing this step once or twice a week for best results.
There’s a huge range of face masks available, so we’re going to focus on sheet masks. A sheet mask is essentially a sheet of material that you put over your face for 15-20 mins. The mask is soaked in a concentrated serum and it will give you an instant effect, depending on the type of sheet mask you buy.
We Recommend: Garnier: Fresh-Mix tissue mask Hyaluronic (£2.66)
Our personal favourite is the Fresh-Mix tissue mask Hyaluronic.
What’s great about this mask is that you add the serum to the mask yourself. You literally squeeze the packaging and the serum directly infuses into the mask. This might be a bit gimmicky, but there is something quite satisfying about the DIY aspect of it.
The mask uses a Hyaluronic acid serum to dramatically moisturise your face and reveal a radiant complexion.
Step 4: Moisturise
After we’ve cleansed and exfoliated, the next step is to replenish and repair the skin’s barrier. We do this primarily through moisturisers.
There are moisturisers that cater to every skin type imaginable – it really is a case of trial and error until you find something that works for you.
The important thing to remember is that no matter our skin type, we need to moisturiser twice a day. Contrary to what you may think if you have oily skin, moisturisers actually help control the oil production and can leave you looking much less like an oil slick by the end of the day.
We Recommend: Altr for Men: Whiskey Infused Moisturiser (£9.99)
We’re not sponsored by Altr for Men, we just like their products. The entire range is developed with sensitive skin in mind, and their moisturiser is a good all-rounder.
It sinks nicely into the skin, doesn’t leave your face tacky, and leaves it feeling hydrated.
Step 5: Lip Balm
Okay, a final and somewhat a bit of an extra step, but we think it’s important. After we’ve moisturised our face, the next step we do – without fail morning and night – is to apply lip balm. Say what you will, but chapped lips are not cute. It is such a small step, but it’s one with so many benefits.
We’d Recommend: Kiehl’s: Lip Balm #1 (£10.00)
Sure, it’s just lip balm. Why would we spend £10.00 on a Kiehl’s lip balm when there are much less expensive options available?
The answer is simple – not all lip balms are created equal, and most of the cheaper ones actually have an ingredient in them that cracks your lips over time – visible instant benefits but long-term side effects.
Always avoid products that have a menthol sensation to them – it’s one of the main culprits.
Spend the extra money and invest in a good lip balm – you won’t regret it.
Time to take a fresh look at your beauty regime?
There’s no shortage of beauty experts, all pushing a confusing range of products claiming to be the miracle defence against the inevitable march of time.
In reality, we’re all so busy with our day-to-day lives that our beauty regimes develop without too much planning or thought. Industry research indicates that we tend to find products that we like and then we stick with those products because we know how to use them and they make us feel good.
This haphazard approach to taking care of ourselves can lead to the development of some bad beauty habits.
How do I know what beauty products I need?
We’re all different – you need to find the products that work for you. While it’s great to get advice from beauty experts or your friends, ultimately you need to figure out what your body needs and how to create the best possible self-care regime.
Step 1: Complete a beauty audit
Set some time aside and look at all of the beauty products that are cluttering your bathroom. Make a list, document them all. Then, make an honest assessment of how often you use each product. Which products do you use daily? Which products are for special occasions? Which products don’t you use?
Step 2: Simplify things
Throw out anything that you’re not using on a regular basis – there’s a reason you’re not using these products, you don’t need them.
Take a close look at the ‘special occasion’ products. Why do you use these products only occasionally? Should you be using them more frequently, or do you actually need them at all?
Make a detailed assessment of the products that comprise your daily beauty routine. Why have you chosen these products? How do these products make you feel? Is there any duplication that could be removed? What are the beauty benefits of these products?
Step 3: Try new products
The beauty industry is one of the most innovative. New products are regularly being developed, and rigorous research and testing goes into figuring out how to make tackle our daily beauty dilemmas.
It’s important that you’re open to trying new things. Not everything is going to be right for you, but there might be a game-changer beauty product out there that could be the perfect addition to your daily beauty regime.
How much should I spend on beauty products?
Your beauty regime doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just because a big-name brand has spent a lot of money on their marketing doesn’t mean that you need to pay the high prices that they’re charging.
Some of the best products come from boutique beauty houses, or independent brands that don’t have A-list celebrity endorsements.
One of the benefits of online shopping is that you can now source high-quality beauty products from around the world and have them delivered to your door – ensuring that you get the benefit of the best products at the best prices.
Isn’t it time you took a fresh look at your beauty regime?
Beauty basics for beefy boys – A grooming guide for gay guys on the go.
Don’t put your foot in it!
How sexy are your feet?
You don’t have to have a foot fetish to appreciate that there’s a big difference between someone who’s been paying their feet some attention, and someone who doesn’t seem to think of anything below their knees.
This is the time of year when you really need to make your feet count. You’re going to be wearing flip-flops. You’re going to be hanging out in the park. You’re going to be at the beach. Your feet are going to be on display.
Here’s some strategies you can try to always put your best foot forward.
- Give them a good scrub – buy a proper foot scrub and spend a bit of time each week giving your feet a proper deep-clean.
- Trim those toe-nails – it’s never a fun task, but if you stay on top of the job then it’s really just a bit of regular maintenance.
- Moisturise – there’s really no part of your body that won’t appreciate a bit of lotion attention. Your feet are no exception.
- Do not wear a toe ring.
Essential summer skin care tips for queer guys – there’s more to it than just sunscreen!
While the increasingly extreme summers are undoubtedly a sign of an impending environmental disaster, in the short-term we’ve all got to find ways to keep cool and carry on.
A basic step is to make sure you’ve got some sun-block on before stepping outdoors, but there’s a lot more to summer skin-care than just slapping on some Factor 50.
Here’s some tips on how to survive the scorching sun of a sizzling summer.
Get the basics right
The sun is generally at its hottest from 10 AM to 2 PM. If you’re heading outside during the hottest part of the day, do your best to wear a hat, sunglasses, and keep as much of your skin covered by clothing as possible.
Putting some sun-block on before you leave the house is pretty much essential. Be generous with it – you want to apply sun-block to your face, neck, arms, and any other parts of your body that are going to be exposed. If you’re wearing shorts then you’re going to want sun-block on your legs.
Not all sun-blocks are equal
Lots of products come with sun-block included as a component. Do a bit of research. You want broad spectrum protection that helps prevent damage from both UVA and UVB rays.
Don’t mess around with low-level sun-blocks. You need something that’s at least SPF30.
You probably need different sun-block for your face and your body – particularly if you’ve got sensitive skin.
High-end grooming products that include some level of sun-block might feel nicer on your skin, but they’re probably not giving you strong enough protection.
Make sure you’re reapplying your sun-block regularly. If you’re out and about for most of the day, you should be re-applying every couple of hours.
You have to be particularly cautious with hair-care products that include sun-block – especially if you’ve coloured your hair. A hat is generally a better option.
The after-sun regime
After you’ve been exposed to the sun, your skin is going to be sensitive. You want to wash the day away with gentle cleansing oils and milky cleansers – products that will get you clean without stripping away too many skin cells.
Once you’ve cleaned up, don’t forget to moisturise. Get some lotion on that body.
If things haven’t gone to plan and you’ve ended up getting sun-burnt, don’t try and tough it out. Take some action to try and help your body recover as quickly as possible.
Take a cool shower when you get home. Use moisturisers that contain aloe vera or soy.
Taking pain-killers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help to reduce the redness and discomfort.
Drink lots of water. You need to rehydrate.
The damage is done
UV rays reach your inner skin layers. You might think that your skin has got a nice tan, but what you’ve got is damaged skin cells.
Sun damage can present as freckles, discoloration, wrinkles, and other signs of premature ageing – all with higher risks of skin cancer.
Treatments for sun-damage are available. You’re looking at microdermabrasion, photofacials, laser resurfacing treatments, microneedling, and peels. All of which requires a visit to your local dermatology clinic.
Moisturising is what you should focus on at home. Look for moisturisers that contain Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sorbitol, and Glycerol.
Some sun is essential
Don’t avoid the sun completely. It’s essential for producing Vitamin D and Serotonin. If you can spend 15-20 minutes outdoors in the morning, that would be ideal – it could be a quick walk or run before work, or planning your commute so that it includes some outdoor walking.