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Best skincare products for men 2023: Top picks for every routine

We highlight the best skincare for men – from just £4

If you want to look your most handsome, you need the best skincare regime. It’s a lot like looking after a car – to function properly, it needs maintenance and to look its best, you need to pay attention to its paintwork and upholstery. And, just like cars, things tend to run a little smoother if that maintenance is regular and consistent, rather than sporadic, which is what makes a daily regimen so important.

You probably want that routine to be pretty straightforward though, and you’re not alone – according to a study by the research agency Attest, men prefer a scaled-back approach to their grooming, with a majority using no more than three products.

The good news is that a basic routine can consist of just a cleanser and moisturiser. Or, if you want to pimp things up, you can add exfoliators, masks, serums, and eye creams, for a more comprehensive approach.

Male grooming is so popular today – men spend over £500 million each year on lotions, potions, creams and sprays – that there are literally thousands of products to choose from. So, to keep things simple and help you navigate the market, we’ve narrowed it down to five key products, with some of the best options for each. Choose from this list and we promise you: your skin will pass an MOT every time.

Best skincare for men: At a glance

How to choose the best men’s skincare products for you

What basic products do I need and what do they do?

A decent cleanser to remove grease, grime, and daily pollution, paired with a moisturiser to maintain healthy moisture levels so skin functions properly, are the true essentials.

A face scrub will help improve your skin’s appearance by removing dead cells and speeding up cell turnover. It’ll also help prevent pores from becoming blocked, minimising the risk of spots, and can reduce the risk of painful ingrown hairs.

Then the optional extras – if very useful ones – include face masks, which are great for giving skin a deeper detox and for removing excess oil, and eye creams, for shrinking eyebags and dealing with dark circles. Finally there are serums, which are the smart bombs of skincare, targeting specific issues with concentrated ingredients, taking your skincare regime to the next level.

Do I need to spend a fortune on products?

No. In the same way that a McDonald’s can be just as satisfying as an expensive meal out, inexpensive skincare can be just as effective as the pricey stuff.

That said, it can be worth trading up if you can afford it, to get better “hero ingredients”, advanced formulations and delivery systems. Then there’s the added cachet attached to cult and designer brands, and we’re as susceptible to the lure of luxury as the next man.

Can I mix products from different brands?

Absolutely. Brands often advise you only mix and match products within their range, but then they would, wouldn’t they?

In reality, clashes caused by mixing products from different brands are very rare. It’s perfectly okay to use a moisturiser from one brand with an eye cream from another and a face scrub from a third. The same applies for mixing luxury products with cheap-as-chips ones.

READ NEXT: The best deodorant for men

Can I use women’s beauty products as well as ones aimed at men?

Although men’s skin is different to women’s – it’s thicker and oilier, and its collagen density is different so it ages differently – the similarities are actually greater than the differences. So it’s perfectly okay to use products from women’s beauty ranges, or from the increasing number of unisex or “genderless” skincare ranges available today.

The bottom line is if you find a product that you like and that works for you, whether it’s from a men’s range, a women’s range, or a unisex one, keep on using it.

How we test skincare for men

As a journalist who’s covered men’s skincare for over twenty years, I’ve tested hundreds, possibly thousands, of products in my time (you can imagine how my skin feels after all those lotions and potions) but in order to ensure our best skincare pages feature products for all skin types, I enlist the help of two willing male assistants – one with oily skin and the other with drier, more easily irritated skin.

Between us, we’ve road tested scores of skincare products from assorted brands and chosen the ones that impressed us most – whether they be eye creams, moisturisers, scrubs or face washes.

Each product is applied as instructed, used for a week and assessed on efficacy, formulation, scent, texture and overall value-for-money.

The best skincare for men: Face wash

1. CeraVe Foaming Cleanser: Best all-round face wash

Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon

CeraVe has pretty much cornered the market when it comes to no-fuss, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin skincare, and it’s easy to see why: its products are understatedly brilliant, packed with great ingredients, and affordable.

Take this gently-foaming, fragrance-free cleanser for example: as well as keeping skin clean and removing excess oil, it contains ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid – three hero ingredients designed to keep skin conditioned and hydrated. Similar to cleansers two or three times the price, it’s a staple deserving of a place in any man’s bathroom.

2. Lab Series Oil Control Clay Cleanser + Mask: Best for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at LookfantasticNot only does this clever, multifunctional clay cleanser remove excess grease and grime to help reduce the likelihood of spots, it can be left on and used as a deep-cleaning, detoxifying mask too.

Check price at Lookfantastic

3. CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser: Best for very dry skin

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at BootsAnother winner from CeraVe, this super gentle, fragrance-free face wash is specially formulated for dry, itchy, flaky, or eczema-prone skin, cleansing without causing further drying.

Check price at Boots

The best skincare for men: Face scrub

4. Mojo Exfoliating Face Scrub: Best value buy

Price when reviewed: £10 | Check price at AmazonUsing Icelandic volcanic sand to slough off dead cells, and activated charcoal to help detox the skin and keep pores from becoming blocked, this superfine scrub is great for giving your face an instant refresh.

Used twice a week, it makes a perfect addition to any man’s grooming routine while the price makes it an affordable extra. We loved the texture – which isn’t too abrasive – and liked the subtle fragrance. The cool gold and black packaging adds some extra bling to your bathroom too.

5. Le Labo Face Scrub: Best luxury scrub

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at John Lewis If you’ve got a bit more money to spend, or like your labels, this excellent scrub from cult New York apothecary Le Labo is excellent – volcanic ash exfoliates, while the ginger and basil scent invigorates the senses, as well as your skin.

Check price at John Lewis

6. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: Best daily scrub

Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at John Lewis One of the stars of Dermalogica’s unisex skincare line, this rice-based enzyme powder is a great alternative to more abrasive scrubs, gentle enough for daily use or for sensitive skin. Pricey, but worth it.

Check price at John Lewis

The best skincare for men: Moisturiser

7. L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic 24hr Anti-Fatigue SPF15: Best multi-purpose moisturiser

Price when reviewed: £5.29 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re looking for a moisturiser that does everything you might need it to do – hydrate skin, improve its appearance, and protect it from skin-ageing sun damage – this multi-functional number from L’Oréal is the one. Lightweight, rapidly absorbed, and housed in a pump dispenser to minimise wastage, it’s a superb moisturiser that approaches skin health from all angles.

8. Bulldog Original Moisturiser: Best budget buy

Price when reviewed: £5.02 | Check price at Amazon

One of the best sellers from Bulldog’s value-for-money skincare range, the company’s Original Moisturiser smells great, is quickly absorbed, and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients as well as ones to soothe and hydrate. Suitable for all skin types, it’s a real bathroom basic.

9. Heath Oil Control Moisturiser: Best for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at John Lewis Specially formulated with tapioca starch to absorb excess oil, lemon myrtle to reduce oil production, and spot-busting salicylic acid, this moisturiser is the perfect antidote to oil sick skin, leaving it hydrated but shine-free.

Check price at John Lewis

The best skincare for men: Eye cream

10. Heath Eye Serum: Best for eyebags and wrinkles

Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at AmazonHeath’s fragrance-free eye serum is everything you want from an eye product. It’s as light as a feather, so won’t overload delicate under-eye skin, and it features hyaluronic acid to help hydrate, with Butterfly Bush and Persian Silk Tree extract to reduce dark circles and protect against the ageing effects of the blue light emitted by your digital devices.

Since it’s delivered by a rollerball, it’s a cinch to apply and has an instant cooling effect on the skin, great for shrinking eyebags. Keep it in the fridge and it’ll be even more refreshing.

11. Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain SPF25: Best for dark circles

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at AmazonStubborn dark circles that no eye cream seems to shift? Then disguise them in an instant with this easy to apply concealer eye cream. As a bonus, it packs an SPF25 sunscreen to guard against sun-induced wrinkles.

12. Lab Series Daily Rescue Energising Eye Treatment: Best for tired eyes

Price when reviewed: £34 | Check price at BootsFormulated to tackle the signs of under-eye fatigue – like after three hours’ sleep and/or a few pints too many – this premium gel cream contains caffeine to energise skin and light reflecting particles to improve the appearance of dark circles. It’s up there with a full English breakfast when it comes to hangover cures.

Check price at Boots

The best skincare for men: Face serum

13. La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum: Best Retinol serum for beginners

Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at AmazonRetinol – derived from vitamin A – is a hero ingredient that’s especially useful for mature skin since it helps reduce fine lines by stimulating collagen and can also fade age spots. However, retinoids are notorious for causing dryness and irritation – especially until your skin gets used to them – so for best results you need to use them long-term. You also need to wear a moisturiser with sunscreen as Retinol can make skin more sensitive to sun.

If you’re new to Retinol then this serum is a good place to start as it’s released gradually, and the serum also contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) and hyaluronic acid to minimise irritation while still keeping skin supple and hydrated. It’s super lightweight, and you only need to use a few drops before you apply your moisturiser. It takes a few weeks to notice a difference but the results do come, making this one a keeper.

14. Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment: Best skin resurfacer

Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at BootsLike getting a highway repair team in overnight to resurface a road, this serum works while you sleep so you wake up with fresher, softer-looking skin come morning. It tingles a bit on application, and you need to build up to using it 2-3 times a week, but the results are well worth it. Smells nice too.

Check price at Boots

15. Lab Series Daily Rescue Repair Serum: Best for city dwellers

Price when reviewed: £53 | Check price at John Lewis Designed to help protect against environmental aggressors like pollution, ozone, and blue light exposure, this featherweight serum from men’s skincare experts Lab Series is a bit like a daily defence shield for skin.

Check price at John Lewis

The best skincare for men: Face mask

16. Auden Ultra Ante Face Mask: Best multi-functional mask

Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at AudenA premium product designed to be used once a week, Auden’s anti-ageing Ante Mask ups the ante on restorative skincare, thanks to a raft of ingredients to improve your skin – French green clay mops up excess oil, salicylic acid helps prevent spots, fatty acids maintains skin elasticity, and algae extract balances skin pH.

It’s pricier than the other masks we tried, but it does so much more than the average clay mask – leaving your skin smoother, brighter, and firmer, and your pores tighter and less congested. A real treat for the skin.

Check price at Auden

17. Bulldog Oil Control Face Mask: Best for oily skin

Price when reviewed: £4 | Check price at AmazonSince oiliness is one of men’s primary skincare concerns, it’s no surprise there are plenty of oil-controlling clay masks out there. We loved this one for its use of home-grown Cornish clay and for its amazing price point. Ideal for spot-prone skin.

18. Barber Pro Skin Revival Kit: Best sheet masks

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Boots If you’re a bigger fan of masks than Zorro, this collection of four different ones from mask masters Barber Pro is for you. As well as a Self-Foaming Sheet Mask, which cleanses, a Sheet Mask, to hydrate, and a depuffing Under Eye Mask, it features a detoxifying Peel Off Mask which is about as much fun as skincare for men can get.

Check price at Boots

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