No longer the sole reserve of the fairer sex, increasing numbers of men are realising that even the toughest of skin requires a little TLC now and again. According to research by Mintel, last year 20 per cent of fellas treated themselves to a professional skincare treatment – but if you’re still not ready to step into the spa, or are trying to save money for your summer wardrobe updates, all is not lost.
We spoke to some of the world’s best professional skincare gurus to create a step-by-step guide on how to give yourself a facial at home (tip: never google that).
Step One: Cleanse
“Skin damage from shaving routines can’t be fixed with soap and water so, really, men probably need facials more than women thanks to their coarser skin and larger pores,” says facialist Jordan Samuel Pacitti. This means cleansing your skin to rid it of any residual gunk is vital to achieving salon-level results.
“Lightly rub with cleansing cream, and leave it on your skin for at least two minutes to give it chance to dissolve any dirt and oil. Then wipe your face – gently – with cotton wool.”
Step Two: Exfoliate
“Exfoliation clears out and refines the skin’s surface, so it’s important not to scrimp on this step,” muses Pacitti. “To remove deep-seated dirt and dry skin, moisten with warm water and gently massage some facial scrub onto your face, avoiding the delicate area around your eyes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Just don’t scrub too hard or do it too frequently or you will damage your epidermis.”
Step Three: Steam
Anyone who follows Dr Pimple Popper on Instagram will know the best bit of any facial is the ‘extractions’ (the process of clearing a clogged pore by manual or mechanical means). To do them properly at home, you’re going to need to get steamy. This will help with the pain of removing spots, blackheads and whiteheads – which shouldn’t be underestimated.
“The majority of women have an understanding that a certain amount of pain comes with beauty [treatments], waxing or whatever. And then come the men – guys who can play football, who can lift refrigerators – and they’re cringing, whimpering. I’ve had crying in my room. I’m totally serious,” says aesthetician Hillary Sklar.
“Steam will loosen any build-up, go grab a 5X mirror, and place a bowl of boiling water in front of you. Then, lean over the bowl and cover your head with a towel so that the steam will reach your face, and stay in that position for about five minutes. You should then be able to pinch out any blemishes with minimal pain.”
Step Four: Mask
“The years and unhealthy living remove the moisture from your skin,” says Hollywood facialist Su-Man Hsu. “A mask helps to put it back.”
Masks are available from a variety of grooming brands at various price points, but the most important thing is to pick one that is formulated for your skin type. “If you have an oily face, go for an exfoliating or clay-based mask, and for dry skin, opt for an intensive moisturising one. Then ensure you follow the instructions to the letter” according to the experts at Natura Bisse.
Step Five: Close Your Pores
Once the mask is done with, remove it with warm water. Your pores will be open after this, so to prevent dirt from entering, you need to close them back up again.
“To do this, simply splash your face with cold water, concentrating on your nose and wherever you’ve got large pores, then dry your skin by gently dabbing with a soft flannel,” say the experts at skincare gurus Natura Bissé.
Step Six: Tone Up
Although it’s often the step that’s skipped, toner shouldn’t be ignored – it’s the key to refreshing your skin and getting rid of oil. “Apply a toner on areas prone to acne and blemishes,” says Sklar. “The only exception is if you have very dry skin, as they will make your skin [even] drier.”
Step Seven: Eyes
The most common reason men visit skincare specialists is to reduce dark circles and puffiness from under the eyes. “Treating your eye bags can be as important as the rest of the treatment,” says Pacitti. “Apply a generous amount of eye cream or gel on the areas surrounding your eyes and rub it in gently using a circular motion.”
Step Eight: Moisturise
After the previous seven steps, your face will be crying out for moisture. “The most vital step is moisturiser as this is essential to keeping your skin soft, supple and even throughout the years,” say Natura Bisse’s experts.
“After a facial, opt for something with more weight to it than your usual moisturiser, and be sure to let it soak in naturally.”