Since when did self-care belong to one gender? From pastel-colored packaging to female-focused advertisements, it can feel like skincare companies only target female customers. This begged the question: What about everyone else? Distraction explored how some of the male-identifying population at the University of Miami approaches skincare to craft a routine free of gender norms.
Do guys really care about pampering themselves? Would they rather just wash everything with a bar of soap and call it a day? These questions are what brands ponder when coming up with new products and are part of the reason we usually see skincare companies targeting a more feminine audience.
For students like sophomore Aiden Rowe, the stereotype holds true. “I usually wash my face with body wash,” said Rowe. “That may be bad, but it does the job for me.” With options like three-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash screaming convenience—who could blame him?
For senior Zye Reid, it’s not so much inconvenience as it is a lack of knowledge. “My only routine is lotion after showers. Other than that, I was never taught about how to keep my skin healthy,” said Reid. “When they advertise solely for women, it makes it seem like men shouldn’t do it.”
While the skincare industry may have a traditionally female influence, male beauty gurus like Hyram Yarbro (@skincarebyhyram) have grown in popularity by using their social media pages to educate. Viewers can learn about effective and affordable skincare regimens from home. Though the skincare world may seem overwhelming at first, having just a few essentials can make all the difference.
According to Yarbro, a solid skincare routine for mornings and evenings starts with a cleanser to rid skin of dirt, bacteria and other grime. Some cleansers can be stripping, so following up with toners, oils and serums will help to rehydrate the skin and replenish natural oils. Oily skin isn’t always a bad thing, natural glow can make you look rejuvenated and healthy.
But, Yarbro said, the holy grail of every routine is moisturizer. Ideally, moisturizer should be applied twice a day after cleansing and applying toners and oils.
Adding one more product into your morning routine is essential for those of us living in the Miami sunshine: SPF. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, applying SPF 15 or higher to your skin on a daily basis reduces your risk of developing certain skin cancers by about 40 to 50%.
Beyond the basics, you can take your skincare to the next level with products like exfoliators and masks. Are these necessary? In short, no. But they can certainly give you results. Exfoliators, typically used after a cleanser, remove dead skin cells and dirt from deep beneath the skin that a face cleanser alone might not reach. However, these products are abrasive and can be damaging to the skin, so limit how often you use them.
As for face masks, some men are reluctant to use them regularly. Sophomore Ethan Cherry described them as too “girly,” saying that for him, “the hassle is not worth it.” But some skincare experts disagree. Mariam Gonzalez, an employee at OM4Men Skincare, said it’s important for men to look past skincare as something just for women. “It will not only help their outer physical look, but their inner confidence as well. Self-care is important for everyone in that sense.”
While skincare companies may owe some men an apology for leaving them in the dust, finding foolproof and effective products has never been easier thanks to social media and shifting concepts of gender norms. Everybody, no matter how you identify, deserves a chance to explore products and develop a routine that will keep their face clean and healthy.
words_ julia mastangelo. photo_teagan polizzi. design_avani choudhary.
This article was published in Distraction’s fall 2020 print issue.