Skincare for men

Skincare for men

The truth is skincare for men isn’t that different from skincare for women. Male skin – just like all skin – deserves daily care and nourishing ingredients that'll improve the skin's appearance while working with his shaving routine. But men are at a bit of a disadvantage, simply because most skincare products "for men" are terribly formulated, often full of drying and irritating ingredients.

In a few simple steps, a basic routine of well-formulated, fragrance-free products can offer a great shave, fewer ingrown hairs and a reduction in bumps and blotches as well as oily, dry or flaky areas – helping your skin look and feel healthy as the years go by.

Did you know?

The best skincare routine for men follows the same principles as those for women. These are the basic steps to maintaining and improving the skin's health, no matter your gender:

  • Gentle cleansing
  • Exfoliating with a leave-on product (not an abrasive scrub as these are almost always too rough on the skin)
  • Daily sun protection
  • Night-time hydration

These four steps are all you need to get started. Eventually, you may want to add more products to this basic skincare routine, but your first order of business is to develop and maintain a daily skincare habit. The best products are always non-irritating, fragrance-free, and should include proven anti-ageing ingredients that work to restore and replenish skin against the signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and dark spots.

Rest assured, achieving smoother and even-textured skin doesn’t need to take tons of time and effort. So, the first step in achieving a basic skincare routine for men starts with knowing your skin type.

What's my skin type?

  • Oily skin: You may have problems with spots (blackheads or white pimples) and enlarged, blocked pores. Your skin feels and looks greasy during the day, even if you are not sweating.
  • Combination skin: This is the most common skin type. Your skin has both oily and dry areas but the middle of your face is probably oily. Your cheeks feel normal or vary between slightly and very dry. The skin around your eyes is usually drier than the rest of your face.
  • Dry skin: Your skin has a rough, irregular texture and may feel tight and flaky. You may also experience redness, especially after using dehydrating skincare products. Your pores are generally small and you don't often have spots or blackheads.
  • Sensitive skin: You may suffer from sensitivity, which means your skin might experience irritation or redness. You might notice your skin feels worse off after using skincare products, instead of better.

Finding the best skincare routine

Once you know your skin type, you can choose products that are best suited to your skin concerns. Read our recommendations for each skin type below and if it looks like a lot, don't fret - skincare routines won't take up more than just five minutes of your time!


  • Oily skin: Try Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser or CLEAR Pore Normalising Cleanser for breakout-prone skin.
  • Combination skin: Try Paula’s Choice RESIST Anti-Ageing Foaming Cleanser or EARTH SOURCED Cleansing Gel. These gentle, effective cleansers can rebalance both dry and oily skin types.
  • (Very) Dry skin: Try Paula's Choice RESIST Anti-Ageing Hydrating Cleanser or SKIN RECOVERY Softening Cream Cleanser.


  • Oily skin: Blackheads and/or spots can't be solved with harsh "exfoliant" scrubs! These are irritating and counterproductive. Instead, use leave-on exfoliants that penetrate the skin's pores to reveal healthier-looking skin. Try the award-winning Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% Liquid BHA or RESIST Anti-Ageing Pore Refining Treatment 2% BHA.
  • Combination skin: An exfoliant with a light, moisture-regulating base works best! Try Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant.
  • (Very) Dry skin: Use BHA (salicylic acid) on your entire face to combat flaky skin. Try Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Lotion.


  • Oily skin: Use a light, mattifying lotion. Try Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30.
  • Combination skin: Try a light lotion with a matt finish. Try Paula's Choice RESIST Anti-Ageing Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 or CLEAR Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30.
  • (Very) Dry skin: Use a hydrating product with sun protection, such as Paula's Choice SKIN RECOVERY Daily Moisturising Lotion SPF 30 or RESIST Anti-Ageing Skin Restoring Moisturiser SPF 50.


  • Oily skin: Use an ultra-light formula. Try Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Invisible Finish Moisture Gel or RESIST Anti-Ageing Clear Skin Hydrator.
  • Combination skin: Use a moisturiser on your entire face, such as Paula's Choice RESIST Anti-Ageing Barrier Repair or C5 SUPER BOOST Moisturiser.
  • (Very) Dry skin: Use a calming formula with added anti-irritant ingredients to help calm the skin. Try Paula's Choice OMEGA+ Complex Moisturiser or SKIN RECOVERY Replenishing Moisturiser.

Never use products containing irritating ingredients such as alcohol, menthol, peppermint or fragrances (synthetic or natural). Most skincare products for men contain fragrances and other irritating substances, so make sure to pay attention to what you’re buying.

If you suffer from spots, adding active ingredients such as salicylic acid (BHA) and azelaic acid to your daily skincare routine can significantly help improve your skin and reduce redness. Find out how to beat breakouts or chat to our skincare experts to get personalised recommendations.

A smarter shave: skincare routine for men

Any discussion of men’s skincare should include advice on how to get the best shave. It’s the element most specific to men’s skincare – the rest is just good, solid advice across the board. So, for a faster, smoother shave:

  • Shave at the end of, or immediately following your shower.
  • Wash your face before shaving to help soften the hairs and reduce skin irritation.
  • Avoid very hot water; it can cause redness and a dry, tight sensation.
  • Use a mild shaving gel or cream, particularly one formulated for sensitive skin as they tend to be fragrance-free (always look for that claim on the packaging).
  • With a clean razor, shave in the direction of your hair growth, using short strokes.
  • If you need to shave in the opposite direction of your hair growth (on your neck, for example), do so slowly and gently.
  • Rinse your razor often and replace the blade every few shaves.
  • Run your hands over your face and neck to ensure you haven't missed any areas.
  • Straight after shaving, use a product that helps prevent irritation and red blotches, to calm the skin and prevent redness, such as Paula’s Choice RESIST Anti-Ageing Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA . Think of this as a soothing aftershave with extra skin-transforming benefits. Since this product contains BHA (a gentle, leave-on exfoliant), it not only leaves your skin feeling smooth—without abrasion or dryness—but also clears clogged pores, diminishes the look of wrinkles, improves skin texture and tone, hydrates and calms redness.
  • Finish by applying a broad-spectrum sun cream, even if you’ll be indoors most of the day.


What's wrong with a bar of soap?
Traditional bars of soap dry out the skin and cause irritation, which can result in inflammation. The ingredients in soap that give it a solid form also block pores.

What should I do about spots on my face, neck or back?
If you suffer from spots, treat them with a BHA exfoliant and, if needed, a product containing benzoyl peroxide. This keeps the pores free of bacteria, excess sebum and dead skin cells.

How can I reduce the signs of ageing skin on my face?
Use a product with SPF 365 days a year. A product with retinol and antioxidants will help repair the damage that's already been done and minimise future damage.

I suffer from dry hands, elbows and feet. What can I use?
Use an exfoliating product and then apply a rich, calming cream such as Paula’s Choice Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter.


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