Your Skin & You

This post is sponsored by Luxury Barber. For more info, visit luxurybarber.com

Hello everyone! Thank you for all the kind words on the first article. I wasn’t quite sure how well it’d be received, but it was all good vibes. I’m excited to share my knowledge with such an enthused audience.

Well where to start? It’s a little daunting, as there is much to cover, but I’ll break it down into 3 topics (and then sub-topics as necessary) and cover them each in an article to keep it from being overwhelming. As always, everything in these articles comes from my own personal experiences, and those of my clients who’ve shared them with me, so take it with a grain of salt and apply it to your own life as you see fit.

SKIN CARE: A fitting place to start, considering it is the largest organ of the human body. As a barber, everything below the shoulders isn’t my territory so I’ll only be covering the face & neck.

HAIRCARE: Now we’re talking! I know some of you are covered in hair like wookies (present company included) but I’ll limit it to Scalp Hair and Beard/Moustache Hair.

BODYCARE: This area isn’t terribly important to barbering, but clients often times need a little direction so I help out where I can. I’ll be covering this bit last.

After all of that, I’ll be writing pieces that don’t really have a place, or giving reviews of new and old products that I come across. It’ll be real easy going. Let’s get started shall we?

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Skin care is something men overlook once we’ve passed though puberty, but its 2015 and taking care of your face is more important than ever. From shaving to eye creams, night masks to peels there is much to cover but don’t fret my good chum, it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Routine

Every guy should have one when it comes to skin care, and developing one is a matter of understanding the needs of your skin. There are 5 commonly accepted “types” of skin and identifying where your skin fits in with these archetypes will help you pick out products that complement the unique nature of your skin.

Normal Skin
Come on, you know this. Your skin isn’t too shiny, or flaky, nor overly wrinkly and of an even color all around. Maintenance and preventative care is the goal here.

Dry Skin
Pretty self-explanatory but the basics are that dry skin does not produce enough natural oil (sebum) to maintain healthy levels of skin moisture. This can come from genetics where your DNA has decided to just be crummy in that effect, or it could be as simple a mild to moderate dehydration, where you’re just not drinking enough water a day and your skin suffers the negative effects.

Oily Skin
Excess oil production is the calling card for this skin type. Hair follicles are larger, contain more oil and require more cleansing/exfoliating than other types. The problem though besides the obvious, is that over zealous cleansing can lead to unbalanced over-drying of the skin and the body trying to compensate by increasing oil production. Proper exfoliation, and a good water-based hydrator to maintain the skin’s pH will help keep skin clean and balanced.

Combination
A little country, and a little bit rock, combination skin can be both oily and dry in different areas. Most often a T-zone diagram is used to illustrate the oily areas from the dry ones; though if you aren’t familiar with a T-Zone diagram it’s the forehead, nose and chin areas that have more sebaceous glands and tend to be the oiliest parts whereas the cheeks and outermost parts of the face tend to be dry.

Sensitive
Similar to dry skin, but not without its own challenges, sensitive skin can appear dry and delicate, but can feature blemishes and breakouts. The biggest tell is an allergic reaction to lots of different cosmetic products and it tends to have a overall reddish appearance. Fragrance-free, organic or dermatologist recommended products are the light end then of that tunnel.

The Routine

Cleanse.
Tone.
Moisturize
//
Scrub
Complex.
Mask.

Repeat.

The basics of how to take care of your face in 5 simple words. 3 are must-dailies, and 3 are optional next-level practices. To make this easy, let’s assume you fall under the “Normal skin” category; an all-inclusive routine might look something like this

scrub

Cleanse
Wash your face 2x a day. In the morning either during/after your shower, and before bed with a mild face wash designed for men. Not only is men’s skin thicker, but it also tends to be oilier. This extra lubrication is essential for beard growth and helps to counterbalance the ravages of time, protecting the skin and acting as a natural wrinkle-reducer. So you’re gonna have to go out and get your own, no using your girlfriends’ anymore. Use warm water, and be gentle damnit. Scrubbing your face with a loofah or a washcloth like you’re trying to remove graffiti from a building won’t “deep clean your pores”, Excessive scrubbing can wear away the stratum corneum, the outermost skin barrier and can cause excessive dryness and cracks.

Tone
So you’ve washed away last night’s pillow drool (or the day’s long work hours) and your face is feeling fresh, get out a cotton ball and dampen it with an alcohol free toner and apply it lightly on your face paying special attention to your nose, forehead and other trouble spots. Toner’s job is two-fold: its main job is to tighten the skin and help minimize the appearance of pores, and secondary job is to rebalance the skin’s pH after cleansing. It should tingle, not sting like aftershave. Let it air dry.

Moisturize
Almost done! You’re skin is all prepped right now so let’s bring it on home. That secondary job of toner mentioned above, the pH balancing thing? Turns out its pretty important because it doesn’t just “balance your skin’s pH”, it actually preps your face for the glycolic acid (AHA’s) in fine facial moisturizers, since these won’t work on alkaline skin. In short, it aids in the absorption of your moisturizer making it more effective. Rub a nickel sized amount all over your face and neck and let it soak in.

Boo yeah. Now time for your don’t-have-to-but-will-definitely-make-a-big-improvement options:

Scrub
Even a good face wash needs a little help after a while, and a weekly face scrub is the way to go about it. Everyday your body loses about a million+ skin cells and an exfoliating treatment will help to buff away the dead skin and stimulate skin renewal. Use it similarly to a face wash, just no more than once a week.

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Complex
More specifically an under-eye complex, these are usually higher concentrated moisturizers designed to combat dark circles and wrinkle that develop in the very sensitive skin under the eye. A couple spots of cream patted into the skin until absorbed should do the trick.

Mask
The quintessential B-roll footage of any spa scene in a movie, a clay mask isn’t all green face putty and cucumber slices. A mask’s job is to draw out deep impurities in the skin using purified clays like Bentonite or Kaolin. This is something you can use once a week, but realistically closer to twice a month as a mask’s ingredients are very potent. Rub a thin layer all over your face and let it set for about 10 minutes before gently removing it with warm water.

Those are the basics. Shouldn’t add more that 5 minutes to your routine (or help you build a routine if you don’t have one) in the morning; Your future self will thank you, because you’ve taken the steps now to protect yourself from harmful sun damage, air pollution, free radicals and more that seek to ruin your good looks. Plus, you’re an adult and taking care of yourself is just one of those things you have to do now; like laundry, paying parking tickets and taking your mother out to lunch once in a while. And above all it’s good for you; A morning routine:

-Supports relaxation & lowers daily stress
-Have a clearer and sharper mind all day
-Get more accomplished throughout the day
-Have more energy throughout the day
-Healthier & happier
-Long-term success & wellbeing
-Allow you to build momentum and grow, day after day.

As always, I’m not a doctor. Go ask somebody with a degree about the specifics before you try a new routine, especially if you have skin issues. Do your research too! Read reviews, ingredients lists, blogs, go to stores and get the people working there to give you demos, bring home samples and try them out for a week.

Do what’s right for you. It’s only for your benefit, and it’s only your responsibility to yourself.


 

Tanner here. I don’t know about you, but when I first read the draft of John’s post I was a little intimidated. A mask? That’s the kind of stuff that either the overly wealthy or the overly effeminate do. Even this other stuff was more of a routine than I was used to.

However, I realized that it was more of a fear of others opinions or the dedication of trying this out that made me chaff a bit at the idea – not the fact that I didn’t believe what John was saying. The largest barrier to my getting into a better skin care routine was the risk of buying and trying out the right products.

That’s where Luxury Barber comes in.

monthly-subscription-box

The timing on this was a perfect coincidence as they contacted me and wanted to send me one of their boxes. In it was everything I needed (except the mask – I’ll get there one day). In each box they send out pre-shave, razor blades, skin/face care, shampoo and conditioner, and a featured item that may be something like a straight razor. They’re always different brands, meaning each month it’s possible to try out a new product until you find the perfect one. From there, all of these items are available for purchase on their site, and box subscribers get 10% – 20% off. Pretty sweet deal and a great way to start taking better care of your face.