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After more than two years of wearing face masks, the only thing you should be putting on your face right now is some good moisturizer. At least that’s what men’s groomers are saying, talking up the importance of a good face cream as our mugs get exposed to the elements — and people — again.
“Over the past two years of wearing masks, the most common skin issues have been irritation, dry skin, acne, clogged pores, and beardruff – flaky dry skin within facial hair,” says Willis Orengo, a New York-based barber and ambassador for grooming brand, King C. Gillette.
“Masks create a warm and humid environment underneath them that traps moisture and sebum,” adds Barbara Goodstein, founder and CEO of B GREAT. “This can make pre-existing acne worse or cause new breakouts by clogging pores.” What’s more: “These pores become inflamed, leading to the classical red tender acne lesion. Masks can cause facial itching, rashes, and swelling [too],” she says.
Fortunately, there’s a way to repair your mugs now that your face masks are off. “To remedy these issues,” he says, “it is important to maintain a proper skincare routine” — starting with a good face cream.
What Are the Best Face Creams for Men?
The best face creams for men form a barrier of moisture for your skin, while keeping environmental stressors out. The best face creams should also be light enough to apply every day, with an even coating all over your mug, down to your neck and behind the ears (because earlobes get dry and chapped too!)
To apply: squeeze a quarter size amount between your fingers, then rub evenly into your face, making sure to get the forehead, nose, cheeks and jawline.
1. Marlowe. Facial Moisturizer for Men
The nourishing water-based formula that MARLOWE. uses for its facial moisturizer (above) contains natural ingredients like green tea extract (for antioxidants), willow bark (to help calm stressed skin) and algae (to soothe). It’s also free from parabens and phthalates, and is cruelty-free (not tested on animals). MARLOWE. is a lightweight lotion so it’s great for oily skin as it won’t look too shiny or greasy on your face.
2. La Roche-Posay Ultra Face Moisturizer
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Got more sensitive skin? We’ve been using La Roche-Posay for years, thanks to its cool, comforting texture (from the addition of prebiotic thermal water) and lightweight feel. It massages into the skin easily without leaving any white residue, and its oil-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic formula makes it great for anyone prone to redness or irritated skin.
Other things to note if you’ve got sensitive skin: make sure to use a good sunscreen too. You don’t want to leave your skin exposed to the elements. Many of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin double as a good face cream; otherwise, you’ll want to start with a light layer of moisturizer before rubbing in n some sunscreen overtop.
3. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
BEST FOR DRY SKIN
Prone to dry skin? While dry skin can be due to a number of things, from genetics to the environment, you don’t have to perpetually suffer from dry skin either. One of the best face creams for dry skin comes from First Aid Beauty, whose best-selling face wash/cleanser has become a must-have on our bathroom shelf.
The brand’s “Ultra Repair Cream” is known as an “intense hydration moisturizer,” thanks to ingredients like oatmeal and shea butter. Unlike the other face creams on our list, which have more of a gooey lotion consistency, this one has more of a “whipped” texture, making it easy to pick up on the fingers and distribute it evenly around the face. There is no greasy after-feel, and, for a dry skin cream, there is surprisingly no heaviness on the skin either. Everything absorbs instantly.
4. King C. Gillette’s Face & Stubble Moisturizer
BEST FOR FACIAL HAIR
What if you’re someone with facial hair, like a beard or five o’clock shadow? “You want a lightweight face cream that keeps moisture in, and irritants out, especially if you’re prone to dry flaky skin,” says Orengo, who recommends King C. Gillette’s Face & Stubble Moisturizer, which can calm irritation and dryness and illuminate skin. “There are lots of good ingredients in there like emollient oils, vitamin B complex, and glycerine,” he says, “so you can trade discomfort and beardruff for smooth and soft skin.
5. Hemp Skincare Bundle
BEST CBD SKINCARE
Many brands are now touting the benefits for CBD for skincare, including the brand B GREAT, whose Hemp Skincare Bundle includes an antioxidant cream to help rejuvenate tired skin; a “relief and recovery cream” to ease soreness in the body; and a “hemp lip defense,” which helps to moisturize dry lips.
According to B GREAT founder Goodstein, the best CBD face creams can go a long way towards healing and conditioning your face. “CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect on sebocytes, the skin cells that produce sebum,” she explains. “Most importantly, it has been shown to reduce inflammation. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD may be able to help reduce swelling, pain, and redness from existing breakouts, or irritation from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.”
We recommend using the B GREAT cream after a long flight or work day where you’ve been masked up — we’ve found the face cream to help our skin feel more refreshed. “CBD is especially effective in skincare products, wherever instances of inflammation occur, including eliminating razor burn, reduce puffiness under the eyes, and reducing swelling causes by long duration mask wearing.,” Goodstein says.”
Despite some misconceptions, CBD products (including CBD face creams) are fully legal for purchase online. “CBD, more formally known as Cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant and not from marijuana,” Goodstein says. “After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill Act, CBD products were made fully legal to be sold and purchased in the United States. CBD can be taken on planes and there is no restriction around traveling with CBD,” she adds.
6. Ghost Democracy Clean Daily Face Moisturizer
BEST NEW SKINCARE BRAND
You’ve probably seen Ghost Democracy all over social media but it’s not just hype: the brand’s Clean Daily Face Moisturizer is one of the best face creams we’ve tested, thanks to its lightweight feel and super intense hydration.
In just a few days, our skin felt more moisturized and more supple with a healthier glow overall. There’s none of that greasy feeling too — Ghost Democracy’s face cream is oil-free and quick-absorbing.
Ghost Democracy says its formula contains 12% probiotics (I.e. the “good” bacteria) that helps to balance your skin’s microbiome. Oat seed extract helps to calm skin, while niacinamide (a.k.a. Vitamin B3) is great for strengthening skin and pro-vitamin B5 helps to help promote skin softness and elasticity.