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The Ultimate Men's Skincare Routine

By Kiehl’s Education Team

A proper men's skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated, while still ensuring you have refreshed, healthy-looking skin all year round. Discover some key skincare steps you should never skip, from cleansing to SPF .

To many men, starting a dedicated skincare routine can seem intimidating. Social media often makes it seem as though you cannot achieve healthy-looking skin without putting in a ton of time and effort. Perhaps you have tried to curate a routine of your own, but you have ended up discouraged by questions about whether face serums are necessary and what toner does for your skin. When you are not familiar with distinct types of products and what they do, it can be confusing (especially if your knowledge of skincare for men starts and ends with what your dad taught you about shaving in middle school).

Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective—we want to help you by breaking down a men's skincare routine that is designed for beginners. If you are not yet comfortable trying some of the more advanced routines and your skin is in relatively good condition (meaning you do not have any complex skin concerns like widespread breakouts or extreme dryness), these are the products for you. Keep reading to learn how to upgrade your routine with our best men's skincare formulas.


While your daily skincare routine for men can be adjusted according to your needs, there are a few steps you should follow every day. Learn what they are (and what Kiehl's formulas are right for your skincare needs) below.

Step 1: Wash Away Dirt and Oil

While differences in skin can be as varied as people are, the basics of a solid skincare routine are similar for everyone. This means that no matter who you are, your skincare routine should always start with cleansing. Your skin is exposed to air pollution, dirt, and external stressors throughout the day, all of which can disrupt your skin barrier. That, coupled with the excess oil and dead skin that naturally accumulate, makes cleansing twice daily necessary.

To ensure your men's skincare routine starts on the right note, choosing the right cleanser is key. Our signature gel face wash for men, Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, washes away surface dirt and oil without over-drying the skin. The energizing formula with Caffeine and Menthol also helps wake up tired, dull-looking skin to give it a fresher appearance. Using the face wash is simple: just dispense a dime-sized dollop of the gel formula into your palms, then massage the lather onto your face in an upward motion. Once finished, rinse your skin thoroughly with temperate water.

Step 2: Prep Your Skin with a Kiehl's Toner

Incorporating a toner into your skincare routine is recommended for those with more oily skin types. A toner is a liquid that often refreshes and primes the skin for the next steps in your daily skincare routine and can also have a slew of other benefits.

We recommend starting with a mild, non-drying toner suitable for all men's skin types, like Facial Fuel Energizing Tonic for Men. Made with Caffeine, Vitamin C, and Bamboo Extract, this gentle formula helps to balance and invigorate skin after cleansing (or shaving). It visibly reduces the signs of fatigue and leaves your skin feeling hydrated and comfortable. You can apply it with a cotton round or simply pour a bit of the liquid onto your hands, then pat onto your face. Choose whichever method feels best for you.

Step 3: Address Eye-Area Concerns

Eye cream is a product that you may not think you need, but we recommend incorporating it into your routine if it makes sense. The skin texture around the eye area is thinner from the rest of your facial skin, which is why you should treat your delicate eyelids with a product that addresses your specific eye-area concerns. For general hydration and anti-aging, we suggest our lightweight formula, like Eye Fuel. Like the rest of the formulas in our men's Facial Fuel line, it contains Caffeine and helps wake up the appearance of tired skin.

For a more intensive approach to anti-aging, try our Super Multi-Corrective Eye Zone Treatment. The rich yet fast-absorbing eye cream works to address the visible signs of aging in four key areas around your eyes (the brow bone, under-eye, outer corners, and eyelids).

Step 4: Moisturize For Hydrated Skin

It’s important to incorporate an effective moisturizer after your cleanser into your skincare routine, as it is an essential step for all skin types.

Even if you have naturally oily skin, a moisturizer is necessary: it helps keep your skin balanced and hydrated. Our Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men works for all skin types, and our collection of moisturizing formulas can be used to address specific concerns, including oily skin. Our best-selling Facial Fuel delivers an invigorating formula that absorbs quickly (without residue), and leaves skin feeling hydrated, reenergized, and revitalized.

Step 5: Apply (and Reapply) Sunscreen

Applying SPF daily is a non-negotiable step in any skincare routine, and is something you should do daily, regardless of the weather or how much time you plan to spend outside. It’s a healthy skin habit with immense benefits that will be easy to implement once you make it part of your daily routine. Not only does effective sun protection diminish your chances of getting a sunburn, but by avoiding UV damage, you can prevent visible signs of aging that result from sun exposure.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a daily SPF, such as Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel. This lightweight, non-comedogenic formula absorbs quickly, leaving the skin with a matte finish. It is suitable for all skin types and can be applied to your face and body. You will want to apply an even layer of sunscreen to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outside (and reapply it every two hours, or after sweating or swimming). Other sun-protective measures you should follow include sticking to the shade, avoiding direct sunlight at midday, and protecting your eyes with UV-filtering sunglasses.

Routine Booster: Deep Clean with a Kiehl’s Clay Mask

Not every step in our recommended skincare routine for men is meant to be done daily. Some additional steps are only necessary a few times a week or when your skin is in need of a boost. One such step is masking. Men's skin tends to be on the oilier side, which means skin concerns like clogged pores and visible shininess can be an issue for some. To help address these concerns, we recommend reaching for a clay face mask, like Rare Earth Deep Pore-Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask. The best-selling formula, which features fairly-traded Amazonian White Clay, helps detoxify the skin, while diminishing the appearance of clogged pores and enlarged pores.* You can use this powerful mask 2-3 times per week (or as needed) to deep clean your skin for a visibly more refined appearance.

*Results based on expert grading in a 2-week clinical test on 54 subjects.


Exfoliate & Prep Your Skin

Exfoliating helps remove dead cells from the surface of your skin, which can encourage a closer, more comfortable shave. You do not necessarily want to shave daily — in fact, doing so can irritate your skin. Because shaving naturally exfoliates the skin, and given the frequency that men often shave, you may want to incorporate additional formulas into your shaving routine to make it most beneficial for your skin.

Before reaching for your razor, be sure to prep your skin with Facial Fuel Scrub. This men's skincare staple with Menthol and crushed Apricot Kernels cleanses and helps slough away dead skin and other impurities. When used before shaving, it also helps soften tough facial hair. You do not need much of the product to reap the benefits: a dime-sized dollop, massaged gently over your face, is ideal for your pre-shave skin prep.

To make the most enjoyable shaving experience, be sure to use shaving cream, gel, or lotion to help the razor glide over your damp skin. A brushless shave cream like Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle can help cushion skin from sharp blades and keep irritation to a minimum. The gentle formula contains Aloe Vera and Sesame Seed Oil, works on all skin types, and leaves skin primed for a smooth shave.

Restore Your Skin Barrier Post-Shave

Once you have removed your facial hair as you see fit, it’s important to help restore and recover your skin barrier, as freshly shaved skin and trimmed hair often require extra care.
To help restore your skin barrier, we recommend using a moisturizer like our Ultra Facial Cream which helps to provide instant repair and relief for dry, sensitive skin. Additionally, our Ultra Facial Barrier Balm with Squalane provides on-the-go hydration for touchups during the day. Follow with a reliable SPF to complete your skincare routine and leave your skin feeling heaxlthy, moisturized, and protected.

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