The No-Nonsense Grooming Guide
Illustration by Mr Joe Mckendry
The past few years have been ones of complete excess: Mr Harry Styles’ tour outfits (thanks, Gucci), Mr Jason Momoa’s beard (RIP) and Mr Chris Hemsworth’s luxury sunburn solution (using his wife’s £320 La Mer moisturiser and thus, landing himself in the doghouse). More is more at the moment, and it’s a philosophy that the world of grooming has taken in stride. Who even are you if you don’t have a 10-step, K-beauty-inspired skincare routine?
It’s been intense, which is perhaps why the world seems to be kicking off its velvet slippers in favour of something a little easier. Minimalism is back. Call it the Ms Marie Kondo effect, an annual summer strip down, or a step towards sustainability – in 2019 we’re all looking to calm and consolidate our lives, and our grooming routines along the way. After all, if something doesn’t spark joy, it’s got to go.
Yes, this applies to your skin situation, with the hashtag #skincarediets one of summer’s biggest social stirs. Honestly, who has the time for 10 steps, let alone four? Surely, a good bit of polishing, nourishing and moisturising is all we need, right?
“Correct!” says Dr Michael Prager, skincare expert and founder of his eponymous brand, available on our sister site. “It has all become nonsensical. A few essentials are all that is necessary for effective, efficient skincare.” With the good doctor’s help, we present a slimmed-down, time-friendly approach by prioritising the prep you need for the complexion you covet.
Dermatologists worldwide would faint at the thought of a man thinking he could ditch his daily cleanse. Cleansing is the most important thing you can do for your face, which does not mean splashing a little water on your mug and calling it a day. Invest in a great product, whether that’s an oil, milk, cream or foaming wash. “I would never skip the cleanser in the evening,” affirms Dr Prager. “It is so important to wash off the heavy metals, dirt and fine dust that accumulate during the day as they can seriously harm your skin if left on overnight.”
In other words: wash your face before you go to bed. Power up your cleanser by picking one with extolling properties such as Sisley – Paris Buff & Wash Facial Gel, which simultaneously strips the skin of toxins while sloughing away dead skin cells.
Serums are like the skincare version of a super smoothie, the kind you get at Barry’s Bootcamp and question whether they are worth it. The reality is, though, that these are the big guns in your skincare arsenal. Often focused on one major ingredient or a rich blend of all, serums can home in and shoot at the situations that need addressing on your skin.
“It is so important to include an antioxidant in your routine, which are often found in serums,” says Dr Prager. “It gives you as much protection underneath the skin as possible, helping to stave off epidermal and even DNA damage from environmental aggressors.” This Allies of Skin option is a good call for anyone suffering from dry, dehydrated or damaged skin that needs a serious pick-me-up.
The moisturising oil
There are plenty of moisturisers on the market, however, there has recently been a real revolution in the category. Facial oils (which are basically just moisturisers without water) have gained popularity due to their ability to nourish, protect and seal the skin in a way that is more holistic than traditional creams. “Oils not only provide a protective layer on top of the skin, but also contain essential fatty acids for membrane protection,” explains Dr Prager. “They also, of course, have a moisturising effect.”
Don’t be afraid of them; new-wave oils are often cold-pressed, plant-based and absorb like a dream, reducing your body’s own oil production for blemish-free and brighter skin.
I’m as guilty as the next man of ignoring this step – who can even see sun damage, anyway? Well, unfortunately, your future self can. Trust every doctor under the sun (pun intended) when they tell you that the above three steps we’ve just listed are pointless if you aren’t adhering to this one. Sun damage is the main cause of premature ageing, discolouration and dehydration within the skin, so slather on your SPF and bear it.
Celebrity favourite Dr. Barbara Sturm offers some expensive but seriously efficacious sun protection that’s everything you want from an SPF: light, absorbent and nourishing to a fault.
Four steps, grand to some but seriously speedy to many, are really all you need for great skin. “Applying a large variety of products will increase the chance of experiencing allergic reactions,” says Dr Prager. “This could manifest itself as dermatitis, for instance. I don’t see what more there should be if each product is formulated well and contains the right amount of necessary active ingredients.”
You heard it here first: streamlined skincare is just what the doctor ordered.