Hands up: who wants to be handsome as shit? I mean, so painfully good looking that hordes of wanton women will pursue you down the streets until your calves give out. With teeth so white your smile will give people retinal echoes. And skin so smooth you could literally slide to work like some buttery sex god.
Right now, I’m none of those things. Maybe a little buttery after lunch. But otherwise I’m just an adequate facsimile of a man trying to hide the fact I’m today dealing with a liver more corrupt that Chris Christie. Man I’m hungover. Sat as I am, like a glazed ham in ripped jeans, I can’t help but feel the hypocrite, considering this is about grooming advice and I look like I’ve been thrown up by a whale. But fuck it: here’s how to have really lovely skin not like mine RN.
Stage 1: Exfoliate
The key, loyal Groom Service readers will be glad to know, is combining many of the products I’ve previously recommended into one dream team (you bought them ALL right?). Assembling a dope crew from the solo artists, if you will. Your Putang Clan. N.W.A for the bathroom cabinet. N*ggas Wit Antioxidant-based facial toners. LOL. Yep, still drunk.
The first part of your complete skincare regime is exfoliation. If your skin is usually dry, then skip this stage and go straight to number two. For the rest of you, it pays to exfoliate. Here’s my RX: very oily skin should be exfoliated daily; moderately oily skin every three days; slightly oily skin when you feel a build-up happening, perhaps on warmer days. I personally hate microbead exfoliators and recommend instead a lactic acid based cream like Aesop’s Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste.
Small blobs do a lot. But if it’s too expensive, REN and Clarins both offer cheaper alternatives.
Stage 2: Cleanse & Tone
Take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror, you fucking mess. That’s what I said to myself this (every) morning. And it’s what I’m saying to you now. Only you truly understand your skin type. So look at it. And keep that in mind when you wash your face.
Me? I don’t overdo it with cleanser as I’m apt to suffer dry skin. But when my countenance looks uneven, perhaps a bit patchy or like it’s ready for a breakout, I go to work on it with Clinique’s Charcoal Cleanser.
For those not suited to exfoliators, it’s powerful enough to really get into the pores, without risking sandpapery skin. A small blob lathered on and washed off with warm water works wonders.
If you need deeper cleaning still, I recommend toning the skin from time to time. Again, you want to be gentle here: too much in the way of chemicals will have the opposite effect and can cause redness. So cough up the cash and invest in Aesop’s Parsley Seed Toner if you can, and dab it on with a cotton pad.
If you can’t stretch the cash, Kiehl’s have decent toners at mid-range prices. Or you could even try The Body Shop, if you’re tight AF.
Stage 3: Moisturize
I didn’t moisturize this morning. Slapped my own wrist, don’t worry. I didn’t do it because I’m pretty sure tequila is actually coming out of my pores today. But this is an anomaly for me. I always moisturize. It’s important if you want Keanu Reeves levels of youthfulness. And essential if you like the sound of the wanton hordes of women I mentioned earlier.
The depth of required moisture again depends on your unique skin type. A good all-rounder to which I’ve recently been introduced is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream.
Using this twice daily, usually after washing, has presented few problems for me, where other creams can encourage pimple breakouts. And because of its potency, you only need a tiny amount.
If you want to go further still, you can add some pro-level shit to your cabinet and invest in a deep-penetrating serum. This is particularly useful for people with dry skin. And doubly so during colder months. I like La Roche Posay’s Hydraphase Intense Serum for that purpose and plan to use it this winter.
Try it for three days a week, applied after you’ve cleansed and your moisturizer has absorbed. Or instead of a moisturizer, if you prefer.
I’m off to cleanse and exfoliate my soul.
Hit me with your grooming questions below so I don’t have to come up with column ideas for myself and can just answer them next week.
– Alex Harris
Knock, knock. Who is it? Groom service.
- Photography: Cindy Parthonnaud / Highsnobiety.com