The issue of whether men should be worried about their skin is an ongoing theme. We’re tough and stoic. We’re hipsters. We’re in touch with our feminine side. Lots of concerns here, but the reality is that taking care of your skin is much more than a vanity issue; it’s more comfortable to have great skin and your entire body enjoys the health benefits when you take care of it.
In this post, we will look at some of the things that you can do to care for your skin naturally and easily, without a ton of effort or expense. We will also include a bit of hair care and beard care.
It all starts with soap. A good, natural soap is important. Many real soaps, like Ivory or Dr. Bronners, will likely dry your skin a bit, so it’s important to moisturize afterward. We like soaps like Dr. Bronners, a fellow B Corporation. It’s a natural castile soap that doesn’t use animal by-products and is safe for your skin (and the environment). It’s comes in bars and liquids. If you buy the liquid, dilute it about 50% with water. It’s concentrated and doesn’t really need to be that strong. Of course our favorite is Teadora’s award winning soaps (Prevention Magazine Best Natural Soap), which are vegan, cruelty-free and 100% organic. We try to avoid antibacterial soaps, like Dial, that contain triclosan. This is the primary antibacterial ingredient and it has been implicated in certain illnesses and might be a partial cause for ‘superbugs’, bacteria that are resistant to disinfectants.
One of the healthiest things you can do for you hair is to not wash it every day. If you can stand it, wash your hair every other day or every third day. Allowing the natural oils to build up in your hair will strengthen it and make it healthier.
When you do shampoo, try to use a natural shampoo that has at least some organic ingredients. This might seem like a bit of a luxury, but the skin on your scalp is some of the most fragile on your body and isn’t exposed to the elements (unless you’re bald, then you’re probably not reading this section). There are several brands that you can get easily, although we recommend another Prevention Magazine award winner, Brazilian Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner by Teadora.
There are many different brands of face moisturizer on the market. Many of them are filled with lots of strange chemicals and additives. Again, go organic. Organic items aren’t necessarily a lot more expensive than “conventional”, but are less likely to give your skin problems and allergic reactions.
The easiest face moisturizers to use are ones that simply come from nature. Shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax can be combined to create a moisturizing bar that is all natural and inexpensive. Plain coconut oil is a simple way to moisturize your skin and has the added advantages of being anti-bacterial and antifungal.
Don’t fall for the “men’s” brands in the stores. Some are great, but many tend to be very heavily scented and colored. It’s not necessary, especially if you’re taking the time to take care of yourself.
There are dozens of brands of moisturizers on the market. While many of them are marketed for women, if they are organic, they often have very little or no scent. Products made with hemp oil, coconut oil, and shea butter are all great choices, although I like cupuaçu, which is TWICE as moisturizing as shea butter.
The reason to care for the skin on your body is simple. You care for the inside, right? Trying to exercise, eat right, and look good. Who wants a perfect body wrapped in cracked old leather?
There are lots of products available at drug stores like Walmart, beauty specialty stores such as Ulta, and of course on Amazon. Look in the moisturizer section and see if you can find an all-natural, organic brand that doesn’t smell like grandma (no offense mom!).
Okay, how about a bit of honesty? Those mountain men that many of you are trying so hard to look like never used beard oil. Their beards grew, they trimmed them, and that was it. That said, it’s really pretty simple to find ways to moisturize your beard naturally.
For mustache wax, try just using shea butter, which is easily available. It’s a natural plant oil that is solid at room temperature. All you have to do is take a bit of shea butter, melt it between your fingers, and use it on your mustache. In the “good old days”, men would often use the fat from their steak dinner. That seems a bit gross, so go with the shea butter idea. If you are interested in a unique Brazililan ingredient, try cupuaçu, which is actually 200% more moisturizing than shea butter, and available on Amazon.
To moisturize your beard, you can easily make a great beard oil that isn’t full of junk. Jojoba oil, argan oil, and sweet almond oil mixed in equal parts will do the trick. If you want it to smell nice, you can add some essential oils to it. Most men don’t want to go through the trouble, so it is easy to find a reasonably-priced oil on Amazon and set it up on subscription for a bottle per month. Your partner will love how soft your beard is, and the right oil will even help get rid of that ‘beardruff’.
Care Down There
Men have a tendency to let their nethers do their own thing, until it starts to get uncomfortable. That’s fine, but if you are going to be outside in the cold a lot, there are two things that might happen: The cold air will get through your jeans and cause chafing, or you might have an uncomfortable steamy swamp in your snowsuit.
If you are starting to feel chafing, try using coconut oil in the shower. It will moisturize your skin and make it much more comfortable in the cold. If you’re going to be wearing a snowsuit all day, try using a bit of cornstarch. It absorbs moisture and will reduce the swampy effect. There are also some good products on the market, like Gold Bond powder and other natural versions.
For more details on this, there is a great article on Men's Health from a couple years ago.
All year long, your feet take a beating. In the winter, it can be even worse. Sometimes they are frigid; other times, they are sweaty.
The best thing you can do for your feet is buy good moisture-wicking socks and great-fitting breathable shoes. If, however, you find that your feet are dried and cracking, try this little trick:
- Wash your feet very well with a good soap. Be sure to clean under your nails with soap.
- Dry your feet every well.
- Slather your feet in coconut oil.
- Put bags over your feet.
- Put socks over the bags.
- Sleep like that for a few nights.
Every morning, take the bags off, wipe your feet off, and put on socks and shoes. In about a week, those dry cracked feet will feel a lot better.
If the skin on your feet tends to dry out in winter, put coconut oil on them every day. Be careful you don’t slide all over in bare feet, but the skin will look and feel much healthier. Many male Teadora customers use the Brazilian body butter to care for their feet and other cracked, dry areas such as elbows and knees.
Why do all of this?
Back to those mountain men. They lived alone and didn’t really care much about what they looked like. But most of them, when they got into town with a bit of change in their pockets, would go straight for a hot bath, a shave and a haircut, most of which they got all in one place.
We have this image that mountain men weren’t vain. When they were crawling through the snow looking for pelts or digging in the soil for gold, they didn’t care, but the minute they went someplace where others could see them, there was a booming industry in looking great just waiting to serve them. Even the smallest mining town had a barber and a tailor.
One of the first things someone will notice about a man is his shoes. Good shoes mean the man likely knows how to care for the details. Bad shoes, uncared-for or unpolished, can be taken as an indication that he doesn’t care. Taking care of your skin is like that: If you have healthy skin and hair, it says that you are paying attention to the details of your person. The people who see it might not be able to verbalize it, but subconsciously they will react to it, whether in a business or social setting.
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