This phenomenon is partly psychological (a gradual mental adaptation to a new beauty baseline, if you will), but largely due to the ever-changing needs of one’s skin and hair. Environment, hormones and, of course, age have a habit of shifting your body’s requirements. In other words, Mother Nature is constantly – and somewhat irritatingly – moving the goalposts.
The solution is a grooming “reboot”. Rotating your products every couple of months won’t just allow you to reappraise an existing regime, it also assists skin and hair renewal because different products trigger different cellular mechanisms.
Here are eight easy ways to breathe new life into your routine:
SWAP CREAM FOR OIL
Facial oils are a good alternative to traditional creams during the colder months when retaining moisture becomes a top priority. Oils lock in hydration by reinforcing the lipid barrier, the skin’s protective shield. They also deliver fat-soluble nutrients that assist skin cells in the regeneration process, thus stalling the ageing process.
Not all oils are created equal, though, and a cheap formulation made with mineral oil and synthetics is best avoided. Go straight to the top and try La Mer’s The Renewal Oil, which mimics the skin’s “hydrolipidic” structure with a combination of sesame and eucalyptus oils as well as the brand’s secret “Miracle Broth”. Alternatively, M.E. Skin Lab’s Huile 27 is a blend of seven natural vegetable oils that soften skin and provide antioxidant benefits.
WEAR SUNSCREEN WHEN THERE’S NO SUN
Many men tend to think of sunscreen as a seasonal investment, a product that prevents skin from frying while you’re lounging at the beach club. However, UV exposure is a risk throughout the year – even in winter and even while you’re indoors. Granted, you might not catch a tan in mid-December, but you definitely run the risk of damaging cells. This is because UVA rays – which are at a consistent level throughout the year – do a fantastic job of damaging collagen and elastin, ageing skin more effectively than smoking or binge drinking. Ergo, a broad-spectrum sunscreen needs to be part of your routine.
Save yourself the trouble of juggling too many bottles by buying a daytime moisturiser with a sunscreen that’s “built in”. That way, all your basics are covered in one product. Malin + Goetz Face Moisturizer features an SPF30 (more than enough for city life) while Dr. Jackson’s 01 Day Cream packs in an SPF20.
LAYER WITH A SERUM
Serums are an important part of any “corrective” skincare routine. Not only do they contain high concentrations of active ingredients, but their compact molecular structure allows them to penetrate deeper into the skin than a traditional cream or oil. This is a good thing since repair takes place deep in the dermis and not at a surface level.
Unlike oils, which can often be used alone, serums are water-based, which means they get absorbed quickly, leaving no residue. This means you’ll need to layer a cream (or an oil) on top. Think of serums as an undercoat; very rarely are they a substitute for a moisturiser altogether.
GROOM IN YOUR SLEEP
Contrary to popular belief, grooming is not just for daylight hours. The best time to capitalise on your fancy unguents is during the night, when skin metabolism peaks and the body isn’t busy defending itself from environmental aggressors such as pollution and UV rays. An overnight grooming routine is doubly important if you’re not getting enough shuteye and need to look presentable by morning.
Supreme Night Secret by Dr Sebagh features a clever ingredient known as a “chronobiological stimulant” that speeds up the skin’s cells ability to regenerate, thus erasing the visible evidence that you’re drastically sleep deprived. Dr. Jackson’s 02 Night Skin Cream is a more natural alternative featuring a dense mix of baobab seed oil, mango seed butter, kigelia fruit extract and frankincense tree resin.
UPGRADE YOUR HANDSHAKE
A toolkit such as Czech & Speake’s Leather-Bound Manicure Set covers all bases. Use the hardwearing clippers, scissors and file to gradually reduce the nail edge to about one millimetre of growth. Above all, resist the urge to go overboard with the cuticle nipper that’s included; this part of the nail should always be left intact.
Sandpaper palms are easily remedied with Buly 1803 Pommade Concrète Balm. Activate the dense cream by warming it in between your hands and be sure to massage some of it into the cuticle.
WEAR FRAGRANCE DIFFERENTLY
For many men, the high concentration of perfume oil and alcohol in fine fragrance can cause skin sensitivity or, in the case of severe allergies, a pounding headache. There are common workarounds such as spraying your clothes or hair instead of your skin. But fragranced beard oils are also a way to do it… provided, of course, that you have a beard.
Tom Ford’s Conditioning Beard oils are perfumed with “Private Blend” concoctions, including tobacco vanille, oud wood and neroli portofino. While discernable, they don’t pack the same punch as his potent eau de parfums. They also contain a softening blend of jojoba, almond and grapeseed oils that tame facial fuzz in an instant. Those with longer barbs can comb the product through with Buly’s acetate beard comb.
GET A VITAMIN BOOST
There will be times when it’s appropriate to crack open the big guns and employ the powers of a one-off intensive treatment to overhaul flagging skin. This might take the form of a weekly mask, a powerful resurfacing treatment or, in our case, a seven-day dose of vitamin C to give skin a new lease of life.
Vitamin C may not sound particularly glamorous but it is the gold standard in antioxidant protection. It is fantastic for brightening dull and pigmented skin while boosting collagen production and supporting the skin’s repair process. The only catch is that vitamin C can oxidise almost immediately, rendering it impotent (this is why you’re well advised to drink OJ the moment it is squeezed). Products such as Perricone MD’s Vitamin C Ester 15 or Dr Sebagh’s Vitamin C Powder Cream are formulated to be stable at high concentrations.
REHABILITATE YOUR HAIR
It is no small irony that the very things we do to enhance the appearance of our hair – regular washing, blow drying, chemical treatments, styling products – eventually take their toll and become its worst enemy. Overstyling, heat exposure and product build-up cause hair to lose its lustre or become parched and prone to splitting. In addition to dialling back the daily routine of washing, an intensive rehabilitative treatment and industrial-strength conditioner might be in order.