The Best Skin Care Products You Never Knew You Needed (2024)

Everything you need to build the ultimate routine.

By Garrett Munce

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The Best Skin Care Products You Never Knew You Needed (1)

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YOU PROBABLY KNOW that skin care is important on some level, but whether you’re already doing a lot to care for your skin or nothing at all, the thought of creating a skincare routine is daunting. There are so many products out there, with more arriving on shelves every day, it can be hard to know what is worth it and what’s not. Furthermore, everyone’s skin is different, so how do you know a product is going to work for you? The reality is, you don’t until you try it, but there are a few shortcuts.

We at Men’s Health take skin care very seriously. We’ve covered it all, from products to skin types to ingredients and more, and will continue to be on the front lines. This list of the best skin care products for men is your first step in finding the right routine for you.

What Skin Care Products Should Men Use?

The ideal skincare routine doesn’t need to have every single one of our 21 picks in it. Believe us, we know skin care can be time consuming and expensive. The most basic skincare routine should have these 5 products: a cleanser, an antioxidant serum, a retinol, a moisturizer and a sunscreen.

You’ll find all of those types of products below, of course, but you’ll also find way more. That’s because as your skincare routine develops, you may want to add more in (like an eye cream, for instance) or you may realize that your skin requires a more gentle touch (that’s when you switch to a gentle cleanser, for instance). Skincare routines evolve, and as you get more seasoned you’ll learn what your skin needs and likes. As for where to start, our list won’t steer you wrong.

Best Non-Foaming Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

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The Best Skin Care Products You Never Knew You Needed (9)

Cleansing your face is the cornerstone to a healthy mug, and you should plan to wash your face twice a day. If you have sensitive, dry or easily-irritated skin, this gentle cleanser gently washes away dirt and debris from your skin without foam and leaves your skin feeling clean and hydrated.

Read more: Best Body Washes

Best Foaming Cleanser

Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser

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If you have normal, combination or oily skin, or just feel like you need an extra deep clean, reach for a foaming cleanser. This one lathers up well and leaves your skin feeling extra clean, but not tight or dry thanks to the variety of plant extracts and oils that help soothe and hydrate it at the same time.

Best Toner

Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

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Toners exist to help rebalance your skin’s pH after you cleanse since traditional cleansers used to strip away too much oil from your face leaving it out of balance.

Most toners are designed to give some hydration back to your skin and balance it out before you move on to the rest of your skincare routine. Not only do a few sprays of this cleanser feel great on your skin, but the formula is packed with hypochlorous acid that helps to soothe irritation and reduce redness.

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Regular exfoliation is another important part of any effective skincare routine and means that you’re actively removing dead skin cells. If you don't exfoliate a dead skin cells, you skin can start looking dull and lifeless, or worse, lead to breakouts.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or poly hydroxy acids (PHAs) gently remove dead cells stuck to the surface of your skin and Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) go a step further and also remove dead cells, dirt and buildup from inside your pores. This effective toner harness salicylic acid (a BHA) to help keep both the surface of your skin and your pores clear.

Best Physical Exfoliator

GoldfadenMD Doctor’s Scrub Microdermabrasion for Face

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Physical exfoliators (aka "scrubs") serve the same purpose as chemical exfoliants, but they use gritty scrub particles to physically remove the dead cells instead of acids. It’s a personal preference which you use, but if you use a physical exfoliant be mindful to not be too aggressive with the scrubbing so you don’t damage your skin.

We like this effective scrub because the particles are super tiny so they’re slightly more gentle on our face and won’t get caught in facial hair. Plus, the brightening results are instant.

Best Lightweight Moisturizer

Neutrogena Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

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Speaking of important skincare steps, moisturizing is up there at the top—for every skin type. The best moisturizers do two things: deliver hydration to the skin, and seal it inside so it stays where it’s needed.

Hydrated skin functions better and looks better, so applying a moisturizer like this hyaluronic acid-packed gel twice a day is essential to long term skin health. The best thing about this Neutrogena pick is that it sinks into your skin so quickly you won’t even know it’s there.

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Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Atwater Heavy Armor Facial Moisturizer

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When your skin is dry, a moisturizer is obviously going to help by adding in some much needed moisture. But, more importantly, a moisturizer with more occlusive ingredients, meaning ingredients that sit on top of your skin, will help keep the moisture inside your skin where it’s really needed (instead of evaporating out, which is a thing).

This heavy duty moisturizer relies on shea butter for that, but also contains niacin-amide and other ingredients to help bolster your skin’s natural protective barrier.

Best Night Cream

Ursa Major Alpine Rich Cream

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Okay, using a different moisturizer just for nighttime isn’t completely necessary, but night creams exist for a reason and there could be benefits to using one depending on your skin. During the day, your skin is in protective mode, where it’s focused on protection against the elements. At night, it enters regeneration mode while you’re sleeping and uses this time to rebuild itself.

Night creams are usually thicker and more hydrating, giving your skin the hydration it needs to perform regenerative functions as well as other ingredients. We like this cream for nighttime because it’s ultra rich and soothing, but sinks in quickly and doesn’t feel greasy on our faces.

Best Moisturizer with SPF

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion

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Wearing both moisturizer and sunscreen every day is one of the best things you can do for your skin, so if your moisturizer doesn’t have sunscreen in it, you’ll add on one top. To save time and steps in our routine, a combination moisturizer and sunscreen is a great choice, as long as it has dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 minimum.

This hybrid product is a classic for a reason. It’s deeply moisturizing, gentle enough for even sensitive skin and contains enough sunscreen to keep your skin protected (but won’t leave a white cast on our face).

Best Facial Sunscreen

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

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If you’re going to do one thing to improve your skin both in the short and long term, it's to wear sunscreen every single day (yes, even when it’s cloudy and yes, even in the winter). If your moisturizer doesn’t already contain sunscreen, add it on top of your moisturizer as the last step in your skincare routine every morning.

This invisible facial sunscreen is ideal for daily wear because it’s completely invisible on your skin, provides more than enough sun protection and leaves a dry, matte finish instead of feeling greasy or sticky.

Best Face Oil

Caldera + Lab The Good Face Serum

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Face oils can sometimes feel counterintuitive, since so often men are looking to control oil production. The difference is that a face oil contains good oils that moisturize your face and can actually help decrease oil production (when your face is dry, it can produce more oil).

If you find heavy night creams too greasy or heavy, a face oil like this one can achieve the same moisturizing, skin-regenerating effect while being lighter weight and more tolerable.

Best Eye Cream

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Firm + Bright Eye Treatment

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Many men first notice signs of aging around their eye areas because the skin there is thinner, more delicate and more prone to showing fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, because it’s so thin, it sags and gets puffy more easily and shows dark circles quickly (just think about how your eyes look when you’ve had a night of rough sleep).

Using an eye cream can help control all those issues. This one combines antioxidant powerhouse Vitamin C and lactic acid for firming and brightening effects, making your eyes look rested and alert even if you feel anything but.

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Best De-puffing Eye Cream

Dr. Brandt No More Baggage Eye De-Puffing Gel

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Not all eye creams are great at depuffing, but when you wake up looking puffy or swollen around the eyes, reach for this one. It instantly smooths and tightens the skin around your eyes so any sign of puffiness is gone right before your eyes.

Best Hydrating Serum

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5 Hydrating Serum

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Serums exist as “treatment” steps that are meant to target specific skin issues you may have. Think of a serum like the booster in your smoothie—an add-on that’s concentrated and meant to address a certain need.

If you find your skin feeling dry even if you’re using moisturizer, consider adding a hydrating serum like this one. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid which helps skin cells retain moisture. Smooth it on before your moisturizer for added hydration.

Best Antioxidant Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

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Dermatologists advise using an antioxidant serum every morning to help protect your skin against free radical damage, which can be cause by things like sunlight, pollution, and other environmental factors and can lead to skin aging, dark spots, uneven skin tone and more.

This often-recommended Skinceuticals serum is a classic for a reason. The potent blend of Vitamins C, E and Ferulic Acid is an antioxidant powerhouse.

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Best Retinol Serum

Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

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Most dermatologists will also recommend you use a retinol serum at night. Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, has been studied for decades for its ability to help speed up cell turnover which slows down as we age. What this means for your skin is that it helps address signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, reduce the appearance of dark spots, evens skin tone and can even help control breakouts.

Use retinol only at night and make sure to wear sunscreen during the day, as it can make skin more sensitive to sunlight. This gentle serum is great for beginners and seasoned users alike because there is minimal irritation, which often can happen when you first start using retinol.

Best Peptide Serum

Medik8 Oxy-R Peptides

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Dark spots and uneven skin tone can be difficult to treat with skincare products alone, but this peptide-packed serum targets them effectively. It also contains oxyresveratrol, a potent brightening agent and, along with the peptides, works to reduce the appearance of dark spots, even skin tone and reduce redness.

Kiehl's Liquid Pimple Patch

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Breakouts can happen no matter how great your skincare routine is and when they do, you should have a spot treatment on hand. Salicylic acid is a go-to breakout fighter since this beta hydroxy acid has the power to penetrate pores and clear out clogged oil, dirt and other debris that can lead to pimples.

This salicylic acid-packed serum also forms a protective barrier on the skin, much like a pimple patch, that allows that serum to penetrate deeper.

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Best Clarifying Mask

Blue Lagoon Iceland Silica Mud Mask

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If you find yourself getting clogged pores or breakouts frequently, or even if you just want an extra deep clean every now and then, use a clarifying mud mask for an extra-strength cleanse. Think of it as the difference between washing your car yourself and taking it to a car wash.

The white clay in this mask reaches deep into your pores to suck out dirt and oil, leaving your skin feeling ultra clean, but not tight or dry (a sign you’ve over cleansed). It’s so potent you don’t need to use it more than once a week.

Best Hydrating Mask

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration Mask

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If you have seriously dry skin, a soothing hydrating mask is a good way to get it back on track. Ultra-rich masks like that are ideal for chronically dry or flaky skin or times when your skin has been braving the elements like in the depths of winter or or after a day of skiing.

This repairing mask contains both colloidal oatmeal to soothe irritated skin and bolster your skin barrier and shea butter, a rich occlusive moisturizer that’s rich in the fatty acids your skin loves.

The Best Skin Care Products You Never Knew You Needed (2024)
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