The Compass  /  Grooming  /  Men’s Winter Skin Care Guide

Men’s Winter Skin Care Guide

men's skin care for winter

Note: This story was originally published in January of 2013, back when you had never heard of a Polar Vortex. Today, not only have you heard of a Polar Vortex, but you’ve probably been the victim of one this winter. That’s why you need to keep reading. After all, there’s a long way to go before spring.

Winter means skin brutality, especially for your face. And it’s winter now, so we’re going to talk about how to take care of that moneymaker of yours. And no, there’s absolutely nothing unmanly about making sure you have a clear, vital complexion. But that doesn’t mean you should adopt your girlfriend’s daily 10-step anti-aging, herbal-infused, citrus-scented, green-masked facial cleaning ritual. It’s really much simpler than that.

After all, imagine that you are about to approach a pretty girl at a bar / lounge / club. You’re well dressed, confident and ready to charm. But one small problem, you just stepped inside and the tolls of the cold, windy day have cracked your lips, made your cheeks red and irritable, and your nose blotchy and dry. Not a good look, no matter how smooth you are. So don’t handicap that charming personality of yours by not taking care of your style and your skin. From the dimple in your tie to the pimple on your face, remember that your entire appearance is sending a message. So in this post, we’ll cover the 3 essential steps to help you ensure that your face not only survives winter but your complexion stays as fresh as your Black Lapel custom suit.

men's skin care for five types of skin

Step 1: Identifying Your Skin Type

The first step to properly caring for your skin is knowing your skin type. Caring for your face without knowing your skin type is the equivalent of shopping for pants without knowing your waist size. Everyone falls into five general skin types:

  1. Normal – Consider yourself one of the lucky few. This is the least problematic skin type. Skin is neither oily or flaky and is supple and smooth to the touch.
  2. Dry – Tight skin, often showing flakes of dead skin. Typically associated with small pores.
  3. Oily – Shiny skin, characterized by a layer of oil that can be associated with larger pores.
  4. Combination – The most common skin type where the skin is oily in the “T-zone” shown above and normal to dry in other areas.
  5. Sensitive – Reacts easily to products and irritations (both external and ingested), often turning red, itchy or developing a rash.

If you don’t know your skin type yet, here’s a quick questionnaire to help you figure it out. Knowing your skin type will help determine how you cleanse, moisturize and treat your skin. Easy enough. Moving on.

best skin care products for men

Step 2: Cleansing

“I’m fine using soap.”

No, you’re not. The problem with using ordinary soap to wash your face is that it dries your skin more than liquid cleansers. Dry skin not only looks bad, it can clog your pores and cause acne. A cleanser should remove accumulated dirt, excess oil and not contain harsh chemicals or detergents that strip away essential moisture. That moisture is what you need to protect you against the elements.

It’s all about balance. Choose cleansers that will balance out that your natural skin oils or lack thereof, and leave you refreshed. For example, if you’re someone with very oily skin you’ll want to use a lightweight cleanser that doesn’t leave your face feeling like a fat kid’s napkin at KFC. If you’re someone with very sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid cleansers with harsh chemicals that’ll cause irritation and breakout.

And once you choose a cleanser, is there a proper way to wash your face? Yes, here’s how:

  1. Splash warm water on your face. Warm water opens up your pores and helps you to clean deeper.
  2. Using chosen cleanser, lather your face using a gentle circular motion. Scrubbing harder does not equal being cleaner – it will only cause irritation.
  3. Remove the cleanser by rinsing with warm water. Never use hot water on the face as it dries out your skin.
  4. When finished, gently pat your face dry with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing your face as it promotes wrinkles.

Our Product Recommendations by Skin Type:

Normal: Kiehl’s Energizing Facial Fuel Face Wash

Oily: Nivea for Men Purifying Face Wash, Oil Control

Dry: Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser

Combination: Anthony Logistics For Men Glycolic Facial Cleanser

Sensitive: Zirh Mild Face Wash

Side Note: Exfoliation

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, you can rotate in a scrub or exfoliating face wash once or twice a week. Exfoliating will help remove old dead skin and reveal younger, brighter skin. This shedding process not only keeps your skin looking anew, but also helps unclogs pores and reduce acne breakouts. Exfoliation also comes with the added bonus of raising hair follicles for a better shave. Not a bad return for a 3-minute investment a couple times a week.

Exfoliator Face Wash: Evolution Man Wash & Buff

moisturizer for men

Step 3: Moisturizing

Yes, men can moisturize. No, it doesn’t make you any less of a man. You should moisturize – especially during the winter – because your skin is prone to dryness…especially when those cold, bitter winds can make it feel like someone took a piece of sand paper and scrubbed your face with it. So aim to moisturize once or twice a day, especially right after you wash your face.

As with cleansers, make sure you consider your face type when choosing a moisturizing / face lotion.

We Recommend:

Normal: Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion, SPF 20

Oily: Kyoku for Men Facial Moisturizer SPF 15

Dry: Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator

Combination: Menscience Advanced Face Lotion

Sensitive: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20

There you have it – the 101 on basic winter facial skin care. Now you have more grooming wisdom to slow down the effects of time on your face or at least look your very best self. Who knows, maybe you’ll take us up on our advice and pick up a cleanser / moisturizer to use on the daily…and maybe a week later you end up at a bar where that cute brunette pivots over to you to drop a compliment about how nice your suit looks (since she’s not staring at that red spot on your forehead)…maybe she giggles, flirts and drops you her phone number as well. Whatever the implications, it will never hurt you to have better skin. You can thank us later for it. As for that receding hairline or untamed beard…we’ll save that for another time.

Got any favorite men’s skincare products you think we missed? Have a routine that just works? Tell us your skin type and share your know-how in the comments below!

Like What You See? There's More.

We'll send you style advice and intel for the modern man.

27 thoughts on “Men’s Winter Skin Care Guide”

  1. Rahul says:

    Sir is it necessary to apply mosteuriser after doing face wash in winter?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s not 100% necessary and it also depends on your skin type, but it’s still a really good idea in the winter time. Many cleansers dry out the skin which leaves your face extra exposed to harsh elements (especially the wind). Also, moisturizing daily can help fight off wrinkles later on in life, so we highly recommend adding that step to your morning routine.

  2. naveen says:

    I mam/sir plzz help me. My face is dry with oily so sir what I apply on my face..plzz tell me

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re in need of a good moisturizer. We recommend this light, oil-free moisturizer for the tough cold weather.

  3. Pingback: 5 Different Facial Skin Types.. Which Skin Type Are You? - Chris&Skin
  4. Kristy Ross says:

    Hi, I’d recommend Monsia.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks Kristy. Though, Monsia seems pretty female-focused. Guys, maybe have your girlfriend/wife grab you some product?

  5. Himanshu says:

    I have used face wash roughly on face and now have got my face color totally dull and oily. Could you recommend me some tips to get my face healthy. I Hope you will sort out my problem.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’re not in a position to give you one-on-one advice, Himanshu. This story is intended to provide general guidelines for maintaining a healthy look, but a dermatologist will be able to give you specific advice/treatment. Your best move is to schedule an appointment and have a dermatologist look at you before buying any products.

  6. Wining says:

    I’m 25yrs old and i hv a T-type skin so which face-cream will be the best for me? This day m applying ‘Garnier Men’ lotion…Will it b alright 4 me? M expecting 4 ur reply soon 🙂 Thanking u

    1. Black Lapel says:

      T-type skin is the same as combination skin in this story. So we suggest those products for each step. For moisturizing, go with the Menscience lotion, Wining.

  7. navin says:

    I want to become best groom

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Follow the steps we highlighted above and you will, Navin!

  8. hernando says:

    thanks BL great article. I personally love the Clinique Line of mens product. been using it for years. I do however use Molton Brown (from London) for body wash. Blackpepper Corn is the most popular!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      When it comes to making your clothes look fresh, count on Black Lapel, when it comes to keeping your skin looking fresh, these are some fine choices.

  9. James says:

    Thanks Black Lapel! This article is very informative. I will give Black Jack Pure Daily Cleanser a try. I’ve somewhat a very dry skin since I’m on accutane, an acne medication which dries your skin. By the way, could you recommend another moisturizing product? I’m only 18, and Clinque’s Maximum Hydrator is way over my expenses. I would love to hear from you soon!

    Thanks in Advanced,


    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad you found the story helpful, James.

      Since your Accutane prescription, most likely, came from a dermatologist, we advise you to talk to him/her about an affordable moisturizing product. We’ve got pretty good skin, but none of us can trump your dermatologist’s recommendation and we wouldn’t want to advise anything that might interfere with your medication.

  10. Roland says:


    Now this article has pulled me in. I have chosen to ignore the winter part (pretty obvious) and have chosen to follow all the steps regarding the oily skin part. I have a severe problem with oily skin, and hopefully this will help me out.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Good skin care is always in season, Roland. Let us know when you try out some of the products above.

  11. Matt says:

    If the traditional cleanse/exfoliate/moisturize route isn’t working for some people, I would recommend the oil cleansing method. I decided to try it out at the start of the year and it always leaves my face feeling perfect and healthy – never dry, never greasy. 50% cold-pressed castor oil and 50% extra virgin olive oil combined with a few drops of your favorite essential oil makes for a luxurious experience, indeed.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Great advice Matt. You bring up an interesting alternative cleansing option. Cleansing with oil sounds extremely counter-intuitive, but we’ve read that a lot of people have had a great deal of success with it (some even abandoning soaps and liquid cleansers altogether in place of it). It makes a lot of sense – the oil formula dissolves the skin surface oil that’s been hardened with impurities, the steam process opens up your pores, and the oil formula patted over the skin prevents the skin from overcompensating in oil production.

  12. Chris says:

    I started using a classic shaving brush and shave bowl a year ago and it has done wonders on my skin. Not only does it work well as a cleanser, since the shave soap is a natural facial cleanser, but the badger hair brush works as an exfoliator as you work the shaving lather into your face. Couple that with a shave and a good post-shave moisturizer and my skin cleared right up. The biggest thing to remember, though, is that the soap dries your skin out, so a moisturizer afterwards is a must.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Awesome, thanks for sharing this Chris! Where did you get your badger hair brush from?

      1. Chris says:

        Online, I prefer to order from WestCoastShaving.com. If people prefer a more in-store feel, I would recommend The Art of Shaving, if there’s one in the area. Either way, a basic Badger Hair Shave Brush won’t run you more than $50 if you’re not trying to get fancy, and will last years if you’re good to it.

        Soaps are all based on preference, but D.R. Harris makes a soap that comes in a reusable mahogony bowl that looks pretty slick on the bathroom counter! See the link:

        Get these, and you’re one step away from the classic James Bond straight razor shave from Skyfall 😉

        1. Black Lapel says:

          That’s one gorgeous shaving bowl! The verdict is out, Chris Scott is a shaving connoisseur! We may have to hit you up when we put together our shaving post!

          1. Chris says:

            You know where to find me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.