Facial Treatments For Men: The DIY Guide
Facial Treatments For Men: The DIY Guide

Facial Treatments For Men: The DIY Guide

6 minutes read

Facials are underrated – blame stock photography for misrepresenting them for years. Facials are more than blue face masks, towel-wrapped heads and cucumber slices. And they offer a multitude of benefits for both women and men. However, some might argue that men need them because of the structure of their skin (more on that below).

Facial treatments require you to dedicate some time to focus on your skin and cater to its needs. Plus, they provide you with a few moments of respite to indulge yourself. “I think we all need to take a little bit of time to de-stress,” says Clarins Commercial Training Manager Jason Roberts. “Investing in self-care can promote well-being.”

close up of a man's skin

Are facial treatments for men different?

The structure of a man’s skin is slightly different from a woman’s skin. The uppermost layer (the epidermis) is about 25% thicker. “This is good in some ways because it makes it more resilient,” says Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “But because it’s thicker, it needs a bit more energy to get the oxygen around and get the blood circulating well. So, it can look dull easily.”

Additionally, male skin also produces more sebum than female skin, leading to congestion and breakouts. Plus, shaving regularly acts as an added skin aggressor.

In conclusion, men can benefit from treating themselves to a skin-stimulating facial every few weeks. Can’t make it to a spa or salon? Here’s how to conduct a facial treatment from the comfort of your home.

A step-by-step guide to a DIY facial treatment for men

Step one: cleanse

You want to start with a clean canvas. Avoid cleansers that are harsh or drying. The Active Face Wash, £21, is a great option – it’s packed with plant extracts that soothe and soften razor-burned skin.

For a deeper cleanse, you could use an electronic cleansing device with your face wash. We like the Clarisonic Mia Men Sonic Facial Cleansing Device, £89, explicitly designed for men’s skin. Use it while your face wash is still damp on the skin, and massage using small circular motions. You don’t have to add any extra pressure. It delivers more than 300 pulsations per second that loosens the dirt and grime clinging to your skin and pores. In 60 seconds, you will feel transformed.

cleansing brush

Step two: exfoliate

Exfoliating should be part of your skincare routine, ideally two times a week. “Men’s skin requires more exfoliation because of the thicker epidermis and build up of dead surface skin cells,” says McHale.

As part of your facial, add this step right after you cleanse. You could even club the cleansing and exfoliating steps with a product like the Exfoliating Cleanser, £24 – a cleansing device like the Clarisonic would work well with this product. However, be careful not to use it too often, particularly if your skin is sensitive.

Step three: mask

Masks are a great way to target specific concerns. Plus, they can mean that you sit still, possibly without your device, for 15 minutes – well, that can only be a good thing.

If excess oil, blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads or general skin congestion are your woes, try the SOS Pure Rebalancing Clay Mask, £33. It mattifies, reduces the appearance of pores and calms inflammation.

If you don’t need a clay mask, use this step to boost your skin’s hydration levels. “Men’s skin gets dehydrated quite quickly due to its structure,” explains Jason Roberts, Clarins Commercial Training Manager. “Also, the male hormone testosterone weakens the skin’s ability to lock in water.” To combat that, he recommends the SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask, £33, that’s known to quench thirsty skin in under 10 minutes.

hydrating face mask

Step four: moisturise

Now, time to flood the skin with moisture. You could use a toner first to soothe and rebalance the skin. Or, skip to moisturiser. Choose a formula that complements your skin type – gels are great for oily skin and rich creams suit drier skin types.

Don’t forget your eye care! Ideally, apply your eye cream before your moisturiser by gently dabbing it along the eye contour with your finger. Soft patting motions with your ring finger (your weakest finger) work best.

Read: How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes: A Guide for Men

Step five: massage

“Facial massage and lymphatic drainage can both help to improve skin’s firmness, circulation, depuff and tighten the facial features,” says Lucy McClure, Clarins Training Development Manager – Treatments. “You can also use sculpting tools such as a facial roller or gua sha to intensify the experience.”  

McClure shares some techniques you can try: 

  • Light tapping movements under the eyes, working outwards toward temples, stimulate circulation and reduce the signs of fatigue. 
  • Light tapping movements over the whole face before applying moisturiser to boost circulation and revitalise the complexion. 
  • To define the jawline, create a “V” with your index finger and middle finger and place them on either side of the jawline and lightly drain from chin to ear around ten times. 

We also like the Nurse Jamie Beauty Blade Deep Massaging Tool – use it after applying your moisturiser or face oil. Its curves fit different contours on your face (and body). Using scraping motions, move from the centre of the face toward the periphery.  

face massaging tool

Or you can take the Ayurvedic route and try RANAVAT’s, Kansa Wand, £70. The kansa metal, made with a mix of copper and tin, is meant to be healing and detoxifying. You can massage the face in any way that feels good.  

Not only will a facial massage feel ultra-relaxing, but it also boosts circulation. The result? A post-facial glow. 

How to remedy specific skin concerns

Razor burn

Treating razor burn is mainly about being gentle, applying emollients and avoiding any alcohol-based products in the affected area. But prevention is the best option here, so add a few extra steps to your shaving routine. 

“It’s important to protect the skin while shaving,” says McHale. “Layering products to protect the skin’s barrier is a great idea. So before shaving, massage in an oil (like the Shave Ease Oil, £24) to soften the bristles. Then, leave it on the skin and add your shaving gel on top before doing a wet shave. This works as a double protective barrier.”  

She adds: “When you apply the foam, go against the hair growth, so it gets around each hair. Then, shave in the direction of the hair growth. Finally, follow it with the After-Shave Soother, £25.” 

Tip: Exfoliate before shaving to remove dead skin.

Ingrown hairs

The shaving routine detailed above will also help prevent ingrown hairs – the red, itchy spots that can appear after shaving.  

If you’re prone to getting ingrown hair post-shave, a quick cleanse and exfoliating session pre-shave could help. Add an extra face steaming step after you cleanse to loosen your pores. You could do this by leaning over a bowl of hot water or investing in a device like the Panasonic EH-XS01 Facial Steamer, £105. It emits droplets that are 18,000 finer than steam particles, so along with softening the skin, it also boosts moisture levels.

face steaming device


“Men’s skin can be quite sluggish in terms of cell renewal, which is why men can suffer from more fatigue on the skin,” explains Roberts. A dull, lacklustre complexion is usually the result. 

We can’t stress the importance of exfoliating enough for this, too. “It’s about removing dead skin from the surface – that’s usually what makes you dull,” explains McHale. 

She also recommends the Hydra-Sculpt Resculpting Perfector, £45, a gel-cream moisturiser with tightening, firming and moisturising benefits. It contains lemon extract, which works as a natural exfoliant, leaving your skin brighter. 

Next read: Beard Grooming 101: 7 Rules To Follow 

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