“After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.”
— Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), American Psycho
You Don't Need Patrick Bateman's Routine
American Psycho tricked a generation of men into thinking skincare routines required 10+ products and an encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients.
You don’t need to follow Patrick Bateman's 10-step routine to get healthy, glowing, age-defying skin.
Keep reading to learn how to look and feel your best with a simple 3-step skincare routine—and we’ll share some advanced tips for pros looking to up their game:
- Step 1: Facial Cleanser
- Step 2: Moisturizer
- Step 3: Protect
After you master the fundamentals, you can look into advanced tactics to tackle specific problems:
- Anti-aging tips for men in their 30s, 40s, and beyond.
- Which high-performance ingredients to look for.
- Solutions for specific problems faced by sporting men.
Keep reading to discover how to adopt and maintain an effective skincare routine that takes less than 5 minutes per day.
Most American Men Just Use Hand Soap
To achieve the best results—in your career, skincare routine, or anything—consistency is most important. There’s a lot of truth in Woody Allen’s quote: “80% of success in life is just showing up.”
So the key is a routine you can easily adopt and maintain. Yet the majority of American men neglect a skincare routine entirely.
Men miss a huge opportunity to look great, improve their health, and build confidence. Let’s start with some stats when it comes to men’s skincare routines:
- 56% of men reach for hand or body soap to wash their face. 17% just wash their face with water.
- 40% of men have never tried a men’s skincare product.
Why are men avoiding skincare despite the obvious benefits? Next, we'll address the most common barriers and how you can avoid them.
Common Barriers to Men's Skincare
So why are so many men neglecting even the most basic of skincare routines? When we started building Magnolia League, we found these common barriers:
- Complexity: Most brands market a 10-step routine like Patrick Bateman's to increase profits. Complexity and lectures on “innovative” jargon leave you thinking skincare requires a big time, product, and knowledge investment.
- Old Habits Die Hard: Until very recently, men’s skincare was almost non-existent. Products were limited to poor quality, poor performance drug store brands. Perceptions are changing. But many don’t know where to start, what to look for, or which brand to trust—so they stick to old habits.
- Ineffective & Uncomfortable Textures: Men's products can often be gimmicky (blue dyes & marketing slogans) instead of effective. Texture, absorption, and visible results have a large impact on adopting and maintaining a routine—particularly for men. Men’s skin is thicker, oilier, and has larger pores than women. So heavy, uncomfortable textures are a major deterrent. Especially for active men!
The best way to bypass these barriers, and stick to a routine that works for you, is to keep it simple. Read on for the skincare playbook that puts you ahead of roughly 90% of men!
Simple 3-Step Daily Men’s Skincare Routine
Master the playbook before calling audibles. In most cases, this simple 3-step routine—maintained long-term—is all men need for healthy skin.
Step 1: Facial Cleanser
- Purpose: Keep your face clean and clear. Some high-performance cleansers provide additional benefits such as hydration, protection, & reducing inflammation.
- Use: Twice daily, day and night.
- What to Look For: Potent yet gentle cleansing complex, such as coconut-based formulas, which deep clean without drying or irritating your skin.
Step 2: Moisturizer
- Purpose: Lock in moisture, keep your skin hydrated, and balance oil production to avoid breakouts. Some moisturizers include essential nutrients for healthy glowing skin.
- Use: Once daily, in the morning after cleansing your face, to start. Use at night if you need extra hydration.
- What to Look For: Light, rapidly absorbed moisturizers that won’t leave you with a heavy, oily feeling. Powerhouse nutrients and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Step 3: Protect
- Purpose: Use SPF and protective antioxidants (like Vitamin C) for defense against sun damage and free radicals. The best offense is a good defense; quality skin protection is your best weapon against early aging signs (and more serious issues).
- Use: At least once daily, after moisturizing in the morning. Apply before extended sun exposure.
- What to Look For: Mineral-based suncare is absorbed faster, better for you, and better for the environment. Combining SPF with high-performance antioxidants, like Vitamin C, amplifies protection.
Following the 3-step routine above puts your skin in better shape than ~90% of men. But, after mastering the fundamentals, you may want to up-level your routine. Here are some advanced tactics for stepping up your game...
Step Up Your Skincare Game
Get familiar with the ingredients and active skincare tips below to maintain healthy skin as you age.
In your 30s and 40s, your skin may lose some firmness and youthful glow as wrinkles appear. Look for products with active ingredients that boost collagen production, restore moisture, reduce inflammation, regenerate tired skin, and improve your skin’s resilience.
Anti-Aging Hero Ingredients:
- MSM: An anti-aging skin superfood that boosts collagen and helps restore skin’s elasticity.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Elite moisture retention to keep your skin full and firm.
- Aloe Vera: Powerful moisturizer that’s also loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory ability.
- Peptides: Made of amino acids that improve your skin’s resilience and help restore collagen.
- Vitamin C: Powerful antioxidant that protects against aging signs while boosting collagen and reducing inflammation.
- Jojoba: Super hydrator rich in vitamins & nutrients like fatty acids, which lowers inflammation and restores your skin’s barrier.
- Gotu Kola (Centella): Ultimate anti-aging elixir known as the “herb of longevity.”
- Reishi Mushroom: “Mushroom of immortality” fights fine lines and wrinkles while reducing stress.
- Retinol: A form of Vitamin A that increases skin cell production and helps unclog pores.
Skincare Solutions for Sporting Men
Sporting men are always game for outdoor activity. This is our passion, and there are obvious benefits to this lifestyle, but active skin faces challenges—such as sun exposure, dryness, loss of essential nutrients, and inflammation.
Here’s what to look for to address these challenges—and enjoy all the sporting life has to offer:
- Clean Formulas are a Must: avoid toxic ingredients that sap your performance, lower testosterone, disrupt hormones, and may cause serious health issues.
- Potent Antioxidants: a day on the links can lead to skin damage from sun exposure and oxidative stress. Antioxidants—like Vitamins C & E, Green Tea, & Spirulina—keep your skin’s barrier protected, healthy, & glowing.
- Nourishing Skin Electrolytes: sweat and oxidative stress deplete essential minerals and nutrients your body can’t produce on its own. Look for Zinc, Magnesium, Ocean Minerals, & Vitamin B3 to replenish your skin.
- Rejuvenating Hydrators: dehydration caused by the active lifestyle makes super hydrators like Jojoba, Aloe, and Hyaluronic Acid a must for sporting men to rejuvenate tired skin.
- Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients: inflammation damages a healthy skin barrier, leading to dryness, soreness, breakouts, & more serious skin conditions. Chamomile, Calendula, & Yarrow reduce inflammation for calm and clear skin.
Best Men’s Routine: Keep It Simple, Stay Consistent
There’s no single “right way” to skincare. We encourage you to use these guidelines to find what’s best for your skin and lifestyle. Start by knowing your skin type—normal, oily, dry, combination, sensitive—and embrace the process of learning, iterating, and maintaining.
Remember—the best skincare routine is one you can easily adopt and maintain for the long haul. Start with the fundamentals—Facial Cleanser, Moisturizer, Protect—then incorporate targeted solutions & ingredients as needed.Don’t let a complex routine sap your time and energy better spent on endeavors like family, career, or a day on the links with friends. Seek high-performance essentials that deliver an efficient and effective routine with less products (and ingredients). Giving you a confidence-building routine that’s easy to adopt and maintain.