Step Up Your Grooming Routine with Top Picks From the 18 Best Men’s Skincare Brands

best men's skincare brands 2021
Courtesy of Kiehl's
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Whether you’re taking a walk down the drugstore skincare aisle or browsing online and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, one thing is for sure: There are a lot of options when it comes to men’s skincare. So, we understand if you just grab the first thing off the shelf when shopping for a men’s moisturizer or can’t be bothered to make a decision and just use your girlfriend’s face wash. But it’s time to get a real skincare routine of your very own. And trust us when we say it’s worth getting products that are specifically formulated for guys, especially when they’re made by the best men’s skincare brands.

Regardless of gender, we pretty much all have the same skin goals, namely fighting fine lines, sun damage, texture, acne and redness. However, guys tend to have thicker, oilier skin, as well as larger pores than women, so the best men’s skincare brands know to target those differences with different ingredients and formulas. That’s why you’ll want to upgrade your routine with sex-specific products.

If you’re wondering “what skincare routine?” then we strongly suggest you start with a facial cleanser (i.e. not the bar soap you use for your entire body), an exfoliator, serum, sunscreen and moisturizer. No idea where to get started? Our favorite products from the best men’s skincare brands will certainly cover all the bases.

  

How We Selected the Top Men’s Skincare Brands

Spy editors receive a lot of grooming products for testing and review. Like, a ridiculous amount. And in our experience, the true test of a product’s quality comes down to one question: will we buy more when we’re done testing the product?

After testing Baxter of California’s Deep Clean Shampoo, we became obsessed, and now it’s our favorite shampoo. When we tested Lumin Dark Circle Defense, we either had to buy more or let those annoying dark circles come back. Put another way: it’s obvious when a skincare product actually does what it promises to do.

When selecting the best skin care brands for men, the ingredients are also incredibly important. The top brands use plenty of natural skin-nourishing ingredients and botanical extracts such as aloe vera, jojoba oil, green tee, avocado oil and willow bark extract. In addition, we also look for anti-aging ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, collagen, retinol and caffeine.

Finally, we definitely appreciate brands with a commitment to natural and organic ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, and environmentally-friendly practices.

When you examine all of these factors together, a few men’s skincare brands in particular rise above the competition:

  • Brickell
  • Paula’s Choice
  • Lumin
  • Caldera + Lab
  • Bevel
  • Kiehl’s
  • Jack Black
  • Every Man Jack
  • Baxter of California
  • Disco
  • Supergoop!
  • Geologie
  • Neutrogena for Men
  • The INKEY List
  • Counterman
  • Asystem
  • Jaxon Lane
  • Wiselands
  

Brickell

As one of the best men’s skincare brands, this luxe line has gained global popularity for its formulas that focus on natural and organic ingredients. You won’t find questionable synthetics or toxic chemicals in their line. That’s why Brickell is sold in more than 110 countries around the world. Proudly made in the US, the brand taps the latest technology to create products that deliver results guys crave without sacrificing ingredients.

The Brickell Daily Essential Face Moisturizer is chock full of the natural and organic ingredients that the brand is famous for, including aloe, jojoba oil, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and green tea. This moisturizer is designed to work for all skin types, delivering hydration while nourishing and renewing skin.

Brickell Daily Essential Face Moisturizer, best men's skincare brands Courtesy of Amazon

Brickell Daily Essential Face Moisturizer

$35.00

Seeing spots? The Brickell Acne Controlling Spot Treatment will get that under control. The breakout buster uses the powerful, natural trio of salicylic acid, willow bark extract and witch hazel to clear up skin fast. It works for guys of all ages and skin types, making it a universal savior.

Brickell Acne Controlling Spot Treatment Courtesy of Amazon

Brickell Acne Controlling Spot Treatment

$20.00

  

Paula’s Choice

Founded by Paula Begoun in 1994, this skincare brand has a rich history. First and foremost, Begoun wanted to educate consumers who were getting tricked into buying products they didn’t want or need thanks to marketing and gimmicks. Well, mega behemoth Unilever may have acquired the brand recently, but the brand ethos will remain the same: deliver affordable products to men and women who just want to take care of their skin. What may be the most valuable part of the business Begoun started years ago is the robust ingredient list on the brand’s website. Whether you’re a skincare novice or nerd, this is one of the best resources on the web to find out what your skin needs to be its best.

We’re obsessed with the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant, and we’re not alone. With well over 35,000 five-star reviews, it’s no wonder this is an Amazon bestseller. Salicylic acid is one of the best tolerated and most documented of skin-friendly face exfoliators and works for average, oily, combination and acnec skin.

Paula's Choice 2% exfoliating toner Courtesy of Amazon

Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

$32.00

Another product we love is Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 20% Niacinamide Vitamin B3 Concentrated Serum. Niacinamide is an “it” ingredient of the moment, but it has been a popular skincare staple for way longer than the past couple of years. This formulation gives a potent dose to visibly minimize pore size, improve dull and uneven tone and reduce wrinkle depth. If that isn’t enough, it’s also known to fortify skin’s barrier strength and increase hydration.

Paula's choice niacinamide serum Courtesy of Amazon

Paula's Choice CLINICAL 20% Niacinamide Vitamin B3 Concentrated Serum

$50.00

  

Lumin

Not only is Lumin made for men’s skin, but it’s also made for your skin. Whenever you order any of their skin, hair or body products, they’ll ask for your age and skin type to ensure you’ll get the best results possible. Products can be ordered individually or in full sets that zero in on your needs, such as anti-aging and anti-fatigue. There are a lot of great men’s skincare brands, but if you’re specifically looking for anti-aging grooming products, then Lumin is our top recommendation.

For stubborn dark circles, we highly recommend Lumin Dark Circle Defense. This hydrating eye serum uses Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Lemon Extract and Caffeine to fight dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness.

Dark Circle Defense Courtesy of LUMIN

Lumin Dark Circle Defense

$23.20

The Lumin Classic Maintenance Set is great for the low-maintenance guy who needs cleansing, hydrating and renewal basics. The trio includes their Moisturizing Balm, Charcoal Cleanser and Exfoliating Rub.

Lumin Classic Maintenance Set Courtesy of Lumin

Lumin Classic Maintenance Set

$48.00

The Lumin Charcoal Cleansing Pore Strip will seriously bust your blackheads. The pore strip works to pull out all of the impurities and dirt trapped deep down in your pores, preventing breakouts in the process. The pore strips contain charcoal for its ability to combat toxins, tea tree extract for its anti-inflammatory and acne-fighting powers, and lemon extract to brighten and deliver a dose of antioxidants.

Lumin Charcoal Cleansing Pore Strip Courtesy of Lumin

Lumin Charcoal Cleansing Pore Strip

$16.00

  

Caldera + Lab

BEST NEW SKINCARE BRAND

Caldera + Lab is a very young company, but it’s already made a powerful impression on Spy’s grooming editors and product testers. So far, the company has only released one product, a face serum for men. The brand uses only 100% non-GMO ingredients, has a green production facility and uses sustainable packaging. We’re already obssessed with The Good Face Serum, but the company also has two new products set to be released on June 1.

The Good Face Serum contains 27 different botanicals wild harvested from the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming, which are then seeped in moisturizing oil for 4 weeks at a time. The end result is a powerful face serum that absorbs quickly, smells great and helps promote a more even skin tone while fighting the signs of aging. Yes, this skincare product is expensive, but it’s worth the investment for guys who take skincare seriously. Spy readers can also save 15% using the exclusive discount code “SPY15”.

SAVE 15% WITH CODE SPY15

Caldera + Lab The Good Serum Courtesy of Caldera + Lab

Caldera + Lab The Good Serum

$97.00

Caldera + Lab recently sent Spy a sample of The Clean Slate, a new face wash set to be released early this summer. Like the brand’s face serum, it’s a powerful skincare product made from natural ingredients. The Clean Slate uses plant-based cleansing ingredients instead of harsh acids or chemical cleansers. It also contains probiotics, plant extracts, amino acids and mineral-rich glacial silt extracts.

caldera lab clean slate, best men's skincare products Courtesy of Caldera + Lab

Caldera + Lab The Clean Slate

$35.00

  

Bevel

Formulated for Black men by Black men, Bevel takes the unique needs of highly melanated skin into mind. Whether it’s the shave kit that started it all or the latest hair and body products designed for coily and textured hair or skin that needs added hydration, Bevel has become a trusted brand by all men, regardless of race. Founded by Tristan Walker in 2013, Bevel has set a new standard for the products men of color can expect to see on drugstore shelves.

For those looking to up their shaving game, no matter who you are, the Bevel Shave System has everything you need from start to finish.

Bevel shave kit Courtesy of Amazon

Bevel Shaving System

$89.99

For added exfoliating benefits between shaves, the Bevel Exfoliating Face Toner packs a power punch with 10% glycolic acid. As one of the most gentle exfoliating acids for the face, this formulation is specially designed to keep pores clean and clear, thereby minimizing bumps and irritation.

bevel toner Courtesy of Amazon

Bevel Exfoliating Face Toner

$4.61 $13.95 67% OFF

  

Kiehl’s

It’s fair to say that Kiehl’s could be considered the gateway drug into men’s skincare, thanks to its no-frills appeal and products that work. The New York heritage brand has been around since 1851, making it one of the best men’s skincare brands with a real history. Kiehl’s was one of the first skincare brands in the country to list its ingredients on the label and are known for their efficacious, science-led formulas.

Many of their top-sellers have a cult following of their own, such as Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment For Men. Packed with vitamins, this non-oily moisturizer delivers a burst of energy to dull, tired skin while fighting off environmental stress.

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment For Men Courtesy of Amazon

Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Moisturizer Treatment for Men (Ulta)

$35.00

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment For Men (Amazon)

$65.99

  

Jack Black

Jack Black takes the honor of being one of the top-selling and best men’s skincare brands. The company is all about creating no-nonsense products for guys that are made with the best ingredients, which are never tested on animals. Their advanced formulas deliver the results guys crave and cover every grooming category, including moisturizers, cleansers, anti-aging, body care, shaving cream and hair care.

The Jack Black All-Over Wash for Hair for Face, Hair & Body is a multitasker that will save you time and clutter in the shower. The pH-balanced formula works into a rich lather to gently wash away dirt and sweat without stripping skin. “I really like the Jack Black All-Over Wash because you can use it on your body, hair and face,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. “It cleanses to eliminate dirt and sweat without stripping the skin or hair of moisture, thanks to hydrating ingredients like jojoba protein, vitamin B5 and shea butter.”

Jack Black All-Over Wash for Hair for Face, Hair & Body Courtesy of Amazon

Jack Black All-Over Wash for Hair for Face, Hair & Body

$21.00

“Jack Black actually recently launched its new Acne Remedy collection,” Dr. Shafer says. “I like the Jack Black Acne Remedy Overnight Repair Moisturizer because it’s oil-free and works to clear and prevent breakouts while you sleep. Salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids work to clear blemishes and exfoliate dead skin cells to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, and it also has hydrating and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.”

If you want to keep your showers short, we’d strongly recommend giving Jack Black’s overnight moisturizer a try.

Jack Black Acne Remedy Overnight Repair Moisturizer Courtesy of Jack Black

Jack Black Acne Remedy Overnight Repair Moisturizer

$40.00

  

Every Man Jack

If you want to look good and feel good, add Every Man Jack to your routine. The clean brand uses as many natural and plant-based ingredients as possible in their potent formulations. Born in San Francisco, Every Man Jack is infused with the city’s eco-friendly values, as the vegan line is responsibly made, using bottles created with 50% post-consumer recycled content. Plus, the entire line is manufactured in the US with the quality standards to prove it.

Their full grooming range offers everything you could possibly need for happy, healthy skin, such as the Every Man Jack Cedarwood Beard + Face Wash. The twofer cleanses and conditioners your skin and your beard, leaving both super soft thanks to glycerin and aloe, and smelling of cedarwood.

Every Man Jack Cedarwood Beard + Face Wash Courtesy of Amazon

Cedarwood Beard + Face Wash

$10.00

We love Every Man Jack’s bath products, particularly their body wash and shampoo, which is free of all the crap you usually find in drug store products. The company brings the same approach to skincare, and the Every Man Jack Fragrance-Free Face Scrub is a great option for guys with sensitive skin or fragrance sensitivities. This facial scrub uses coconut-derived surfactants to clean and jojoba beads to remove dead skin. On top of that, natural ingredients such as chamomile, organic aloe vera and vitamin E soothe your skin. (Every Man Jack also makes face scrubs with Menthol and Activated Charcoal, both of which are linked below.)

everyman jack face scrub Courtesy of Every Man Jack

Fragrance-Free Face Scrub

$7.50

Menthol Face Scrub

$7.50

Activated Charcoal Face Scrub

$7.50

  

Baxter of California

Introduce the California lifestyle to your grooming routine with Baxter of California. Since 1965, their hair, skin and shave products have been tested at the award-winning Baxter Finley Barber + Shop in Los Angeles. We featured this brand’s hair and skin care products in The 2020 Man, our grooming and style awards.

Since they certainly have shaving down to a science, give the Baxter of California After Shave Balm a try. Alcohol-free, the aftershave lotion soothes, cools and conditions skin, guarding it against irritation and dryness, with the potent combination of glycerin, aloe vera and allantoin.

Baxter of California After Shave Balm Courtesy of Amazon

Baxter of California After Shave Balm

The Baxter of California Oil-Free Face Moisturizer is everything you could ever want in a daily hydrator. The oil-free formula sinks right into skin and works to restore the natural moisture barrier to keep skin hydrated over time. Incredibly lightweight, it also soothes skin while minimizing shine. It’s spiked with antioxidants and botanicals to protect from free radicals.

Baxter of California Oil Free Face Moisturizer , best men's skincare brands Courtesy of Amazon

Baxter of California Oil Free Face Moisturizer

We also highly recommend the Baxter of California Clay Mask AHA. This soothing face mask draws out impurities from your skin using bentonite and kaolin clay. At the same time, botanical extracts such as avocado oil and aloe vera moisturize your skin. Easily one of the best clay face masks for men, it’s a great way to practice some self-care at the end of the day.

Baxter of California Clay Mask Courtesy of Amazon

Clay Mask AHA

  

Disco

Ben Smith couldn’t find a clean skincare line that covered all the bases for guys, so he decided to launch his own plant-based line of products designed specifically for the pH balance of men’s skin. Disco is a one-stop-shop for a full skincare routine, offering premium products at accessible prices. When Smith created the brand, he conducted a 1,000-person study to understand what men really wanted and poured all those insights into Disco. They also infused their ethics into the line, as it’s vegan, cruelty-free and uses recyclable packaging.

The Disco Mineral Sun Block not only blocks the UV rays that cause aging and skin cancer, it does it without looking chalky or getting stuck in your beard. All that wrapped up in a moisturizing fresh feeling eucalyptus-scented package. Yes, please.

disco mineral sunblock Courtesy of Disco

Disco Mineral Sun Block

$22.00

Supergoop!

Listen up, guys. If you aren’t wearing sunscreen by now, what’s the holdup? Seriously. Is it the white chalky cast? Is it the greasy feel? Well, some of us skincare enthusiasts are tempted to say it’s time to get over it. But, we get it — easier said than done. Try Supergoop!. The sunscreen-first brand was founded with the mission of getting every single person to wear sunscreen every single day. How did they do it? By creating an SPF for just about everyone under the sun (see what we did there?). By creating nice formulas (we skincare junkies call that “cosmetically elegant”) the brand has created nothing short of a global cult following.

The best sunscreen for beginners from the brand is Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. It is literally clear. Not “lightweight” or “sheer,” but in fact, clear. Providing SPF 40+ that doesn’t get gunked up in your beard or stubble means if you haven’t liked wearing sunscreen before, it’s time to give this a try.

supergoop unseen sunscreen Courtesy of Amazon

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40+

$34.00

  

Geologie

Skincare isn’t one size fits all and that’s exactly how Geologie operates. Everything is completely personalized, which makes it one of the best men’s skincare brands. Their site features a diagnostic tool to determine exactly what your skin needs, asking questions about your age and what you want out of your skincare routine, such as sun protection, wrinkle reduction, fighting acne and breakouts, de-slicking oil and smoother skin. Driven by dermatologists and formulated with clinically proven active ingredients, Geologie’s custom skincare delivers results.

Truly beauty sleep in a bottle, the Geologie Repairing Night Cream .05% Retinol reduces fine lines and puffiness while hydrating with hyaluronic acid.

Geologie Repairing Night Cream .05% Retinol Courtesy of Geologie

Geologie Repairing Night Cream .05% Retinol

$65.00

  

Neutrogena for Men

When you want quality products without breaking the bank, Neutrogena for Men delivers, as it’s one of the best men’s skincare brands on a budget. Every single product is designed just for guys to target their unique needs. The brand is especially beloved by customers and dermatologists alike for their sunscreens and moisturizers.

For everyday protection, the Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 20 is a solid choice. In addition to delivering broad-spectrum protection from the sun, the multitasker moisturizes to condition skin and turns back the clock by minimizing fine lines and smoothing rough texture. The non-greasy formula also helps relieve razor irritation.

Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 20 Courtesy of Amazon

Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 20

$21.18 $24.32 13% OFF

  

The Inkey List

Never heard of The INKEY List? That’s OK, because this under-the-radar brand has only been around a couple of years. Founded by Colette Laxton and Mark Curry in 2018, The INKEY List believes that better skincare knowledge powers better skincare decisions. The clean, green brand offers accessible, transparent and efficacious skincare at prices you have to see to believe. Seriously, the number of top-notch products this brand offers under $10 seems too good to be true. And yet, it is not. It’s both so good and very true.

The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum is one of our favorites from the brand. Why is vitamin C so ubiquitous in the world of supplements, but when the same ingredient is applied to skincare, the price goes through the roof? Well, it has to do with stabilizing the antioxidant to keep it potent enough to do its skin-defending hyperpigmentation-fighting job. This airless pump keeps oxygen from denigrating the formula so that every drop does its duty.

The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum Courtesy of Sephora

The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum

$14.99

  

Counterman

Listen up, eco-warriors! Counterman is the best men’s skincare brand for you. The famously clean brand takes its mission to deliver safe, non-toxic skincare seriously. The certified B corp launched its men’s grooming line in 2019 and applied the same stringent standards, as it doesn’t contain any of the more than 1,800 ingredients on their “Never List.” They also work to ensure fair labor practices for anyone connected with the brand, which is why they carefully vet their supply chains and have initiatives that are meant to affect the broader beauty and grooming industry, such as using ethically sourced mica.

The Counterman Charcoal Body Bar really raises the bar (see what we did there?). It works into a creamy lather to cleanse skin of impurities with charcoal, coconut oil and the brand’s Sequoia Stem Cell Complex to protect skin. The invigorating scent is courtesy of natural citrus, mint, rosemary and cedarwood oils.

Counterman Charcoal Body Bar , best men's skincare brands Courtesy of Counterman

Counterman Charcoal Body Bar

$19.00

For a super close shave, lather up with the Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream. It works to soften facial hair to leave skin happy, hydrated, soothed and protected. The nourishing formula guards skin from everyday environmental stressors with shea butter, aloe and their unique Sequoia Stem Cell Complex. To keep sensitive skin safe, it’s also fragrance-free.

Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream Courtesy of Counterman

Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream

$20.00

  

Asystem

If your sneakers have seen plenty of action, then Asystem is the best men’s skincare brand for you. Designed for active guys who have wellness top of mind, the line is all about high-performance products that meet their clients’ demanding lifestyles. Their trio of science-driven skincare essentials covers the basics with a cleanser meant for morning and night, an SPF moisturizer and an overnight cream.

The Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF delivers SPF 30 protection from harmful UVA and UBV rays, as well as antioxidants vitamins B, C and E to nourish skin and fight free radicals. The L.A.-based brand also makes supplements and pain management products.

Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF Courtesy of Asystem

Asystem Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF

$24.00

   

Jaxon Lane

Their goal is simple: Jaxon Lane aims to create skincare products made for men that work better than anything else. With their ingredients-first approach, they’re doing a pretty good job of just that. Their entire range is simple, straightforward and efficacious, which is why Jaxon Lane is one of the best men’s skincare brands. After all, what more could you ask for?

Take the Jaxon Lane Bro Mask, for example. The award-winning hydrogel sheet mask comes in two pieces so that guys with beards can use it, too. The multitasking mask helps with dull skin, redness and fine lines with the potent combo of 3% niacinamide, collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, green tea, licorice and ginger.

Jaxon Lane Bro Mask Courtesy of Jaxon Lane

Jaxon Lane Bro Mask

$28.00

Another standout is the Jaxon Lane Rain or Shine Moisturizing Sunscreen. Accurately named, it’s a great sunscreen for every day, no matter the weather or occasion. The non-greasy formula goes on clear, so you never have to worry about it leaving a white cast. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, so there’s no fear of that sunscreen smell, either. It safeguards skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays while giving it hydration, brightening and an antioxidant boost with vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, green tea, licorice root and ginseng

Jaxon Lane Rain or Shine Moisturizing Sunscreen Courtesy of Jaxon Lane

Jaxon Lane Rain or Shine Moisturizing Sunscreen

$32.00

  

Wiselands

Queer and employee-owned Wiselands made a significant mark on the skincare scene in 2021 with its sustainably-produced trio of environmentally-friendly face products. We have our eye on this brand, and we know that this is only the beginning for the sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free brand.

The Wiselands Daily Rosemary Cleanser is its star, boasting a combination of super-hydrators aimed to soothe all skin types. Rosemary water calms any irritation and flaxseed extract helps to plump and firm. The product is also vegan, biodegradable and made in the good ol’ USA, making it a purchase you’ll really feel good about.

Wiselands Roasemary Cleanser Courtesy of Wiselands

Wiselands Daily Rosemary Cleanser

$24

  

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