Men can be really funny about their faces. The preferred facial cleanser is whatever's in the soap dish. The shaving method usually is hasty; improvised long ago from watching Dad, who watched his dad. To finish, men will clench their teeth and slap themselves with an after-shave that's supposed to sting, right? Any other way just wouldn't be, manly.
In the 1990s, though, men finally are acknowledging that dermatological indifference will win them skin problems -- not virility points. More men than ever are seeking better ways to maintain their faces.
In response, skin care manufacturers have been custom formulating, marketing, and packaging straightforward, masculine products that promote personal maintenance, effective shaving, and prevention of various skin problems rather than focus primarily on fragrance, the leading culprit behind skin irritation.
A man's skin is thicker, oilier, and has larger pores than a woman's. As a result, men can be prone to shiny complexions, blackheads and blemishes. Furthermore, many men -- 88 percent, according to a recent "GQ" study -- face the added irritancy of daily shaving, which can give rise to a whole slew of extra skin problems including ingrown hairs, razor burns, nicks and dry skin. Most men's lines, therefore, promote good skin, which is treated not only as an end in itself but also as a means to better shaving results.
The common regimen recommended by skin care lines consists of similar categories of products designed to at once improve skin and the shaving process. Regardless of the brand, virtually every line includes some kind of cleanser, shave preparation, skin refiner, post-shave treatment and moisturizer.
This is what they do:
* The cleanser: Usually a soap or non-foaming cream. Washes away daily grime once in the morning and once at night.
* The shave preparation: Comes in cream, gel, soap, powder or liquid solution for either blade or electric shaving. Pre-electric shaves do so by taking away oils that make whiskers lie flat and that can make the razor spot skip.
* The skin refiner: Either a toner or face scrub. A toner usually is an alcohol-based astringent that helps control oiliness and breakouts.