If you have sensitive skin, you probably don’t need us to tell you that managing it can be frustrating, to say the least. Though men and women can both experience sensitive skin, it can be particularly tricky for men. For one, men have facial hair—and removing that hair typically requires shaving, which on its own can be irritating. Additionally, though men have thicker skin than women, it’s also drier and more susceptible to environmental stressors. Together, these factors create a perfect storm for men with sensitive skin.
Here, we’ll give you the scoop on Kiehl’s skincare designed for sensitive skin. You’ll also learn some tips on how men with sensitive skin can manage their skin concerns and discover a simple seven-step men’s skincare routine for keeping your skin looking (and feeling) its best. Read on for your ultimate Kiehl’s guide to managing men’s sensitive skin.
What Is Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin is a skin type characterized by a predisposition to skin irritation. If that sounds vague, that’s because it is: There’s no universally-accepted definition of what constitutes sensitive skin. Typically, those with sensitive skin will experience irritation when exposed to even mild stressors, like air pollution or topical skincare products that aren’t irritating for most. Irritation often encompasses both visible symptoms, like redness and blotchiness, and physical symptoms, like burning or itching. It usually results from damage or dysfunction of the skin’s natural moisture barrier and may be transient or persistent. Between 50 and 60% of men report experiencing sensitivity, while approximately 60-70% of women self-identify as having sensitive skin.I
Your 7-Step Routine For Men With Sensitive Skin
One of the best ways to manage sensitive skin is to curate a skincare routine with gentle formulas that keep your skin’s natural moisture barrier feeling hydrated, strong, and resilient. Keep reading to discover our seven-step routine for men’s sensitive skin.
Kiehl’s Tip: If your current routine consists of only a few steps—or is nonexistent—seven may seem overwhelming. But really, it’s simpler than you might think. This routine boils down to three core elements: cleansing and shaving, treating your skin with serums and oils, and hydrating your face and eye area. It also includes a booster step (using a face mask), which won’t be part of your daily routine.
Wash Your Face
Centella Sensitive Cica-Cleanser
The first step in managing your sensitive skin is to remove any irritating dirt, oil, or debris that may have accumulated throughout the day. We recommend doing that with a gentle men’s face wash for sensitive skin, like Centella Sensitive Cica-Cleanser. This unique liquid cleanser gently melts away dirt and other impurities while strengthening the skin barrier, leaving your skin feeling soothed and comforted. It’s pH-balanced, alcohol-free, soap-free, and dermatologist-tested on 100% sensitive skin. To clean your face with this ultra-mild cleanser, apply it to damp skin and rinse with lukewarm water, or use a cotton round to swipe the liquid over your face like a toner—no need to rinse.
Shave, If Needed
Shaving can be irritating even for those with normal skin types—so if you’re prone to sensitivity, you’ll want to be extra careful when removing facial hair. First, prep the area with a gentle shaving lotion, like Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle. This unscented shaving cream with aloe vera smooths on easily to help prepare skin for a close, comfortable shave. It’s a match for all skin types and can be used with or without water.
After shaving (see our men’s shaving guide here), remove any shaving cream residue with a gentle toner, like Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. Use a cotton pad to swipe the soothing formula over your face, focusing on areas prone to irritation. Once you’ve allowed your toner a minute to absorb, reach for a gentle aftershave lotion—for sensitive skin, we recommend Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief. This post-shave treatment instantly cools and hydrates the skin to reduce feelings of irritation caused by shaving. It also helps prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn, allowing for a comfortable, sting-free finish to your daily shaving routine.
Apply a Hydrating Serum
Next up: Serum. Reach for a hydrating formula that will help maintain moisture within the skin’s surface layers, like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum. It’s made with glycerin and our unique epidermal hydration filler and helps encourage the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid (an essential molecule closely involved with maintaining natural moisture). The lightweight formula visibly improves the appearance of dehydrated skin and helps it look more plump to promote a smoother, more hydrated appearance. It can be used by all skin types (including sensitive and reactive skin) and is gentle enough even for your delicate eye area. Use one to two pumps to cover your face and allow it to sink in before moving on to the next step in your sensitive skin routine.
Pat On a Few Drops Of Face Oil
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil
Face oil can be intimidating, especially if you’re prone to oiliness. But there’s no need to worry so long as you choose a formula that’s non-comedogenic (read: won’t clog your pores). For men with sensitive skin, we recommend Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil. This soothing formula, made with 100% naturally-derived ingredients, helps balance hydration and strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier.* When used consistently, it also helps visibly reduce redness and discomfort for calmer-feeling skin. You only need a small amount to enjoy the formula’s benefits: Dispense two to three drops of the lightweight oil into clean palms, and then pat your hands gently onto your face. For a little extra TLC, you can also give yourself a quick face massage.
*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.
Address Eye Area Concerns
Even if the skin surrounding your eyes isn’t your main area of concern, it still needs to be cared for properly. Keep it hydrated and healthy-looking with a moisturizing eye cream, like our cult-classic Avocado Eye Cream. This rich formula, which contains shea butter and avocado oil, provides all-day hydration and immediately improves the look and feel of the delicate under-eye skin. With regular use, it also helps diminish the appearance of eye-area concerns, including puffiness. This Kiehl’s favorite is suitable for all skin types and made without artificial fragrances, parabens, dyes, or silicones.
Alternatively, if dark circles are preventing you from ever truly looking well-rested, turn to Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum. The formula with 10% pure vitamin C and hyaluronic acid visibly reduces both blue and brown dark circles. It also helps refresh the appearance of tired-looking, strained eyes.
Smooth On a Lightweight Moisturizer
For the final step in your daily skincare routine, help restore your skin’s hydration with a gentle yet nourishing moisturizer, like Ultra Facial Cream. This iconic formula, which stars olive-derived squalane, glycerin, and glacial glycoprotein, nourishes the skin with lasting, 24-hour hydration without a heavy or greasy feel. It absorbs into the skin easily, is suitable for all skin types, and is clinically-demonstrated to leave skin softer, smoother, and visibly healthier when used regularly.*
*Results based on a four-week clinical test.
If you’d prefer a gentler touch, try Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream. This rich yet ultra-gentle face moisturizer with Centella asiatica extract and skin-friendly ceramides nourishes the skin with long-lasting, 48-hour hydration. It’s clinically-demonstrated to repair the moisture barrier of damaged or compromised skin and absorbs easily, which minimizes the need to rub the buttery formula in.* You can use this highly effective moisturizer for sensitive skin daily or as needed to help relieve irritation and restore the skin’s healthy appearance.
*Based on an instrumental test of the skin barrier and clinical grading in an 8-week study. Tested for tolerance on subjects with self-perceived sensitive skin.
Mask Weekly (Or As Needed)
Though it’s not a critical step in your daily skincare routine, adding a soothing mask into your weekly routine can help keep your skin looking healthy and hydrated. Try Calendula Petal-Infused Calming Mask, which contains aloe vera and whole calendula petals. The gel formula glides on easily, soothing skin with a burst of cooling hydration. When used regularly, it helps revitalize skin over time for a fresh, healthy appearance. You can use this mask three times per week or whenever your skin feels particularly irritated to help reduce the signs of distress.
I. Farage, Miranda A. “The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin.” Frontiers in medicine vol. 6 98. 17 May. 2019, doi:10.3389/fmed.2019.00098