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The Basic Skincare and Makeup Products All Men Should Have on Hand

Illustration for article titled The Basic Skincare and Makeup Products All Men Should Have on Hand
Photo: yacobchuk (Getty Images)

Men, I have some news for you all: You have skin, too! Wild, I know. But since you’ve got it, you may as well take care of it. Even if you weren’t taught the basics of skincare–and even how to use a little makeup–there are a few basics that everyone should use regularly. No one’s throwing out your gender preferences. If you still want to look like a rugged, masculine man what gets callouses and puts up drywall, you can still do that. You’re not any less of a man if you wear nail polish, but we’re not discussing anything that subversive today.

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Instead, we’re talking about the very simple basics of keeping your skin healthy, clean, and touching on a bit of makeup that looks entirely natural. That’s right, it’s possible to use makeup without looking like you’re wearing any. So, for this guide, we’re just going to cover the bare minimum that can help you look your best every day.

Best Moisturizers: Neutrogena Hydro Boost or Oil-Free

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Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft

If you take nothing else from this guide, start moisturizing. Not only will this help keep your skin from drying out, but if you get a moisturizer with basic SPF protection, then it can reduce the amount of harmful radiation that penetrates your skin, much like sunscreen would. (Ideally, you would use moisturizer and a separate sunscreen since combo treatments aren’t quite as effective, but who has the time?) If you have oily skin, you’ll want a moisturizer that doesn’t have additional oils in it. And for people with sensitive skin, you’ll probably want something with fewer extracts or plant fragrances. In general, you should try to moisturize twice a day, so whenever you do your usual hygiene routines, take a moment to moisturize your skin.

Best Exfoliator: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

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Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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Just like every other part of your body, skin cells live and die, to be replaced by new cells later. The dead skin cells have to go somewhere, and that’s where exfoliating scrubs come in. If you do nothing, they’ll pile up, clogging pores, causing breakouts, and generally making your skin less healthy.

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Best Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser

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Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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It would be nice if your skin was all one consistent tone with no blemishes or spots, wouldn’t it? Well, with a concealer, you can make it seem that way. If you have dark circles under your eyes or a bit of acne, a concealer can help blend those spots in with their surroundings to look a little nicer. Just make sure to match the concealer you get to your skin tone. However, there’s an exception to this rule. Some color correcting concealers will use a green tint to balance out redness, or a purple color to balance out an unhealthy-looking yellow tint.

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Best Eyebrow Pencil: Bodermincer

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Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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If you want to know how powerful of a difference a change in your eyebrows can make, just look to Chris Hemsworth between Thor movies. The color, shape, and contrast of your eyebrows can play a massive role in how expressive you seem and how people see you. And it’s not that hard to tweak your look! A simple eyebrow pencil can help fill in your brows (again, just make sure to pick the right color for your face). You might also consider getting a set of eyebrow tweezers to clean up any stray hairs and coax your brows into shape.

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Best Eyeliner: NYX Cosmetics Epic Ink Liner

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Graphic: Eric Ravenscraft
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Everyone looks hotter in eyeliner. Just ask Lost star Nestor Carbonell who, allegedly, doesn’t actually wear eyeliner but man you can spot his eyes from across a football field. If you want that same eye-catching look, a little bit of eyeliner can do wonders. You don’t have to overdo it–unless you want to look like you’re in a punk rock band, which hey, you do you–but with a little subtlety, your eyes will stand out a lot more, and most people won’t even know why they can’t look away.

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Eric creates video essays as Lord Ravenscraft on YouTube. He's also a freelance writer with bylines in The Inventory, Wired, The New York Times, and a former Senior Writer for Lifehacker.