Listen, the dreaded shiny face happens to even the most hygienic of guys, especially as the temperature and humidity level rise. It’s not a reflection (no pun intended) on your grooming habits. “Men have a higher oil content and larger pores,” reports dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank. “This is due to the presence of more sebaceous glands, which helps protect skin, but when active can result in oily skin.”
When your skin is out of whack with oil, acne, and gunked-up pores, it needs more than a basic wash.
It all sounds a bit gross, but mopping things up just takes the right oil-absorbing products and ingredients. Get 'em into your routine and your mug will be smooth and matte, rather than shining bright from excess oil.
Check the Label
It seems like common sense, but to state the obvious: stick to oil-free formulas, preferably noncomedogenic ones (that means they don't block your pores). Go through your medicine cabinet to double-check the list of ingredients on whatever moisturizing stuff you use for your face. If you see super-emollient (i.e. very moisturizing) active ingredients like shea butter, get rid of them, since they can clog pores and lead to blemishes in addition to upping the shine factor.
Go for light amounts of oil-free moisturizers, making sure you're not spreading it on too thick. You don't want to throw your skin's natural moisture balance too far out of whack by overloading the pores.
Clean Up Nicely
Dr. Frank recommends cleansing with a gel-based face wash containing de-greasing agents like glycolic or salicylic acids. But don’t overdo it, or rely on whatever's the cheapest at the drugstore, since the low end stuff can be crazy harsh on your skin. And an overly aggressive formula that strips your skin of too much natural oil can actually have the opposite of its intended effect: to strike a balance, the skin overcompensates by producing too much oil, and you end but back with a shiny, oily forehead.
Look for gentler formulas, and if your face feels especially tight and dry after a wash, put on some extra moisturizer to compensate and avoid that face wash next time.
Try this: Port Products Detoxifying Daily Cleanser
Reach for the Big Guns
In addition to making your mug glossy, overactive sebaceous glands can lead to clogged pores and acne. Which is no one's idea of fun. But swiping skin with an alcohol-free toner after you hop out of the shower will help punch up your face wash by thoroughly cleaning out pores without being so aggressive that your skin gets too dry. Add it to your routine and it'll amplify your oil-fighting efforts.
Another key tactic: exfoliating. Including it in your regimen twice a week will go a long way in clearing away dead skin cells, which block pores and lead to a gunked-up face.
Hydrate or Die
Ok, not really, but it’s a vital step in every routine. It keeps your skin from feeling dry and itchy, and prevents overactive natural oils from forming to counteract your face wash's deep cleaning effects. That last part is especially important for an anti-shine regime.
Use it morning and night to keep your skin's moisture levels in check, but don't go crazy — a little bit is all you need. In the winter months, you might need something heavy to keep your skin from drying out, but when you're worried about shine, look for lightweight formulas (no heavy, pore-clogging stuff like we mentioned above) that are formulated to absorb quickly.
Try this: Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm
Soak it Up
When all other methods fail to kick the slick, you might need to add a few super absorbent options in the mix.
Smear a detoxifying clay mask all over your face once or twice a week, then let it dry while you watch Netflix. The natural material coaxes oil out of its hiding spots, helps tighten pores, and balances oily skin. Think of it as a "reset" button for looking good.
And don’t think you’re too manly for blotting papers – tiny, absorbent, disposable sheets that you swipe across your face when it's looking a little too shiny. You can whip them out in the privacy of your office before a big meeting, or in your car while you're en-route to a post-work date.
Try this: Prospector Co. All-Purpose Dirt
Once you perfect your process, you'll be breezing through muggy summer days while looking just fine.