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Are you a wash-and-go or a 12-step skincare routine guy?

By David Milan Published Jul 28, 2021 6:00 am

Gone are the days when men were boxed in by gender-specific products when it came to skincare. Products that were designed with what seemed to be a caricature of what masculinity should look like.

The modern man’s grooming regime now extends beyond shampoo and soap, beard oils and aftershave creams. As of today, the market for men’s personal care products alone is already valued at a hundred billion dollars, and it’s increasing rapidly year after year.

It took me a pandemic and a few hours on #skincare TikTok to get with the program. I went on a deep dive reading up online on the basics of day and night skincare routines.

Serums, acids, skin vitamins, sunblocks, moisturizers, facial oils — you name it, I’ve read it. Tried on a few things, added and took out stuff here and there until I found what works for my skin best. Personally, I kept my routine as simple as possible: cleanse, moisturize, and protect.

Whether you’re a wash-and-go type or a 12-step-regime kind of guy, it’s a good time to explore and personalize your very own skincare routine. I asked a few gentlemen about their own.

Donnie Tantoco

President, Rustan Commercial Corporation

I have the best advisers that I do not listen to when it comes to skincare. My Lolo Benny had mastered his twice a day routine so well, he could literally do it with eyes closed while washing his face. He had 5-6 steps and the placement of his first and second cleansers, exfoliating lotion, moisturizers for the face and eye had very precise locations beside his sink. 

He reached 100 years old and the results speak for themselves. He literally gave up on me one day because I could not sustain even a basic regimen and told me “Donnie, you will end up with a weathered look.”

Dinner conversations with my wife include this “Abeille Royale from Guerlain is really good! You should try it!” “Stop frowning! Come here let me put Crem del Mer on your forehead.”

Lastly, my mom told me “Donnie you should have a Clarins or Dermalogica facial like your dad and I”.  “Did you use the aloe Vera I gave you?” (I didn’t).

When it comes to skincare I have minimized my routine to washing my face with Clinique Men’s Soap. Because I like to run, read, reflect during my me times; I don’t have the excess time and memory to have a stick to additional regimens. So in the meantime, my path and my hope is “the weathered look”.

Steven Tan

President, SM Supermalls

Skincare is super-important and I do have my go-to products. In particular, I use Dr. Barbara Sturm hyaluronic serum and Augustinus Bader skin cream. For sunblock, I use Anessa, which has a very light texture and feel.

Good skin, a positive outlook, lots of joy and laughter — these are the hallmarks of health and wellness in today’s world.

With so many harmful environmental stressors, I make it a point to also take care of my skin from within. Dr. Barbara Sturm Skin Food and Brightening Food are great skincare vitamins. The active ingredients are purslane, which has the ability to stimulate cell repair, and collagen which results in younger-looking, healthy and brighter skin.

Good skin, a positive outlook, lots of joy and laughter — these are the hallmarks of health and wellness in today’s world.

Vito Selma

Furniture designer and creative director

To be honest, I only started taking care of my skin in my 30s. Spending my days always by the sea and outdoors, I wish I’d had a regimen early on. I’ve been consistent the past two years and my skin has gotten much better.

Currently, I start the day with a toner and then apply a vitamin C serum after. When that dries, I then add some moisturizer. The last and most important step for me is sunscreen. I do the same regimen day and night, minus the sunblock at night. Also, it’s okay to religiously get a facial treatment. I go to One Nadela in Cebu City.

Juan Sarte

Professional makeup artist

In my 20s and 30s, I used prescription products for my acne-prone skin. My skincare routine involved weekly trips to Dr. Sylvia Huang, topical antibiotics, drying agents and Accutane. In my 40s and now in my 50s, my skincare routine became more focused on anti-aging. 

I don’t use heavy skincare products during the day. I have oily skin so the cleaner, the better for me. I just wash with water and facial foam (I like trying different brands) then spray on some witch hazel toner. I apply a few drops of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% - Zinc 1% to decrease my sebaceous activity. I only need day moisturizer when traveling during the cold months.

I usually avoid the sun. When I have to be outdoors for long hours, I take Heliocare capsules and apply their oil-free sunblock gel or spray on the Supergoop! setting mist with SPF. When I can, I do a few minutes of facial gua sha using my Hayo’u jade facial contouring tool from the Topiary Store of Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez.

At night after cleansing, I apply Niacinamide again then finish with the Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum and the Daily Moisturizer by Retinol Men. My hero product right now is Nadixa, a prescription topical antibiotic which works fast for occasional zits and maskne.

JP Anglo, Chef

I  guess my skincare routine is just to always, always wash my face. I do it every time I get the chance — it’s always been part of my life. I always have a liquid soap with me. I have it in my car, in my motorcycle, in my backpack, in my golf bag, and at home.

Especially when I’m riding the bike, it’s always been a routine that when I get to my destination, I wash my face. It’s just a nice feeling to have a clean face. It just freshens you up and re-energizes you instantly.

I also do wear sunblock when I’m surfing and playing golf. Shaving cream I’m very particular about because I shave every single day and I have a beard.

Same with being outdoors the whole day, amoy araw ka. Tapos kapag naka-hilamos ka na, okay ka na. And also, no particular brand really, any good liquid soap that’s preferably organic and is moisturizing.

Sa ulo wala naman tayo nilalagay kasi wala naman tayong buhok. And ah, etong nilalagay sa kilay maganda din. Since we wear a lot of masks these days, you can only see the eyes and eyebrows. Pwede rin pala magpa-pogi ng kilay. ’Yung sa Shiseido maganda, yung eyebrow groomer or whatever you want to call it.

I also do wear sunblock when I’m surfing and playing golf. Shaving cream I’m very particular about because I shave every single day and I have a beard. I used to put on a lot of beard wax but since we’ve been wearing masks all the time I put it aside for now.

I’m a very straightforward guy. Moisturizer, sometimes. Sunblock, yes. But to be honest, I’m good by just washing my face and keeping it clean all the time.

AF Benaza

When I was younger, I never really bothered to do much to take care of my skin.

Back then I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing tennis for the high school team and just generally growing up in the ’90s doing “cool kid” stuff. Over the years working on vintage cars, bikes, and eventually motorcycles and other mechanical things exposed me to a lot of dirt, oil, and crazy chemicals.

Being Asian we seem to be blessed with good skin, but we can’t outrun time. I just turned 42 last week. In my mid-30s I started noticing that my skin was getting dry. I would sweat a lot easier. Don’t quote me on this, but I think I read somewhere that sweat is either extremely caustic or acidic.



I’m probably the last guy to take skincare advice from. I’m pretty rough-and-tumble about most things. But our skin can’t outrun time. It’s not at all about being ‘maarte’ or ‘feminine’ or narcissistic. It’s really just about taking care of yourself.

And anyone who spends a lot of time outside and ends up drenched in sweat can tell you, it’s definitely not just harmless water. I mean, sweaty clothes that dry have white deposits. So imagine that drying over your skin and pores.

My girlfriend is really into skincare. She has great skin. So she would show me how to use products to take out blackheads. I use a specific facial soap for the face and not just bar soap since the skin on our face is much thinner and more delicate than our hands or the rest of our bodies, so you can’t just scrub the crap out of it while soaping in the shower. She also told me to use sunscreen since I spend so much time outside.

Whether I’m on oculars or sets for shoots, riding motorcycles on track, working on cars, or just walking around, living in a country so close to the equator, the sun really blasts heat and radiation at much higher levels than other countries.

I never really used sunscreen because I didn’t like how it felt on my face and feeling sticky all day, but there are products for that, too. You don’t have to use the thick white sunblock that most people use for the beach. I use a really light tinted sunscreen to match my skin tone. Not the one with a white overcast. It doesn’t feel sticky or greasy. I don’t use moisturizer first before applying sunscreen. Though I’ve read articles and seen videos where they recommend it.

But working with motor oils and different kinds of greases while working on mechanical things, I have learned never to mix oils since each one has a specific purpose. Mixing oils in an engine would be catastrophic. So I feel the same logic applies to our face.

For shower, I use liquid bath soap. It’s more efficient to use and keeps the shower area looking better maintained. I don’t like to use bar soaps because they look terrible as they get used up, then you end up having to mash them together. F**king gross.

About two years ago, the skin around my eyes started getting dark because they always felt dry and I had this habit of rubbing them. All that rubbing makes the skin more irritated and it gets darker from the constant friction and the irritated skin always tearing and healing. So I started using eye creams to keep the skin around my eyes hydrated.

It definitely helps use L’Oreal’s Hydra Energetic as a general moisturizer for my face. I never thought these things made a difference, but it really does smooth out the skin. I also put Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator around my eyes. This is not specifically intended for use around the eyes, but I like it better than other eye-specific products since it doesn’t make my eyes feel cold or stingy like others.

I remember a couple of times I went riding and the sweat mixed with another brand of eye cream and made my eyes sting like crazy. This is really dangerous and something to consider if you are going to be piloting a bike. Or even riding a bicycle. This is why I only use this stuff if I’m going to be inside most of the day.

Before bed, I just wash my face with a foaming face wash. Sometimes specifically for men, sometimes I just use whatever new one my girlfriend tries, and then apply moisturizer.I’m probably the last guy to take skincare advice from. I’m pretty rough-and-tumble about most things. But like I said before, our skin can’t outrun time. It’s not at all about being “maarte” or “feminine” or narcissistic. It’s really just about taking care of yourself. 

Over the years, I would hear news about guys I know getting skin cancer. And all of them saying they wished they took better care of their skin or wore sunblock more often. With the climate getting worse, it’s obvious the sun is getting hotter and more intense during summer. So it’s best to do what we can while we still can to take care of our skin.