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- Advertisers and marketers want you to think that there are differences in skin-care products for men and women. In reality, there are none.
- In fact, you shouldn’t choose skin-care products based on gender. You should be looking for products that suit your specific skin type and concerns instead.
- There are a ton of gender-neutral products out there that are efficacious and beautifully packaged. There’s also the added bonus that they can help reduce the number of products constantly tipping over in your bathroom cabinet because you and your partner can use the same things if your skin types and concerns are similar.
Despite what a skin-care product label says or looks like, or where the product sits in the drugstore aisle, there’s no real reason they need to be in outdated binary categories for "men" and "women." It’s just a marketing tactic to create more products and charge different prices (no thanks, pink tax), and you are too smart to be fooled by that.
In reality, skin-care products can largely be used by either gender for the simple reason that skin is skin.
"Men may have oilier skin, in general, but there is no medical reason that a product for oily male skin can’t be used by a woman with oily skin — and vice versa," says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology.
Instead of choosing a skin-care product or regimen based on your gender, choose one based on the type of skin you have like normal, combination, oily, sensitive, or acneic, as well as products based on issues or concerns, like cleansers that remove waterproof makeup or serums that brighten dull skin. "What counts is what your unique skin needs and tolerates, and that is gender-blind," says. Dr. Lortscher.
Here are seven gender-agnostic skin-care lines that anyone with skin can use.
The first thing that catches your eye about Aussie brand Asarai is the bright yellow packaging. It’s definitely a slick trick but the color also aims to make you feel happy about the products, which are efficacious and easy to use, and the brand, which donates 1% of sales to the 1% For The Planet organization.
Most of the products don’t include water, which can dilute formulas. Instead, they’re created with Aussie botanicals like Kakadu Plum (the most potent plant-based form of vitamin C) which helps smooth and brighten skin, red and white clays to detoxify and fight inflammation respectively, rainforest lime fruit extract for a burst of antioxidants, and tons of oils to hydrate and protect from free radicals.
This line of happy-hued products is also well-curated, so your bathroom won’t be drowning in products. There are only six products on e-commerce, not counting the little clamp that helps squeeze every last bit of product out from the mask (an Instagram-friendly favorite for $29) and cleanser ($30).
One of the OGs of gender-neutral skin care, this Australian brand has been low-key creating cult-favorite products since the late ’80s. People are hardly shown in ads or on social media and products are shown front and center — which should always be the case when the packaging and formulas are amazing enough to hold their own.
The amber glass bottles and white-and-cream labels resemble something you’d find in an old time-y apothecary as if the chemist is creating custom tinctures, while the formulas themselves are mostly plant-based but always efficacious and based on skin’s needs, not gender.
Albeit limited, products for combination skin called In Two Minds launched in early 2018 after three years of R&D. And standout products that just about everyone seems to love are the Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment ($59), an oil that nourishes and protects skin from harmful free radicals, and B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel ($120), a lightweight gel moisturizer that includes aloe (it’s listed as the first ingredient, which makes up a large part of the formula as ingredients are listed in order of dominance), witch hazel, parsley seed oil, and more to hydrate.
With only three products in this K-beauty collection, Panacea is the modern minimalist’s dream lineup. Its site and Instagram (which oddly hasn’t been updated since mid-2018) prominently shows men and women using the products, all of which are also made without parabens and sulfates. The creamy Daily Facial Cleanser ($24) washes makeup, dirt, and oil, and cleverly also includes hyaluronic acid to hydrate and prep skin for the Daily Facial Moisturizer ($36), which has a lightweight, almost gel-like texture that sinks in really fast. Men have thicker skin in general, so they might need a few layers to fully hydrate.
As with all good skin-care regimens, sunscreen is super important and Panacea comes through with a lightweight, non-greasy SPF 25 formula ($32). It’s a chemical formula, though, with ingredients like avobenzone and octinoxate, so if you’re looking for a mineral pick, this might not be the best sunscreen for you.
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