LIVE WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND, MAN FRIEND OR MALE ROOMMATE? BETTER GUARD YOUR NIGHT CREAM: HE MIGHT START USING IT.
Can men and women share beauty products? As the founder of Peach and Lily, a website that brings Asia’s most popular and innovative beauty brands to the US, it’s the number one question I find myself answering.
Men tend to have considerably thicker skin than women, which means that it’s more resilient to sagging and wrinkling, but also tougher for skincare products to absorb. Men are also the oilier gender; they produce more sebum than women.
Note: these are generalizations, so a very dry-skinned man could have less sebum than a very oily-skinned woman.
Men also have more collagen density (the nerve!), and of course, (most) men can grow facial hair and thus have more hair follicles. While this can give more structure to skin, the possibility of more issues like infections and ingrown hairs are presented, especially with shaving.
So what does all of this mean for sharing beauty products?
Well, all skin needs the same basic things:
1) Proper cleansing
2) Proper hydration
3) Proper protection
So, going through the Korean skincare steps, I’ll break down what can be shared and what can’t while using the female-version of the regimen (a.k.a., not the male-version with after-shave, etc.).
Step #1: Oil-based cleanser. YES. Oil-based cleansers are great for removing makeup, SPF and excess sebum (#manprobs). Men can really benefit from this step. Formulas should be gentle and really, really good at getting the grease off.
Step #2: Water-based cleanser. Maybe. Some water-based cleansers are formulated to help with excess sebum production and acne. If these issues aren’t too bad (for either gender) and a general water-based cleanser can be used by both, then this is a can-share product.
Step #3: Toner. Up to you. If you get a no-fuss, general toner, this is OK to share. I personally like toners that are formulated by skin type. For example, I have dry skin. My holy-grail toner has royal jelly in the formulation, which makes it more viscous and hydrating. However, according to our data, more men disproportionately prefer this toner over my holy grail because it decreases shine and oil production without stripping skin dry.
Step #4: Essence. Totally shareable. Most essences are lightweight, non-greasy and all about drenching skin with much-needed hydration, which is something every skin type needs and loves.
Step #5: Serums, face oils, ampoules. Probably not. Treatments are where it gets really personal and tend to be priciest. Best to splurge on items that really target your skin type and needs.
Step #6: Eye cream. Usually, yes. The eye area is the thinnest skin on our body, and everyone’s eyes need that extra TLC. Be nice and share.
Step #7: Moisturizer. Maybe. Because men in general have oilier skin, heavy cream may result in breakouts. That said, if the woman prefers a verylight moisturizer and the man doesn’t have dry skin, this is probably OK to share.
Step #8: SPF. Usually, yes. Skin can react differently to different SPF ingredients, so as long as neither party’s skin is reacting poorly, it’s OK to share.
Step #9: Weekly steps: Exfoliators. Usually, yes. We tend to recommend gentle formulations that won’t leave skin overly-buffed or irritated. While men can handles harsher ingredients better, a gentle exfoliator gets the job done well for everyone.
Step #10: More weekly or monthly (or even daily) steps: Sheet masks. Rubber masks, wash-off masks. Usually, these aren’t going to leave heavy or greasy residue, so yes, by all means, share.
No one says that the couple or roommates that mask together, stay together, but they should.