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It’s no secret makeup and skin care has always sort of been considered a girl thing. Until now. This 2013 Businessweek.com article predicted global sales of male toiletries other than razors, blades, and shaving cream for the year to reach upwards of $17.5 billion. More and more men these days are buying brow tamers, bronzers, BB creams, and cleansers traditionally aimed at women.

Keep in mind that a “for men” label on skin care products is just that: a label. Seeing those words may sway certain dudes into buying a product or giving skin a little more TLC (which is awesome, because everyone should), but they don’t necessarily mean much. Aside from slightly muskier, “manly” scent, many of these products aren’t a whole lot different in formulation than their “female” counterparts. And that means some of them may be just as, if not more, effective.

So I decided to share some of my favorite for-men products, from splurge-worthy to inexpensive, that would make great permanent fixtures in anyone’s beauty arsenal. Just because a product is targeted toward the bearded, beer-bellied, and broad-shouldered, doesn’t mean they should reap all the benefits!

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Tom Ford for Men

Intensive Purifying Mud Mask | $60
I’ve been using this clay mud mask weekly since Ford launched his first-ever men’s skin and grooming line in November. It goes on dark gray and tightens as it smooths fine lines and lifts toxins, dirt, and oil. Peeking in the mirror after I smooth it on, some areas appear lighter and others darker, signifying where the mask was working hardest or where I may need to pay closer attention while cleansing and blotting oil. After rinsing, my skin feels lush, cleansed, revitalized, and nicely buffed in the perfect matte finish. Completely worth the splurge! Use it weekly, and it makes me feel like I just paid top-dollar at an A-lister Hollywood spa and I’m really okay with that. Like, really.

Purifying Face Cleanser | $48
Because of it’s Greek god–like hue before you lather up, I call this cleanser “liquid gold.” The water-based gel has the sweet-smelling fragrance of a milky, indulgent dessert. Since switching to it, my barefaced skin has never looked more revitalized and even-toned, to the point that leaving the house to run errands or without any makeup is no longer a self-conscious excursion. Its lightweight formula works itself into my pores, purifying and smoothing out dry patches and greatly reducing redness, too. Put this in the shower for use and see how quickly it goes once you, your significant other, or family members see its quick results. Now I hide and hoard it.

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Evolution Man

Wash & Buff Daily Exfoliating Face Wash | $22
Look, if my “Every Day Is A Winding Road” ringtone isn’t enough to get me out of bed, I will jump-start my morning ecstatically so I can use this uh-mazing scrub all over my face and shoulders. Packed with vitamin E and tea-tree leaf oil, it’s non-drying and makes both me and my skin feel more alive. It’s a Groundhog’s Day–type thrill, as if I’m experiencing it for the first time with every morning shower: the non-irritating micro-beads clear out grime and dead skin, laying the base for a smooth shave—which would apply on your face, neck, or legs.

Conceal and Treat | $22
A little stick of perfection! In shades of light, medium, and medium dark, you dab it on where you need it and blend in to cover up imperfections and blemishes. The coolest part: it’s formulated with salicylic acid to diminish acne, razor burn, and other irritations over time. So with each application, the product accelerates healing. I find it works great on the areas near my lips, where I shave, and which can sometimes host pesky pimples (what’s up with those?). A great option for acne-prone types who are looking for some coverage.

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DUDE Skin Care

Moisturizer | $16.49
This Miami Beach–based brand serves up great products with some cheeky innuendo (e.g. tag lines like “handle your largest organ with care”). But, what I appreciate about DUDE is that it’s simple and to the point. The lightly fragranced sandalwood moisturizer delivers on its “fast-absorbing formula” promise—a little dab seeps quickly into skin. This means it’s great before bed (no sticking to your pillow!) and right before heading out, under makeup.

Astringent | $13.99
Oh, oily T-zone, you drive me crazy and not in the fun ’90s Britney Spears way. Astringents aren’t for everyone, but many of us who have combination or oily skin rely on them. (Not sure about you, but I’m not big into looking like a reflector!) This one, formulated with 2% salicylic acid, works wonders on my forehead, nose, and chin. A light swipe helps oil and dirt come off at the end of the day—visibly on the cotton ball—and helps shrink my pores as if to say, “Hey, dirt and oil, we’re closed for the night. Bye.” If you’ve got sensitive skin or aren’t oily, skip this and stick to the moisturizer.

January 24, 2014, Beautylish