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Post in Men Who Makeup

Desperately need assistance with my routine

Hello all!!!

This post/question/conundrum isn’t about makeup really, it’s more about facial skin care and the proper order in which to apply it. 
Some quick background info….I’m a 42 year old male, I generally take good care of my skin but only within the past month or so have I really been seriously getting into it.

So, onto the assistance I desperately need and would truly appreciate. 
Like I said, I only recently have gotten serious with this and have made quite a few purchases. I was trying to cover all my bases with cleansers, treatments (serums, essences, tonics….), moisturizers, etc…but I admit I got a little carried away and now chaos has ensued lol. I have so many products and I am incredibly confused as to the proper order in which to apply all of this stuff and what can be substituted for what at which step in the routine. Basically I need one, or a few, morning and evening routines with all of my products and if something can’t be incorporated I would like to know where a possible substitution can be made…if that makes sense. 
Here is a list of the bulk of my products:

Tatcha Water Cream

Tatcha Rice Polish Deep

Tatcha the Deep Cleanse

Tatcha One Step Cleansing Oil

Tatcha the Dewy Serum

Fresh Kombucha Facial Essence

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil Infused Serum

REN Ready Steady Glow AHA Toner

Paul’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub

Sephora Clear Skin Days Foaming Cleanser 

Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser 

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Toner

Glow Recipe Watermelon Moisturizer 

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Glow Recipe Niacinamide Dew Drops

Josie Maran Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser

Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment 

Dr. Brandt Vacuum Cleaner

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion


So lol as you can see there’s quite a bit there and I’m a bit overwhelmed. I feel like within all of these products there are quite a few am and pm routines where the products compliment each other, but I’m just lost. 
Please, any assistance with this would be incredibly appreciated!!

Thank you so much. 



Re: Desperately need assistance with my routine

Hi @Msix006 ! Let’s break your product list into categories based on routine steps. That’ll help you see all the product overlap so you can better decide which products to layer in a routine. 

When you see overlapping products, just pick ONE from each group to use at a time. You can always rotate through different products in the same category. Example: use the Fresh Kombucha Essence in the morning and Rose Hydration Toner at night, or use one of those one day and the other the next day, etc. 
Always wash your face at night to remove the day's dirt, bacteria, sunscreen, and makeup (if you wear any). Some folks can get away with no cleanser in the morning, while others need cleanser day and night. 
I'll break this category into 2 groups: 
Oil & traditional cleansers: 
  • Tatcha One Step Cleansing Oil - many people use this as the first step of a double cleanse to remove makeup and/or sunscreen. A friend of mine uses this as his sole morning cleanser. (He uses a foaming cleanser at night.) You'll have to see for yourself if this oil cleanser does a thorough job for you on its own. 
  • Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser - contains AHAs, but Glow Recipe says the pH is 5.5 - 6. That's much too high for AHAs to effectively exfoliate, so I'm calling this a traditional cleanser. If you wear makeup and/or sunscreen and find this cleanser doesn't remove it all, consider using the Tatcha oil cleanser first and then follow with either this Glow Recipe cleanser or one from the next group. 
Exfoliating Cleansers: 
I don’t recommend using this category on a daily basis. Consider using one of the 2 non-exfoliating cleansers most days/nights, and pick one of these exfoliating cleansers to use maybe a couple times a week. Some folks use Tatcha Deep Cleanse daily. But since you also have a bunch of leave-on exfoliants, be careful not to overdo exfoliation. 
  • Sephora Clear Skin Days Foaming Cleanser - I can’t find this at… is this the Clear Skin Days Clarifying Cleanser? (That one contains AHA + BHA.) 
  • Tatcha Deep Cleanse 
  • Josie Maran Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser 
  • Tatcha Rice Polish Deep 
Consider this entire category a “use no more than 1-3 times a week” group of products. The only possible exception is the Paula’s Choice BHA: you might find your skin tolerates salicylic acid more frequently than 3 times a week. But BHA is still an exfoliant that can break your skin’s natural moisture barrier if overused. Plus, you might not need to use it more often, depending on your skin condition/behavior. 
Since you have so many exfoliants, you might want to pare down this group. You could rotate through products that contain AHAs until you figure out which one(s) you prefer. 
  • Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Toner (PHA + betaine salicylate) 
  • REN Ready Steady Glow AHA Toner 
  • Tatcha Dewy Serum (Tatcha says it contains AHAs) 
  • Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub (AHA + BHA + enzymes + scrubby bits) - don’t use this on days you use an exfoliating scrubby cleanser. Too much manual exfoliation can break your skin barrier. 
  • Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion (another rinse-off mask that contains exfoliating scrubby bits plus BHA and “natural AHA”) - ditto what I said about the Wishful scrub. 
  • Dr. Brandt Vacuum Cleaner (rinse-off mask that contains AHA and BHA) - I don’t remember if this one’s a scrub. If it is, then ditto what I said about the previous 2 exfoliants. 
  • Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment (AHA + PHA + lemon enzyme) - use only once a week, if even that often. 
Some folks like to do this step before exfoliation, and that's fine. Heck, some folks apply moisturizer right after cleansing (to immediately lock in hydration and/or buffer the harshness of certain products/ingredients like retinoids), and then follow with the rest of their skincare products. That's fine too. I'm listing things in this order simply because it's the way many people do things. 
  • Fresh Kombucha Facial Essence 
  • Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner 
Glow Recipe Niacinamide Dew Drops - you can use this daily if you want. Niacinamide plays nice with pretty much all other ingredients and is very helpful in various ways. 
Note that some of your other products might already contain enough niacinamide, making this serum overkill. You’ll need to check your other products’ ingredients for that. 
  • Tatcha Water Cream 
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer 
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask - this contains AHAs (including glycolic acid), but this product's pH is reportedly too high for AHAs to be effective. So I’ll call this a moisturizer instead of an exfoliant. I’m honestly not sure it’s an effective moisturizer either, but most “sleeping masks” are basically moisturizers. 
  • Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum (contains squalane) - this might not be moisturizing enough on its own. You could use this and layer a cream moisturizer over it, on days when your skin needs a moisturization boost. 
Sunscreen (broad spectrum, at least 30 SPF): 
This is missing from your product list. Do you already use a broad spectrum sunscreen daily on all exposed skin (not just your face), regardless of weather or season, all year long? You absolutely must if you also use any AHA product. AHAs make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. Plus, there's no point investing time and money in a skincare routine if you're not going the stop the sun from causing more damage. Many "signs of aging" are symptoms of sun damage. And you don't want skin cancer, so... if you don't already use sunscreen, it's never too late to start! 
I'm a 49 year old woman who had to change her entire skincare routine a few years ago, thanks to skin irritation caused by decades of using certain ingredients (various essential oils and too many fragrance components). I always tell folks to start building a routine by first getting to know their skin type/behavior/sensitivities, then identifying their skincare goals and/or issues. Not everyone needs the same ingredients or treatment products. For instance, essence/toner is arguably unnecessary depending on your particular skin. (I have mostly-dry combo skin that's prone to dehydration and inflammation, and my face loves hydrating "toners" and essences.) The only mandatory products for everyone are cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. My dermatologist calls those the main ingredients to build a tasty perfectly-structured cake; everything else is frosting, and some folks like their cakes decorated differently than others. 

Re: Desperately need assistance with my routine

Wow!!! Thank you SO SO much for that incredibly detailed reply. I was doing things so wrong lol but thank you for setting me on the right path. 
I can’t tell you how many mornings and evenings I catch myself just staring at all of these products just so bewildered as to what to do, but you have helped tremendously!

A few more quick ?’s if I may and you have the time. I’ve tried to google some of the answers to these, but to be honest it hasn’t helped much. 
Could you possibly explain the difference between an Essence, a Serum, a Tonic and a Toner…the terminology used leaves me incredibly confused. 
Also, with my list of products, in your opinion is one better than another for the same purpose?

And lastly, is there something/anything you happened to notice that I DO NOT have could prove to be beneficial? You had mentioned a product with an SPF…I RARELY go out in the sun and when I do it’s for minutes at the most, so is there anything missing that you might recommend besides a product with an SPF?

You had asked a question regarding the Sephora Cleanser, it was the Sephora Collection Clear Skin Days Clarifying Cleanser (on the bottle it says it contains AHA & BHA). 
Lastly, again lol, I neglected to mention a few products that were on the way as I was writing the original post. I have also received:

Dr. Jart + Ceramidin Eye Cream 
Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Cream 

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixer

GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment

SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Essence

Tatcha Indigo Cream

Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For (this one really confuses me as to when to use it)

I also have a “That J-lo Glow” serum and a BHA Blackhead Power Liquid by COSRX from Amazon. 
Oh Lord I almost forgot my Philosophy products, Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash, Time in a Bottle, the Microdelivery Dream Peel, Ultimate Miracle Worker Night, Anti-Wrinkle Miracle Worker  + Night, and Nature in a Jar Gentle Detoxifying Cleanser with Agave. 
I also have a Bliss Labs Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum that I’m definitely confused with. 


And that is it 😂 

But like I said, please let me know if you feel I’m missing something that could be beneficial. OR you see a product that I should just basically put under the sink lol. 
I truly can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to assist me. It means a lot and I’m incredibly appreciative. And also let me know if you feel one product is superior to another for the same concern, that would be an immense help. 
I feel like I need a weekly chart detailing for me what to use during certain parts of the day in order  in order to maximize my results 😆 

Anywho for real lol thank you and g*d bless. I know this is a lot to look at and digest mentally so I really really beyond appreciate whatever advice/recommendations you’re able to impart to me. You are the bomb, hands down!!
Thank you just doesn’t even scratch the surface when this. 
Have a glorious evening!!!!!


- A Very Grateful Matthew

Re: Desperately need assistance with my routine

@Msix006  D’oh, I’m just now seeing your reply. Make sure to tag folks in your replies so they’ll get a notification about it. 🙂 Well, when BIC’s notification feature is working correctly, that is. Sometimes it’s glitchy. 

About other products you’re missing, and which products per category are best in my opinion: This mostly depends on your skin type/behavior and, more importantly, your skincare goals or needs/issues. 
  • What do you want products to do for your skin? 
  • Are there any issues you want to address with your particular skin? What problem(s) do you want to solve? 
  • Anything about your skin you want to improve? 
  • Do you just want to maintain your skin’s current condition? (No issues to resolve?) 
All you need to start with is a very simple routine: cleanser, moisturizer, and daytime sunscreen. That’s it. Do that routine for a few weeks. Then if there’s a specific skincare issue or goal you have, pick a product that can address it and introduce it to your simple routine. Use it for a few weeks, then reassess your skin condition. If you want to add another product to address the same issue or a different issue, then pick another product and add it to your routine. 
The key there is adding one product at a time and letting your skin get used to it before adding another one. Also, you don’t have to add ALL the new products you’ve got, or all categories of products. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve with skincare products in general. 
The additional products you listed: Can you figure out which categories they fall into on your own, based on the product descriptions? 😉 A few hints: eye creams are supposed to moisturize your undereye area. Lactic acid’s an AHA. Many things labeled “peel” are exfoliants. 
Honestly though, I think you should ignore all those additional products for now. You already have too many other products. No need to add more to the pile until you figure out what you actually want to achieve and which product categories will help you. 
Sunscreen: If you’re not going to wear sunscreen whenever your skin’s exposed to sunlight—even if it’s just a few minutes—then you should return/ditch all your AHA products. 
Doesn’t matter how rarely you go out in the sun. If you use any AHA product, then you either need sunscreen or must completely stay out of the sun—including when you’re indoors near a window (without blackout curtains), or sitting in a car or other vehicle. The FDA requires a “sun sensitivity” warning label on AHA products sold in the US for a reason. It doesn’t take much sun exposure for skin to be damaged, especially if it’s also exposed to products/ingredients that increase sun sensitivity. 
In warm weather, I can wear a sunscreen as a moisturizer—using no traditional cream moisturizer underneath—as long as that sunscreen contains at least one good moisturizing ingredient like shea butter, dimethicone, squalane, etc. That makes it super easy to apply sunscreen daily: it simply takes the place of my daytime moisturizer. Once the weather chills, I’ll have to layer moisturizer under sunscreen again. But I’m okay with that. 
Difference between essence, serum, toner, and tonic: I’m sure some people will disagree on some of this, especially Korean skincare fans who are deeply into long "[some number]-skin" routines. In that world, for instance, I think “essence” is a very unique animal. Not in my world, though. 😂 
Serum - Contains a high concentration of active ingredients to target specific skin issues. Serums are usually liquids, but they're sometimes creamy or gel-like. Example: a vitamin C serum will contain a high amount of vitamin C, and might also contain a few other actives in a supporting role. Some serums marketed as skin brightening or discoloration correcting contain a mix of actives like vitamin C, alpha arbutin, licorice root, kojic acid, niacinamide, tranexamic acid, etc. All those ingredients target hyperpigmentation and/or dull skin. 
Toner - Most of today’s toners are a watery delivery system for antioxidants and/or hydrators. Some “toners" contain chemical exfoliants (AHA, BHA, or PHA), so they fall into the exfoliant category as far as I’m concerned. And some toners are marketed for specific skin issues, like the Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner. Generally, toners contain lower concentrations of active ingredients than serums. 

Once upon a time, toners were astringents meant to strip oil from skin and readjust skin’s pH (because cleansers used to be quite alkaline). That’s why most toners contained lots of alcohol back in the day. Eventually, folks realized it’s generally bad to strip skin of all its natural oils. Plus, today's facial cleansers have a pH that's neutral or a bit lower, so there’s no need for post-wash skin pH adjustment. Yet to this day, many people still associate "toner' with "astringent." And some folks insist "toner" is completely different from "essence," perhaps also thinking of toners as astringents. To get around the confusion, I usually just look at a product's ingredients to get an idea of what it can do for my skin, and then I might skim the marketing claims for the product. 
Tonic - I consider this another name for today’s breed of toners. Many tonics seen to look, feel, and work the same way hydrating toners do. 
Essence - Many folks say essences are meant to prep your freshly washed skin for the rest of your routine. I find many essences are watery or milky hydrating products. Some of them do contain a high concentration of active and/or fermented ingredients—like the SK-II essence, which is mostly made of yeast ferment. (I think they claim it's 90% yeast ferment.) 
To me, “essence” and “toner” are kinda interchangeable. Sure, some essences are less watery than toners and may contain a higher concentration of certain ingredients than toners. But toners (aside from those labeled “astringent") are mostly skin hydrators that deliver some key beneficial ingredients—and so are essences. 
I’m glad I could help you, and hopefully some of this also helps. Skincare can be so overwhelming. But once you assess your own skin and decide what you want products to do for you (vs. just trying to incorporate lots of products and steps you might not need), it becomes much easier to navigate the skincare world. 
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