Of course they should. Do you reckon some supermodel wants her boyfriend to compliment her crocodile handbag? And I’m not talking about your uber-slick white crocodile-skin belt there either, champ… these ladies, in their mysterious feminine way, and kindly of course, will start to suggest that you look like their Chihuahua’s nutsack. Not quite the cat’s whiskers.

Skin is something women look after, and guys just sort of… wear. When we rip it, we might throw on a plaster; otherwise, it’s business as usual – let’s go! When I’m waking up in the shower, I’m not thinking, “Damn it Houghton, don’t forget to moisturise and properly cleanse your skin, you stupid man!” Usually because I’m late and trying to brush my teeth and soap my underarms at the same time. (It’s trickier than it sounds, let me tell you.)

If you’re 20 you’ll probably be paging on by now, but apparently once you hit 30 that all goes South and you start looking rugged. Now I always thought rugged was a good thing, but Kingsley Holgate isn’t a fashion model for a reason. Women like us, for our own weird ways, but they will look first at the guy who seems like he just walked out of a shower – sharp and fresh.

And now cosmetic compaines claim they can make cryogenic super-balms that reverse the ageing process and turn you into Peter Pan. (He can never get old, which is distinctly different to he never gets old. Ask any parent of a small child.) Okay, so it’s not quite Face/Off, but you can certainly improve on what you’ve got. And it might not cost as much as you think…

What’s all this about?

There’s a process to this story. You’re not gonna polish a dirty car – so wash your face first. Oily skin isn’t just for laaities, it doesn’t stop automatically when you hold the keys to your first car, for instance. And be honest, clear skin also feels pretty nice, like someone took the time to make you feel good. Ok, so that someone is you, but try to see my meaning nonetheless. I can handle washing my face well, in a couple of stages even, but this whole male makeup thing… really? Give me soap and water anyday. But you can’t look any better with what modern labs now put on your local Clicks shelves.
The environment assaults your face every time you walk out the door. Fact. The world doesn’t schmaak us humans so much no more, but luckily scientists are human too, and they’ve been at the pipettes and Bunsen burners again, distilling us potions that suit the “go away, I’m busy” lifestyle most of us live. Solutions to problems – that’s what we want.

Oily skin on your face? Use a non-soap cleanser formula with micro granules, which feel a lot like sand, and clean the dirt, bacteria and other stuff that clogs the pores out of your skin. They really do what they say on the box, these fellers… From there, your skin is clean, and as grippy as an unfinished pine plank. You start sticking to your towel. Time to squeeze out a little of that moisturizer, which is where the real magic comes in. Fortified stronger than a double Energade on Monster, these wonder-gels work.

Now to the stinky subject of yourself. I think most dudes prefer the shower, and I don’t even bend alone in my own shower after dropping the Lifebouy, so liquid soap it is. Use a cloth, sponge, hell, use your hands if you have to – just get that stuff on there good and thick and lather up like a mother… Lather it up. Dirty bastard.

Then, and I still view this as optional despite all recommendations – put on a skin cream. This is borderline makeup here, so I resist. But, on a big night, throw it all to the wind and pimp your gesig, and do the whole cream thing. I did, and the first thing the girl said to me that night was, “You’re looking good tonight.” She’d seen me in the same clothes before, and was happy to see to their removal… so I’ve been using it since. It’s my voodoo juice.

I’ll probably forget eventually, or be around other okes and feel a bit weird creaming up, but the way I figure it, every day you protect yourself is a day your skin rests a little. Even if it’s not every day, every bit helps, and it does feel good feeling good about yourself. Gives you confidence.

Try it. It’s under a buck fifty (R150) to get the lot. Put it on. Clean yourself like a normal person. See what happens. Oh, don’t forget to make a trip past the laundromat… no point being clean in a shirt with mayo down the front of it.

Facial Cleansers

Using stuff like volcanic sand (Billy Jealousy Sucker Punch, R240, 100 ml, Mantality) or micro granules (Nivea Oil Control Face Wash R57,99, 100ml), this stuff is designed to take your skin and rid it of all the crap that clogs your pores, leaving it refreshed and ready to go.

Moisturisers

Once you have drawn every last drop of liquid from your face with a cleanser, you’re going to need to put some of that moisture back, unless you plan on looking like a dried prune. Using L’Oreal Men Expert’s Hydra Energetic Moisturising cream (R129.99, 50ml) with Vitamin C and Magnesium, or Germaine De Capuccini’s Anti-Shine Hydrating Oil Free Formula (R360, 50ml, Mantality) helps to restore the balance of water in your skin, without making you look like you dipped your face in butter. They also help to combat the production of more oil in the skin, so you don’t just look good for 5 minutes. Also available are items like L’Oreal’s Ice Cool Roll-On (R139.99), which is specifically designed for the skin around your eyes, reducing bags under your eyes. Perfect for the jet-setters, then …

Body Washes

These are milder than the facial cleansers, but they are designed to actively cleanse your skin and leave it clear, making you feel like a million bucks. Try the new Nivea range of body washes with Hydra IQ, which won a Nobel prize for technology (R24,99, 250ml) or L’oreal’s Hydra Sensitive Cream wash (R79.99, 250ml) to clean up your act.

Body Creams

Throw on a little Nivea Maximum Hydration Body Lotion (R24.99, 250ml) to keep your skin in 100% health without dryness, which happens more during the wet months weirdly enough …

By Tim Houghton
Published in Playboy South Africa June 2012