Boys need skin care too

The other night Dan and I were hanging out with a friend of his, having beers and shooting the shit. I’ve only met this friend once before so he didn’t know about my obsession with all things beauty related, but of course Dan had to brag/complain about it. As soon as the kid found out that I know some things about hair and skin care he started peppering me with questions:

“Sometimes my head gets all itchy and gross. What do I do?”

“How do I get rid of blackheads? Can I make my pores smaller?”

“Can I make my beard softer?”

He’s not the first man to ask me these questions; when Dan and I first started dating I had to explain to him that his skin would look better and break out less if he occasionally washed his face after work. He’s an aircraft mechanic, so his work atmosphere is all dirt and oil and grime. For some reason, it never occurred to him to wash it off before he went to bed. He has fairly normal skin, and now that he’s using the “good face shit” I keep in the shower he’s happier with the way it looks.

So I explained to Dan’s friend what clarifying shampoo is, why conditioner is important, and that those 3-in-1 man products are a terrible idea. I gave him some products to try and explained how to use them. His total ignorance about how to care for his own skin and hair made me think: have I ever met a man who wasn’t clueless about it? I don’t think I have. I mean, I don’t expect the men in my life to have elaborate skin care regimens, but I’m continually surprised when I ask one of them what they use to wash their faces and they say “I dunno, shampoo usually.” Or worse, “I’m supposed to wash my face?”

So why don’t we teach boys about this stuff? It’s something my mom started emphasizing as soon as I hit puberty. She ingrained in me that, at the bare minimum, I should be using a face cleanser and moisturizing, and to this day it’s something I do every day, without fail. Even when I was in the ICU after my brain surgery I insisted on washing my face, much to the amusement of my nurses.

Or maybe it was just my mom who was borderline crazy about this stuff. Who taught you about hair and skin care? Will you teach your sons?

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