Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maybe Men's Beauty Should Just be Called Handsome, Plus Tips

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

I wasn't kidding about those big bags of spent Kiehl's.

Dear Beauty Week Readers,

What, as a male, can I add to our Beauty Week discussion? Probably not very much. That said, I've never once been totally speechless—so I'm not at a total loss.

What I can say is: Holy hell—if I were a girl I'd have 56,000 nail polishes. Like, every time I went into a drug store I'd be leaving with some crazy 99 cent Wet 'n Wild. And when people invariably complimented my daring nail color choices I would basically always tell them the polish was Chanel. Even if I would, without actually admitting it to even myself, totally realize they were complimenting me in a back-handed, this-person-clearly-needs-help sort of way.

But, back to reality. While I thank my lucky stars make-up isn't a facet (or necessity) of my already sometimes daunting getting-ready-to-leave-the house routine (layering can take awhile)—I would be lying if I said I didn't have some sort of a "beauty"* regimen.

(*I've often wondered if the male end of beauty, skincare and personal care was given a more masculine, separate term—like "handsome," for example—the whole thing would be less of a, well, thing ?)

I discovered skincare as a wrinkles-under-mild-acne college student. I mean, who doesn't love surviving teendom virtually blemish-free and then waking up as a sophomore in college with zits on your crow's feet? I remember being home that spring break, and checking out a first-for-the-area Ulta with a friend. She enthusiastically handed me a wrinkle cream featuring acne-treating salicylic acid. We're not friends anymore.

But, bitch friends aside—it was an awakening. And not long after I was introduced to Kiehl's by another friend—someone who fears aging the way some fear heights or death or large black dogs. He is a person who literally rolls up to a Kiehl's store multiple times per year clutching over-sized Ziploc bags brimming with spent containers. Bring in ten for recycling, get one free! So, you know, he'll get two freebies and, while he's there, grab a few new odds and ends that will end up spent and returned for additional freebies five months later.

But enough about the Love, Frank Oral History of Moisturizers. Here are a some tips for male readers and/or the men in your life—many of whom might still be borderline Beauty Phobic:

1. You need to wash your face at least twice daily. And you need to do with with face wash. I like ones that lather—suds make it fun! Try Kiehl's Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser.

2. There is no-one on earth whose pores can't use a little refinement. Try a toner—I usually use one post hair product application. Because, without fail, I end up with hair gunk everywhere and that stuff can't be good for the skin. I use the drug store stuff—I don't need what is essentially rubbing alcohol to be luxe.

3. Few things are as refreshing as a quick, at-home mud mask—and they really do do wonders—they tighten you up, make things a little rosy. My favorite is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar. And, definitely go with the bar, it'll last you forever, rationalizing the kind of insane price tag (considering it's, well, mud ? Tuscan mud, but still.) Also, if you have a beard, beware of those peel-off masks. There was recently a terrifying incident; I'm sure you can fill in any blanks.

4. SPF every day. No brainer. Sun kills, and as glamorous as Donatella Versace may be—no-one in their right mind should be okay with looking so, um, crispy.

5. If you'd like any and all white shirts to not be totally disposable, use an aluminum free deodorant. Tom's of Maine just works. The lemongrass scent is lovely, the apricot is fine, some of the others are bit a lingerie-drawer cloying.

6. Replace razor cartridges regularly, and get a shave brush. Dudes over the age of, like, 17 need to know how to properly shave without leaving bumps and blemishes and splotches of whisker all over the place. Even if said dude doesn't need or want to shave all that often.

7. Exfoliating once or twice a week is essential and pretty enjoyable—it's a great way to sort of symbolically scour away yesterday's indiscretions. Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub is delightful—but cheapskates will no doubt appreciate the undeniable charms of St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

8. I was convinced I needed to try Rembrandt toothpaste after seeing a commercial touting a $5 off coupon. I mean—toothpaste so expensive you can skim $5 off the price and CVS still makes a buck? It has to be amazing! I want expensive, amazing toothpaste! Well, it's not amazing—just expensive. Back to Colgate. But remember: Beauty is fresh breath.

9. Do not be ashamed to use eye cream.

10. Hair: Well, hair is a whole other story. Do your best.

· Love, Frank [Racked]