Why does my skincare product not work (anymore)?


If you ask yourself that question every now and then, it is time to stop whatever you are doing and do a bit of investigative work. There are a couple of easy explanations why your skincare product isn’t working as you had expected.

Choosing the wrong product for your skin
You may be wrongly assessing your skin all this time and have been buying the wrong stuff. I’ve always thought I had hyper oily skin and didn’t know I’ve only gotten half the puzzle right. In my quest to quell the sebum factories in my skin, I went all out to get industrial strength products. Not only did the sebum factories not close down, they went into overdrive and my oily skin condition became worse.

Through years of trial and error, and I add, really paying close attention to how my skin feels, looks, and reacts to products, I realised that I have oily, AND sensitive skin WITH occasional dehyration happening on the top layer of my skin.

It sounds complex but all you need to do is to really study your skin. Such as, is it oily? When does it get oily? Where does it get oily? How oily? There is more than one type of oily skin, for example, and you need to address the issue with the right product having the appropriate strength in combating the oiliness.

Does your skin get itchy easily? That could signfy sensitivity or simply dehydration, or a case of your skin being dry. If you aren’t confident of assessing your skin type correctly, go to a trained dermatologist. Getting your skin type and condition right is the first basic step towards ensuring you get the right products for it. Do note though that your skin type can change from time to time, due to season, climate or environment changes or simply from the effects of time (ok, age) – see section below on skin condition changes.

Not using your product correctly
Read the directions carefully. Yes, being guys, we all rip open the boxes (of anything, really!), and assume we know it all. We are born handy men! Roar!! Sorry mates, that is totally untrue though I wish it was.

Some products are meant to be used only a few times a week. Some are only to be applied at night. Some needs to be warmed up gently in your palms before applying it to your face, for better absorption. Each has its own set of unique application method or storage directions.

Read the directions (for once) or try changing how you’ve been applying your products. My personal experience has been that a change in application works wonders. My moisturiser worked better after I started trying a new application method. I started warming it in my palms by gently rubbing them together. Go easy here. The main aim is to introduce some heat to “wake” the product up. Not to start a campfire. After that, gently rest the areas of your palms coated with product over your face, and apply slight pressure. Rest over your face for 2-3 seconds. Continually do so by moving from section to section until the desired areas are all covered.

Another trick I found is to use a toning lotion with a cotton square/pad. Yes, some of you may scoff as it conjures up an image of femininity but look who will have the last laugh when their products work better and they attract a second look from that hot girl/guy at the bar. Soak the square of cotton with product and gently press it on your skin. Again, rest it there for 2-3 seconds before moving to the next section.

Not storing your products correctly
Again, read the directions (did I say it enough, yet?). Some products store poorly in warm surrounding and some may need to be away from direct sunlight. Still clueless? (Or lazy to read the directions?) Then, just remember the general rule of thumb is that most products should be stored in a cool place. Temperature wise, we mean. Do not store your products at your favourite bar.

Changes in your skin condition
Men are creatures of habit. Some though, will debate and say it is because we are lazy to change. However, when it comes to your skin, remember it is alive. Just like you can’t run a 6 minute per km run now like you did in your 20s (though you’d still like to brag that you can and challenge that cocky 21 year old punk at the bar to a race), your skin changes too. Sometimes, it is also due to the climate change or a change in environment, such as a change in job where your office blasts the air conditioning daily which will really dry out your skin.

Constantly watch for changes in your skin, even slight ones, and observe closely. More importantly, feel if there are changes to your skin. Is it getting flakier lately? Is it getting rashes more frequently now? Then match those conditions to the product description. Or speak to your mates about it, and see if they have the same situation and can recommend something that worked for them. Embarassed to do so? C’mon, get over it already. In case, you didn’t get the memo, it’s the 21st century already!


Cologne-in-a-tin: small is good

Alfred Lane Brio Solid Cologne

Alfred Lane Brio Solid Cologne

And someone finally made this for men. Smaller than a box of tic-tac’s yet definitely packing a punch.

Like all things that come in a tin, the packaging channels some old school charm like a good ol’ tin of strong chalky mints. According to information on afredlane.com, the founders Archie Jeter and Rafael Hernandez started Alfred Lane in 2009 and sought to recreate a product that elevated the essence of the true modern man. The products are handcrafted in Chicago, Illinois and with suppliers sourced from the USA.

The cologne-in-a-tin “test-driven” here is named Brio. Stated on the packaging itself were the terms: Vigor and vivacity. I’m not quite sure I felt that but I definitely appreciated the scent. Woody. Musky, Spicy. Just the way it was described and just the way I feel a modern gentleman’s cologne should be.

Solid perfumes are typically produced in very small quantities and hence often, they end up being collectors’ items. They are also known for the longevity of the scent – just think of it as a bottle of fragrance shrunken down into a bite size morsel. In this case, the Brio does not really last that long as initially expected. Re-application is necessary after about 3 to 4 hours. However, this proved to be no hassle at all due to its handy pocket size. It’d fit right into the pocket of your jacket and a weight that’s negligible.

To apply, dip or swirl your finger in the cologne and apply it to pulse points. This simply means literally points on your body where there is a pulse, such as the inner side of your wrist, and behind the ears and neck. The reason is simply because pulse points generate body heat and that helps intensify the fragrance and diffuse/amplify the scent.

He Grooms’ recommendation is to source for a bottled fragrance that’s similar to your final choice of Alfred Lane’s solid cologne, and to then use the solid cologne as a handy touch up on occasions where it may not be practical to bring along the entire bottle of fragrance.

Hungry eyes – don’t starve your peepers of moisture

Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm

Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm

While “Hungry eyes” was a really good ditty by Eric Carmen, it’s not something you’d want your eyes to experience in terms of moisture. Ok, so theoretically, it’s not your eyes that require moisture unless you have the chronic dry eye syndrome, in which case, it’s a whole different product you need.

We’re talking about the area surrounding your eyes. While lines around the eyes have been long been viewed as an indicator of wisdom, one can’t help but think those same wise men who coined this phrase would today much rather have less lines and let their wisdom show in other ways. Like say, develop the next Whatsapp, or figure out the Riemann hypothesis (go on, google it).

Other than a good facial wash and moisturiser, the third key skincare product for men would be the eye cream. Invest in a good one and it can go a long way towards keeping the area around the eye well hydrated and safe from premature ageing aka wrinkle formation. A good recommendation is the new Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm. Produced with the support of technology, it contains M-Defenseā„¢ which is basically a powerful combination of sodium hyaluronate, butylenes glycol and glycerin. These three hardworking elements come together to pull moisture from the environment to maximise the water content in skin and provide immediate and 24-hour moisturisation. If sodium hyaluronate sounds familiar, that’s because it is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a well established component in hydrating skincare product concoctions due to its ability to plump skin and keep it supple.

All good products stand up to rigorous tests and this is no different for products from men’s skincare pioneer, Lab Series. When tested, immediate significant improvement in moisturisation was detected in 100% of the male users. 88% of those who continued to use it for a period of four weeks also experienced a significant reduction in under eye puffiness. As the skin around your eyes is paper thin – hence the ease for dryness and lines to show up – be gentle in applying the product. This is definitely not the time you want to flex that muscle from hours at the gym as tugging and stretching the skin around the eyes can cause it further damage. And yes, unlike the traditional elbow grease + car wax for a shiny ride, the product will still be absorbed into your skin without brute force, don’t worry. With your ring finger (the weakest finger), dab it on with minimal pressure to the area around your eyes daily in the morning and night.

Still skeptical? At a recommended retail price of only SGD45 a pop, it sure is worth a try. What have you got to lose but those pesky dark eye circles from too much late night internet surfing (spare us the details) and those couple of fine lines beginning to crawl out from the corners of your eyes?

Before you go monkey-shit crazy and snap up everything on the shelves under men’s grooming in your neighbourhood Sephora, remember, no amount of product will work without using them in combination with a healthy diet full of fresh produce, plenty of water, exercise, and proper rest.