In the past several years we have witnessed firsthand a steep growth of the cosmetic industry aimed specifically at men.

Men have realized that just splashing some water on your face in the morning does not, under any circumstances mean that your face is clean.

Same goes for using just plain bar soap to wash off the excess oil on your skin can only make matters worse.

And finally, applying your girlfriend’s conditioner to look after your beard does not produce the same results as using products made specifically for that purpose.

The image of a rugged man with oily skin, rugged beard, and acne infested face is slowly but surely disappearing.

We have realized that looking sharp and presentable can not only give you an edge when going to that all important job interview, or finally going on a date with the girl you had a crush on for the last decade, but it can make all the difference.

However, the fast growing industry has presented us with numerous problems leaving us constantly bombarded with products with all the claims you can imagine:

  • Get your face rid of acne
  • Reduce wrinkling
  • Give you a perfect smile
  • Or just make girls go wild over you
  • What’s worse is that we stand clueless of what goes where and to what end.

Now, when it comes to washing your face it seems that there are a number of ways of doing it. This is why in this article we will unravel the differences in face wash, cleanser and face scrub.

What is a men’s face wash?

Washing Face

In essence, a face wash is a liquid facial cleanser that uses mild cleansing ingredients which when applied foams up like soap and leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed. Unlike soap, it does not contain detergents which dehydrate and kill your skin cells. In the long run, a dry parching skin is bad for the overall health and look of your skin.

In order to find the perfect face wash for yourself, you should first determine your skin type. For that reason I have broken it down to six different categories:

Normal skin

If your skin is smooth and healthy, everything looks pretty consistent. Medium-sized pores, never too oily or too dry, you are one of the lucky ones as this is the easiest skin type to care for.

Nevertheless, in order to keep your skin as healthy as it is, you will still need a consistent skin care regiment, and for that reason, I would recommend Cetaphil Men Daily Face Wash.

Cetaphil Men Daily Face Wash is clinically proven to deep clean your skin.

It is soap-free, which in terms means that it does not dry your skin, yet effective in removing all the dirt and excess oils while preserving the skin’s natural barrier. On top of that, it’s dermatological developed and tested.

Dry skin

If your skin feels tight and dry, and if it flakes a lot and you constantly feel that you need to apply a moisturizer, you probably have dry skin. But don’t be alarmed as this is one of the easiest skin types to care for.

For this skin type, I would recommend the Jack Black Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser. If you’re following Manliness Kit, you should know by now that I’m a big fan of Jack Black’s products.

This is a creamy face wash which does not foam excessively it is gentle on the cleaning and will help you keep moisturized.

It contains certified organic ingredients which add to the effectiveness and give out great smell.

More specifically, it contains some cool ingredients such as:

  • Oat and coconut derivatives to gently cleanse the skin.
  • Organic sage leaf, and rosemary known for their excellent antibacterial and healing properties.
  • Organic chamomile and aloe leaf help soothe your skin and reduce redness.

It is dermatological tested and it does not contain any fragrance, oils or paraben (which according to the dermatological circles can be devastating for your skin).

Oily skin

If you are prone to blackheads, your pores are enlarged, your nose, forehead, and cheeks look shiny all the time, and you look like you are sweating even though you have been doing absolutely nothing all day, this means that your skin produces more oil than necessary clogging your pores.

For this skin type Pond’s men, oil control face wash would a good solution.

It contains witch hazel extract, mineral clay, and salicylic acid, which are specifically designed to reduce excess oil production, consequently fighting pimples and reducing the appearance of pores.

Combination skin

Combination skin is probably the most difficult type of skin to manage.

If you have patches of skin that feel oily alongside dry areas, or if your skin seems like a chameleon at times oily, other times dry and hardly ever right you have a combination skin type.

A suitable face wash for this skin type would be something like the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, containing coffee extracts, vitamin E, and menthol, removing the excess oils along with the impurities leaving your skin refreshed and energized.

Sensitive skin

If your skin reacts harshly to any kind of irritant and putting a lotion, or washing your face creates patchiness, redness or just irritates your skin, then you most likely have sensitive skin type.

For this skin type, the best face wash would be one that is not filled with any chemicals, salicylic acid (which is commonly found in skin care products) or anything that is not natural.

If you happen to have this skin type, Ernest Supplies Soap-Free Gel Face Wash might do the job for you.

It is all natural face wash that dissolves excess oils and removes skin impurities without over-drying your skin, it contains high amounts of vitamin C, sodium hyaluronate, and vitamin B.

Consider your skin type

So, to summarize before you go and spend your hard-earned money, you should first consider the skin type you are dealing with. I hope that the above guidelines will help you decide what facial wash you should buy.

Further Reading: Best bar soaps for men with any skin type

What’s a facial cleanser

Soften your beard before shaving to prevent razor burn on face and neck

Image courtesy: Hootie2710/

Face washes aside when it comes to skin-care in recent years the dermatological society is insistent on using facial cleansers.

Facial cleansers help you in keeping your skin younger, clearer, and overall healthier.

This brings up several questions like “What is a facial cleanser?”, “Is there any difference between a facial cleanser and a face wash?”, “Can and should both be used?”, “When should I use what?”, “How to use a facial cleanser?”.

A facial cleanser is a product that is used to remove pollutants like dead skin cells, excess oils, and dirt from your face, which in reality sounds very similar to a face wash, so what is the difference between a face wash and a cleanser then?

Both face-wash and a facial cleanser do the same basic job of cleaning your face.

The difference is that a face-wash is a foaming cleanser which needs to be washed off. Now, the facial cleanser, cleansing lotion or cleansing milk does not always foam when applied, and it often needs to be wiped off rather than washed.

Cleansers are specifically created to dissolve oil-soluble impurities like excess oil or grime and are also proven to be more effective in removing pollutants from your skin than face washes. They tend to be much gentler on your skin leaving it well hydrated and moisturized.

The impurities can be removed with face washes as well, but they might not be as effective as facial cleansers.

Can a facial wash and a cleanser be used together?

The short answer is yes.

Not only that you can use facial washes and cleansers together, but it is even recommended to do so.


A face wash’s job is to remove deep-seated impurities and cleanse pores with it’s foaming action. A cleanser on the other hand is effective at removing oil-soluble impurities, a task which face-wash might not achieve as well as a cleanser.

You can figure out how often you can use each of these products based on your daily routine.

For example, you can use your face wash in the morning, to make your skin feel refreshed and clean. Right after you come home from work, or if you have oily skin you can use it to clean your skin thoroughly and provide much-needed nourishment. But, if you tend to stay outdoors more often, you should consider using a cleanser first. It will help you dissolve all the excess oil, and impurity, before using a facial wash.

Meaning that if you tend to stay indoors more often, you should use your cleanser couple of times per week. However, if you are an outdoorsy type of guy, you should use your facial cleanser daily.

You can also use your cleanser late at night, right before you go to sleep so that your face can feel squeaky clean and well moisturized while you sleep. Another way to use it is right before you shave just to be sure that all impurities are washed off your face preventing skin irritation, razor burns and unwanted infections and razor bumps.

If you consider using a facial wash and a cleanser together, it is recommended that you use your facial wash more often which would allow your skin feel well hydrated, smooth, and refreshed.

Skin types for facial cleansers

When choosing a cleanser, you should keep in mind your skin type as well, there are different types of facial cleansers that correspond to different types of skin. Just to name a few:

Skin with acne

If you are trying to fight acne, I would recommend trying a product like the Neutrogena Men, Skin Clearing Acne.

The name is pretty self-explanatory. It is an excellent product for clearing acne breakouts and preventing new ones.

It is based on a gentle formula that cleans deep into pores minimizing ingrown hairs and improving skin clarity.

Dry skin

For dry skin, I think that the Dermalogica’s Essential Cleansing Solution can do a great job. It’s a creamy cleanser that gently removes all the impurities from your face. At the same time conditioning your skin and easing out any irritation.

It contains all sorts of all-natural goodies like rosemary leaf extract which fight irritation and inflammation, lemon fruit extract, which refreshes your skin, bitter orange flower extract used for rejuvenating your skin, beeswax and many more.

Oily skin

Having problems with oily skin? In that case, I would suggest trying the Peter Thomas Roth’s, Irish Moor Mud Purifying cleansing gel.

This beast cleanses, purifies, and dissolves excess oils using the detoxifying Irish moor mud in combination with volcanic ash and charcoal for a perfectly clear skin.

Along with other face cleansing ingredients, it effectively removes pore clogging, rids your face of dead skin cells and balances your skin leaving you with mattified, clear complexion.

And last but not least, if you are having problems with oily skin, it is high-time to try Anthony, Glycolic Facial Cleanser.

It uses a formula that contains glycolic acid to remove dead skin cells and thoroughly clean your pores which over time would lead to smoother, healthier skin.

It is rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, which are essential for nourishment and revitalization of your skin cells, while the Aloe Vera extract helps soothe your skin.

It is well worth noting, for those of us on the philanthropic side, that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this product is donated to prostate cancer research.

How do you use a face cleaner?

A common question when it comes to facial cleansers is “How to properly use it?”. On this note I would like to stress out to several “rules” which you should follow when using your facial cleanser:

  1. Unlike face-wash, you should never ever rush it when using a cleanser. When using it, you need to slow down and allow the cleanser to penetrate into your skin and break-up all the excess oils and sebum. The cleanser will efficiently lift dirt out of your pores only if you give it enough time to grab the grime.
  2. You MUST wash your hands carefully before using your facial cleanser. Bacteria and dirt from your hands should be kept off your face. So before using your cleanser, you should wash your hands with soap, and then rinse all the soap off before handling the cleanser as the chemicals from the soap might irritate your skin.
  3. Don’t overdo it. As tempting as it may be to have all the imperfections from your skin wiped out, overusing facial cleansers can actually worsen acne.
  4. When applying your cleanser you should not press hard on your face, instead, you should use gentle circular motion along your face and neck to prevent your skin from being irritated. By rubbing the cleanser this way, you massage your face stimulating blood and oxygen flow.
  5. When and if possible, use your cleanser on your chest and shoulders as those parts can easily get in contact with your face.

What’s a face scrub

Face wash vs face cleanser vs face scrub

And at last, to finish off we will have to mention the face scrub. “What is a face scrub?”, “Why should we use it?”, and “How should we use it?”.

While a face washes and facial cleansers are used to simply wash your face, the face scrub differs in that it has some grit to it, of the bits of plant matter or beads alongside other ingredients.

All these ingredients help physically exfoliate and remove the top layer of dulling, dead skin cells leading to stimulated cell turnover and more importantly, newer brighter and healthier skin.

So what are the benefits and why should a face scrub be used?

Face scrubs are extremely effective when it comes to removing dirt and grime from your skin.

Whether your face is dirty from hard day’s work or an exhausting gym session from time to time, more often than not, your face needs deep clean.

With the help of small exfoliating particles, the face scrub is capable of cleaning your skin meticulously. Using its exfoliating powers it effectively removes excess dead skin cells, preventing sebum build-ups which clog pores leading to spots and blemishes.

Also, the face scrub is well-known to improve the shaving experience. It is not only cleaning your skin prior the shaving, but as an exfoliator it removes dead skin cells which clog up your razor that can lead to razor bumps, lift beard hairs (leading to a closer cleaner shave) and it also removes ingrown hairs on your face and prevents razor burns.

Face scrub is also helpful in fighting a dry and flaky skin, and in fact, a scrub that can do a great job is the one from Brickell.

The first thing a dry skin sufferer does is reach for the face moisturizer, which usually helps.

However using a face scrub before applying the moisturizer can have its benefits, uncovering the healthy skin which when hydrated with a good moisturizer has a better chance of remaining flaky free.

How should a face scrub be used?

As tempting as it may be, you should not get carried away and use face scrub every day to take advantage of the above mentioned benefits.

For starters, if you haven’t used a face scrub by now, you should keep in mind that your face needs some getting used to your face scrub.

To start you should use your face scrub once or twice a week, applying small amounts of product gently on your face and neck area.

For best results you should start using your face scrub for less that 30 seconds at a time, which would allow your skin to get used to it, gradually increasing the time you massage (the more you massage the more thorough the exfoliation) up to one minute.

When applying you should pay particular concerns to your T-section and the areas to be shaved. Then you are free to simply rinse-off revealing smoother complexion.

Wrapping up

To summarize, although all three products above are used for the same main purpose of keeping your face clean, and yourself looking presentable, each of them plays a specific role.

Just keep in mind that they should all be used interchangeably in order to achieve best results.