Working With Men and Building Your Skincare Kit - QC Makeup Academy

Celebrity makeup artist, Nathan Johnson (@nathanwalnut), is QC Makeup Academy’s Executive Makeup Artist and is based in New York City. Today, he’s going to introduce you to the world of working with male clients. Spoiler alert! It’s not as different as you might think!

If you have even the most basic knowledge of skin, you know that skin is skin—whether it is on a man or a woman. Secondly, if you know anything about people, you know that most will buy a quality product that generates results over one that doesn’t. With that in mind, I offer you a few tips for working with men and building your kit to best suit their needs.

Don’t generalize.


To assume that men will only buy the “manly” products in the grooming aisle is a dated and sexist approach. Men, just like women, are smart and savvy consumers. When you do your job properly, most men will buy the exact product you recommend—over those found the drug store.

This entails educating them about their skin type and conditions, addressing the needs of their unique skin concerns, and carefully explaining what each ingredient will do and how it will affect their skin.

In most cases, men do just as much research as women before they buy a product. With cars, game systems, phones—they learn every detail before making their choice. In the case of skincare, you are their research. You are the expert—if you know your stuff, they will take your advice!

Now, some may argue that men won’t buy a product that looks feminine or comes from a feminine company—and there may be truth to that. Thank goodness there are quality, sexless bands whose packaging looks clinical more than anything. Kiehl’s and Dermalogica are two great examples.

Powerful ingredients equal powerful results and that is something your client will not get if you send them down the drugstore aisle. And if buying skincare raises some kind of macho issue, he can always order it online, so embarrassment should not be a factor.

Consider their budget.

Some men do not see the importance of skincare. Hopefully, you’ll open their eyes when you educate them. But if budget is the primary issue, you may have to opt for products that have less powerful ingredients. If that is the case, pick one powerful product to ensure results and fill the rest of their routine with trusted products that will support it.

Most men don’t put much value on skin care and preservation. So they won’t likely spend hundreds on products the first time. If their total budget is $50-75, you won’t be able to get them many quality products. So what can you do? Before getting it all from the drugstore aisle, choose one powerful, ingredient rich product as the star of their routine—and bolster the rest with good, but less expensive products.

how much effort would a male client put in compared to females according to a skincare consultant

Consider the effort they’ll put in.

Take your male client’s current skincare routine into account when building their new one. Of course, a comprehensive routine will be most beneficial to everyone. But studies show that more than 75% of men do not have any skincare routine at all. So going from zero to 100 will be overwhelming for most.

A gentle start with potential for growth is often the best approach. A man who considers a shower his skincare routine isn’t likely to immediately adhere to a 4+ step routine. Keep it simple with multi-tasking products. They will increase the odds that he will stick to the routine.

A cleanser with a built-in exfoliant that he can use in the shower followed by a moisturizer/SPF combo is not very threatening. As they see the results, you can slowly add more products. For those rarer men who already have a routine, you can step it up and add powerful steps to help them protect and improve their skin.

Skin is skin. Men have all the same skin types, conditions, and concerns as women. Yes, there are some differences. But at the end of the day, a proper routine with products tailored to their unique needs is necessary. It’s easy to just tell your client to pick up any generic men’s drug store product. But when you guide him to one that will really aide his skin’s needs, you’ll have a client for life.

Focus on quality.

man using moisturizer after cleansing his face

My skincare kit does not have products broken down for the various sexes. It is full of brands known to get results—Dermalogical, Kiehls, Neocutis, Murad, Peter Thomas Roth, Ole Henriksen, Paula’s Choice, Dr. Brandt, and a whole host of others that have no frou-frou packaging.

I build routines for my male clients the same way I do for women. I access their skin, come up with the ideal routine, and then pare it down into something they will adhere to. Remember—once he sees the results and gets used to a small routine, it’s easier to slowly make it bigger (and better)!

Don’t be afraid to tell your male clients what they really need. The results you get them will earn you loyalty for life.

Author Corina Wan

More posts by Corina Wan

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